Meet Chair Nathan Shedroff
The MBA in Design Strategy emerged as a response to the convergence forming in the world among design, business and leadership, and sustainability. In the worlds of business and nongovernmental organizations, successful strategies favor innovation based on processes and concerns from all three domains. Indeed, this approach is quickly appearing as the most successful way to make change in the world that is sustainable, meaningful, and even profitable.
I’m thrilled to be a part of this program and can’t think of anything more exciting to do. Helping to create this curriculum around strategic innovation and change, along with our values of sustainability, leadership, and meaning, I’ve contributed to creating the business program I wish had existed when I earned my MBA. In fact, prospective students often tell us they weren’t looking to apply to an MBA program, but when they learned of the Design MBA, they “knew it was for me.”
Our Interdisciplinary Nature
The MBA in Design Strategy emphasizes many modes of learning and stresses communication (oral, written, and visual) and collaboration. Most student projects in the program’s courses are group-based and students learn to work with others from a variety of diverse backgrounds and across many time zones and locations. We strive to find students from many disciplines, including various forms of design, engineering, operations, marketing, management, organizing, and other f change-making forms in the world.
Our students meet and work across a variety of media, as well—in person during residencies, online using our online learning system, and in team meetings by means of Skype, iChat, and other communication services. Our students explore managing their teamwork through a variety of media, including Google Groups, Google Docs, ProjectPath, Backpack, etc.
Our aim is to provide a safe space to explore new interactions and solutions that, often, aren’t enabled by many organizations’ day-to-day requirements. This helps our students to bring new understandings and options into organizations, during and after the program.
Students work on a variety of projects each semester. Our curriculum is designed to focus on building solutions from engaged, thoughtful observations of customer, use, and market needs. Instead of merely making presentations and recommendations, our students prototype product, service, and policy solutions based on the intersection of their personal interests and drivers with real needs they find in the world.
While the program is just now finishing its second year of instruction, we have been building deep connections to organizations of all types in the design, business, and sustainability fields. Originally, we tapped these organizations in developing our curriculum to identify what skills and experiences organizations need most from their leaders.
Now, with our graduates soon concluding their degrees, our attention is on including this larger community of consultants, consultancies, companies of all sorts, and nonprofit and government agencies in events that showcase our students’ work and learnings. (Read the MBA in Design Strategy Student Annual to learn more about the first-year experience.)
The Bay Area is a high-density center of many important fields in the United States and the world, including venture capital and entrepreneurship, sustainability and renewable energy, and nonprofit organizations. As a member of these communities, we look for opportunities to participate in the change they’re already enabling as well as lead change in new, needed directions. It’s what gets us up every morning and, personally, it’s the best possible use of my time.
I can’t imagine doing anything else.
Second Student Annual
The 2009-2010 Student Annual catalogs the student work and experience of the MBA in Design Strategy program's second year.
DMBA In the News
Listen to the BusinessWeek podcast.
Read the Core 77 interview.
For questions about the MBA in Design Strategy program, please email us.
To be notified of public program events, sign up now.
To visit the program, including courses in session, please email us. In addition, guests visiting CCA can receive a discount on their lodgings just for being a part of the CCA community. Each of the SoMa Hotels (specifically the Good Hotel, the Carriage Inn, and the Americania Hotel) will honor a special discount rate for guests who mention "CCA" when making reservations. For complete hotel contact information, see Special-Rate Lodging.