Everything You Need to Know About an MBA in Design Management | TopMBA.com

Everything You Need to Know About an MBA in Design Management

By Tim Dhoul

Updated March 28, 2021 Updated March 28, 2021

This article is sponsored by EU Business School. Learn more about EU’s MBA in Design Management.

Design management is just one of 11 majors available within the EU Business School MBA program. This article explores the design management program in depth, through topics covered and the career opportunities available after graduation.

Design can be found at the center of virtually every industry today. In essence, design management is the study of design as applied to business and it is a crucial part of any company. Knowledge of design and its application offers significant advantages to managers.

Businesses know that a well-designed brand, image, service or product can become the cornerstone of their success. This is why companies understand the necessity of having a design manager to oversee their design development. 

Where it all began

Design has played an increasingly important role in business since the early 20th century. However, the understanding that design is an integral part of a business’ success began to take hold in the 1980s and 1990s. Companies and their managers started to see the value of design and began to incorporate it into their traditional marketing and sales strategies. By the 21st century, design was recognized as a tool for innovation and, as such, allowed many companies to reinvent themselves and become trendsetters.

Design thinking and the design manager

A successful design manager acts as a bridge between design and business. Therefore, they must be fluent in the processes of both.

Design thinking is a critical aspect of design management and is best described as an approach to problem solving that allows managers to formulate new business models and develop strategies through innovation. Some proponents have argued that design thinking should be an essential component of management education, no matter what your career aspirations are. Due to the wider application of the design thinking approach, managers are more able to orchestrate solutions to organizational challenges.

EU Business School’s MBA in Design Management  

The field’s significance in modern business led to its establishment as an MBA major at EU Business School in 2012. The program was originally created in consultation with Pierre Keller, a distinguished graphic designer from Switzerland and the former director of ECAL (École Cantonale d'Art de Lausanne). Today, the MBA major provides students with a strong understanding of design history and aesthetics while also teaching best practice in business and productive management.

The design management major at EU Business School is offered on the  Barcelona, Geneva, Montreux and online campuses. EU offers the flexibility to study full time over one year or part time over two years. In EU’s MBA program, students tackle the core components of postgraduate management education - from organizational behavior and marketing to finance and strategic management – before delving into their MBA major.

Guest presentations from industry practitioners as well as company visits are used to demonstrate how the right approach to design can capture the public’s imagination and solidify a company’s identity. Recently, MBA in Design Management students in Barcelona visited luxury brands Hermès and Brioni to speak directly with managers about marketing, branding and production. These visits are always a favorite of EU students; as Chaima Jalili and Anna Lena Schiermeyer illustrate: “The minute we stepped into the store, we knew that we had made the right choice in pursuing the major of design management…We were grateful to tour Hermès and Brioni. An awe-inspiring experience indeed.”

Case studies are another learning resource used throughout all programs at EU. Indeed, case studies, “demonstrate the importance of design as an integral part of a company’s business strategy and competitiveness,” according to the Design Management Institute (DMI) in Boston. DMI further explains that, “a good case study draws students directly into a problem and challenges them to analyze the situation and grapple with decisions that must be made.”

Careers in design

EU’s design management graduates often find themselves in product development or in a role that closely relates to a brand’s strategic direction such as advertising, marketing or brand strategy. But the options don’t end there. Depending on their backgrounds, a design manager or specialist can also be found working in the areas of packaging and design development, operations or research and development. These possibilities span nearly all industries, opening the door for graduates of this MBA major to enjoy careers in everything from healthcare to sports.

This article is sponsored by EU Business School.

This article was originally published in March 2017 . It was last updated in March 2021

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Written by

Tim is a writer with a background in consumer journalism and charity communications. He trained as a journalist in the UK and holds degrees in history (BA) and Latin American studies (MA).

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