Business of Design

20 Jan 2011 - 2:26pm
5 years ago
5 replies
1088 reads

I am interested in pursuing a Masters degree in Business. I would like a program that has a high regard for design in the business world. Can anyone point to programs that would allow me to get a MBA with a concentration on design/design strategy in business.



20 Jan 2011 - 3:20pm

Hi James,

I know California College of the Arts (CCA) has a MBA program that focuse on design strategy.


20 Jan 2011 - 4:42pm
Dave Malouf

Hey there, Business week ranged these schools as the best and design-centrism was part of their criteria.

My school where I teach, SCAD, was amongst those listed.

But probably I'd have to include Case Western where Richard Buchanan teaches and Rotman School of Mngt (out of Toronto). Then there is the d-School in Stanford. Harvard Business of course is at the top for Service thinking and connections to design thinking as well.

20 Jan 2011 - 11:45pm
David Foltz

Nathan Shedroff is the chairman of the Design MBA program analisajoy mentioned above. I've seen one of his presentations and it made such perfect sense that I was surprised more schools don't offer the same. They've open-sourced some of their curricula so you can get a taste. The other schools that Dave mentions above look like good design schools or good business schools. Someone please show me otherwise but the CCA Design MBA strikes me as the only program that truly focuses on what it takes to be a "design type" who can speak MBA.

22 Jan 2011 - 10:06am
Dave Malouf

Someone please show me otherwise but the CCA Design MBA strikes me as the only program that truly focuses on what it takes to be a "design type" who can speak MBA.

Actually that is exactly what both SCAD and IIT/ID are trying to do. Also, there is Pratt's Design Management program which is run like an Executive MBA. As much Excel as Illustrator. 

To speak more directly about the SCAD program since I work side by side next to it and get many of those students in my classes, I can attest to a few qualities of the program:

  • Students learn how to use design-thinking (Martin/IDEO sense), design-processes, design-artifacts as means to both influence business and to make manifest the goals of the organization
  • Students get on the ground practice with real corporate world projects where management is the end lesson, but management is done using design tools and processes. 
Areas of specialization within the faculty include remote collaborative environments and idea visualization as a tool towards influencing measurable change.
BTW, I have the highest regard for CCA's program. A SCAD alum (Industrial Design/Interaction Design, CCA student (Design MBA) won last year's IxDA Student competition. Amazing systems thinking applying tactical interface design.
#end sales pitch

21 Jan 2011 - 11:00pm
Tom MacTavish

The IIT Institute of Design offers a joint MBA/Masters of Design degree in conjunction with the IIT Stuart School of Business. Check this link:

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