Portrait of Lindsay Garfinkel on a rooftop

Lindsay Garfinkel '19, Markets, Innovation & Design

May 23, 2023

by Kate Williard

Lindsay Garfinkel '19 credits her MIDE major and the holistic Bucknell experience for helping her find professional success. Photo by Matthew Garfinkel

My personal and professional success is in large part because of my MIDE major and holistic Bucknell education.

Lindsay Garfinkel '19 is obsessed with experiences. But her focus isn't only on what she encounters day-to-day — it's on the experiences she can create for others.

As a senior business consultant in the innovation and experience design group at EY US, Garfinkel is a strategist focused on improving the experience a customer or employee has with a brand. She brings creativity and attention to each project, focusing on trends, technologies and business markets. Through it all, she keeps her focus on the human experience.

As a markets, innovation & design (MIDE) major, Garfinkel learned valuable lessons about the consumer experience and how to predict, understand and meet their needs. The MIDE program focuses on the interdisciplinary nature of marketing, examining how creativity, analytics and technical processes combine to shape our culture. Along the way, students cultivate a habit of envisioning how their work can improve the world.

"Being a MIDE major for sure set me up for success in my career," says Garfinkel. "It allowed me to learn how to take ideas all the way through the development process while keeping positive interactions and experiences at the center."

But it was not only the classes in her major that influenced Garfinkel. "I don't feel like I just went to the Freeman College of Management at Bucknell, and I think that's the evidence of a really, really powerful business program within a strong liberal arts education," she says. "I went to Bucknell, as a whole. Being a MIDE major didn't necessarily define me. I was able to take courses and have experiences outside of my major that directly influenced who I am and what I'm doing today."

She frequently draws on the lessons she learned through her carefully selected repertoire of classes, extracurriculars and volunteerism. From criminology to digital privacy to her work leading Bucknell's chapter of Colleges Against Cancer, each facet helped her gain a better understanding of how she could help improve the human experience.

Her desire to explore and pursue new experiences led her to Los Angeles for a Bucknell-organized externship with ABC television, where she learned the importance of storytelling, and to Florence, Italy, where she spent a semester taking courses related to sports, fashion and cuisine while immersed in a different culture. "That's really what I focused on at Bucknell — taking impactful courses and engaging in life experiences that taught me about how to approach people and problems, whether it was related to my major or not."

Because she cares for people and wants to help them have best-in-class experiences, Garfinkel pursued a business consulting internship with EY ahead of her senior year. "I was looking into firms that were doing innovative things — somewhere that I could actually influence the experiences people were having on a daily basis," she says. She found that opportunity — and a full-time job offer — with EY.

Now, Garfinkel uses all the insight she has gained to help her clients think strategically about the future of their business operations, consumer perception and interactions, and designing for optimized experiences. She first gains an understanding of their current state, then leads future state design, including "Art of the Possible'' workshops and future-state journey mapping, encouraging the most aspirational "blue-sky thinking." She then builds them a strategic roadmap to implement experience-focused initiatives.

Notably, she's attentive to the balance of digital technologies in her plans. "Many companies are heavily focused on the digital experience, and those are certainly important," she says. "But physical experiences are too."

Her hyper-awareness of the push to more digital everything causes her to pause often as she considers the pros and cons. At what point does the digital world take away from the human experience, and conversely, where is it being used to make things better? Garfinkel focuses on championing an equal focus on the two, leveraging digital innovations to enhance the physical experience. "If I'm interacting with a brand physically and I'm loving that interaction, they should have an awesome digital experience that sparks the same feeling, and vice versa. A lot of the work that I focus on is trying to make that happen."

She carries her care for experiences into her personal life as well, constantly focusing on the things she can do to "make somebody else's day better."

"I'm hopefully putting a smile on someone's face," Garfinkel says. "No matter what I'm doing, I just want to help make people happy."

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