Design professional getting an MBA?

4 Aug 2005 - 12:20pm
9 years ago
3 replies
617 reads
Josephine Choi
2005

Hi all,

Since getting out of college a couple years ago, I have been employed as
an interaction designer at a software company. I really love the work,
it's what I want to be doing for years to come, however I have noticed
(as many people have discussed on this board numerous times) a
disconnect between the business, development and design. Lately, I have
been thinking about applying to business school, hopefully to gain
perspective and help address this gap between all parties.

I would like to get any of your opinions on whether this move would be
successful or not. I definitely want to stay in the design business.
However I am interested in learning more about the business side and how
the worlds can work together better, and getting an MBA to further a
career in design/design management.

I would be interested in anyone who has gone the same route (design
professional who has gone to business school) and whether that
experience has worked out for you or whether you found it not very
beneficial. Have you found that an MBA does/doesn't help your career?

Any thoughts would be appreciated!

Thank you,
Josephine

Comments

4 Aug 2005 - 2:04pm
Dave Malouf
2005

Hi Josephine,

There are a few answers to this question and it really depends on the person
I'm answering it for.

Before I answer your question, I want to point out that there are program's
like Pratt's Design Management Program that is modeled after an MBA program
but for designers. I know there are other programs like this as well
(someone interested in cataloging these for the resource
library--resources.ixdg.org).

That said, being able to understand the business side is as important as
being able to understand the technical side (if not a tad more since, well,
they have the money). I find I am always in a position where I have to
justify "value" around my designs, which just means I have to do a better
job of selling to those folks. I'm doing fine w/o the extra degree, but can
definitely see value in having it.

I do think about going for that design management degree from time to time.
Oh! I forgot there is also the Design Management Institute (www.dmi.org)
that has some great resources on this topic.

Now, to you specifically. If you have only been doing design for a couple of
years out in industry it might be a tad too early to think about grad
school. I know the Pratt program for example wants people w/ a minimum of 5
solid years in industry before they accept someone (so the brochure says).
Even that seems too early from my gut reaction.

There is so much to learn in our craft as IxDers that even a good
apprenticeship (where the heck is one of those) probably can't complete your
design career path to the point where that part of your education can be
sidelined by something like this.

If you goal is indeed to remain hands on, doing the craft of IxD, I
recommend looking for good mentors who can help you w/ just that. A good
mentor will also be a resource for helping you to "sell" your designs as
well.

Most of the people I know in design management do not have an MBA and are
doing quite well. Should a course or two be added to the IxD masters in
managing business and doing valuations? SURE! I think these would be great
elective additions. But I do think that unless you know now you want to
manage the group and put your hands-on world aside, I wouldn't go the MBA
route.

I'm SURE! There will be differing opinions than mine coming to you shortly.

-- dave

On 8/4/05 1:20 PM, "Choi, Josephine" <jchoi at informatica.com> wrote:

> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]
>
> Hi all,
>
> Since getting out of college a couple years ago, I have been employed as
> an interaction designer at a software company. I really love the work,
> it's what I want to be doing for years to come, however I have noticed
> (as many people have discussed on this board numerous times) a
> disconnect between the business, development and design. Lately, I have
> been thinking about applying to business school, hopefully to gain
> perspective and help address this gap between all parties.
>
> I would like to get any of your opinions on whether this move would be
> successful or not. I definitely want to stay in the design business.
> However I am interested in learning more about the business side and how
> the worlds can work together better, and getting an MBA to further a
> career in design/design management.
>
> I would be interested in anyone who has gone the same route (design
> professional who has gone to business school) and whether that
> experience has worked out for you or whether you found it not very
> beneficial. Have you found that an MBA does/doesn't help your career?
>
> Any thoughts would be appreciated!
>
> Thank you,
> Josephine
>
> _______________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Group!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixdg.org
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://discuss.ixdg.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixdg.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixdg.org
> Home ....................... http://ixdg.org/

-- dave

David Heller
http://synapticburn.com/
http://ixdg.org/
Dave (at) ixdg (dot) org
Dave (at) synapticburn (dot) com
AIM: bolinhanyc || Y!: dave_ux || MSN: hippiefunk at hotmail.com

4 Aug 2005 - 5:59pm
Mauro Cavalletti
2005

Hi Josephine,

Parsons School of Design has a program in Design & Management. It is not a
Masters but an undergrad program conferring a BBA, so it might not be
exactly what you are looking for.

Have a look:

http://www.parsons.edu/departments/department.aspx?dID=78&sdID=103&pType=1

I taught a class in Design Development there this past Spring, and I liked
their approach and organization. I would recommend you talking to them, and
see if it fits your goals.

Good luck in your search.

Mauro Cavalletti
Creative Director
Organic, Inc.
New York
212.827.2212
www.organic.com

>From: "Choi, Josephine" <jchoi at informatica.com>
>To: <discuss at interactiondesigners.com>
>Subject: [ID Discuss] Design professional getting an MBA?
>Date: Thu, 4 Aug 2005 10:20:36 -0700
>
>[Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]
>
>Hi all,
>
>Since getting out of college a couple years ago, I have been employed as
>an interaction designer at a software company. I really love the work,
>it's what I want to be doing for years to come, however I have noticed
>(as many people have discussed on this board numerous times) a
>disconnect between the business, development and design. Lately, I have
>been thinking about applying to business school, hopefully to gain
>perspective and help address this gap between all parties.
>
>I would like to get any of your opinions on whether this move would be
>successful or not. I definitely want to stay in the design business.
>However I am interested in learning more about the business side and how
>the worlds can work together better, and getting an MBA to further a
>career in design/design management.
>
>I would be interested in anyone who has gone the same route (design
>professional who has gone to business school) and whether that
>experience has worked out for you or whether you found it not very
>beneficial. Have you found that an MBA does/doesn't help your career?
>
>Any thoughts would be appreciated!
>
>Thank you,
>Josephine
>
>_______________________________________________
>Welcome to the Interaction Design Group!
>To post to this list ....... discuss at ixdg.org
>(Un)Subscription Options ... http://discuss.ixdg.org/
>Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixdg.org/
>Questions .................. lists at ixdg.org
>Home ....................... http://ixdg.org/

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4 Aug 2005 - 10:49pm
Pradyot Rai
2004

Hi Choi,

I am interested to hear what makes you think about MBA program. I am
one who after about 10 years in design and design management, doing my
MBA. I never regretted my decision, and I have enjoyed every bit of
it. However, I know many who could not carry it along.

It is important to explore what advantages will you get doing MBA, but
it should not hamper your decision for or against it. Many folks who
get in the MBA program, plan their career only once they makeup their
mind for electives. Besides, MBA will make you aggressive enough that
you will get your investment back anyway. The only criteria for "doing
it" vs "not doing it" should be affordability.

> I would like to get any of your opinions on whether this move would be
> successful or not. I definitely want to stay in the design business.

It is hard to define success factor, however, I have not come across
anyone who after an MBA, called his decision a failure. You will
surely find people leaving it in the middle or complaining during the
course, but every one that I have talked to are very contended with
MBA. In my opinion, there's good chances that you will be switching
your career after MBA or may go with much faster pace without actually
changing any line of business. But, there is always good chance that
you will just remain at par with best of your designer collegues even
after MBA. It is all upto an individual how they play it. In business
area (like any other area) there are equal number of folks who comes
with education background and those who just make it by luck, or sheer
hard work.

> ...
> been thinking about applying to business school, hopefully to gain
> perspective and help address this gap between all parties.

Again, it is good to have your own benchmarking for yourself. I would
just add, keep yourself open for ideas. You may end up being
investment banker, sell tooth paste with P&G, or open your own brewery
for that matter. As you can bring business perspective to help design,
there's much more opportunity to play role in business with a flairs
for design. Just think about increasing the size of the pie, and
quality of job offerings that you will enjoy (not forgetting the mula
that comes with it).

Without knowing everything about you, I would suggest, try discovering
your self, talk to poeple, go meet mentors/councellors, get as much
informantion as you can. But if you are not in any financial dolldrum,
or in a middle of a family crisis, just take the first step -- zero on
the list of colleges, take the GMAT, start thinking about the whole
application processes. That does not cost too much money, but is most
irritating and throws many people from entering into college.

Without rejecting opinions of others, I would say, if you can do
proper MBA, don't even think about doing DMI, PMI or any other
deploma. If you can afford best school, don't sattle for cheaper ones.
If you can go for full time, then don't waste extra time on part-time
MBA, If you are doing MBA, do it from business school... Finally,
even if you are married, have kids, demanding job, and many good
options within your career, MBA will still make $ense.

If you need more, or specific advice on a specific thing, let me know.
I will be most happy to do any help I can.

Prady

On 8/4/05, Choi, Josephine <jchoi at informatica.com> wrote:
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]
>
> Hi all,
>
> Since getting out of college a couple years ago, I have been employed as
> an interaction designer at a software company. I really love the work,
> it's what I want to be doing for years to come, however I have noticed
> (as many people have discussed on this board numerous times) a
> disconnect between the business, development and design. Lately, I have
> been thinking about applying to business school, hopefully to gain
> perspective and help address this gap between all parties.
>
> I would like to get any of your opinions on whether this move would be
> successful or not. I definitely want to stay in the design business.
> However I am interested in learning more about the business side and how
> the worlds can work together better, and getting an MBA to further a
> career in design/design management.
>
> I would be interested in anyone who has gone the same route (design
> professional who has gone to business school) and whether that
> experience has worked out for you or whether you found it not very
> beneficial. Have you found that an MBA does/doesn't help your career?
>
> Any thoughts would be appreciated!
>
> Thank you,
> Josephine
>
> _______________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Group!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixdg.org
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://discuss.ixdg.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixdg.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixdg.org
> Home ....................... http://ixdg.org/
>

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