Last Updated on March 3, 2023 by MBA Gateway Team
This article is a part-of ‘MBA Careers’ Series
Best MBA programs for Designers
While an MBA may not be a traditional path for designers, many designers with entrepreneurial aspirations or seeking to advance in management roles may benefit from an MBA. An MBA can provide a strong business foundation and help designers understand how to manage design teams, work with clients, and bring products to market. Here are some of the best MBA programs for designers:
- Harvard Business School – Harvard Business School’s MBA program is renowned for its rigorous curriculum and emphasis on case studies. It also offers a Design Thinking course and an Innovation and Entrepreneurship course that are particularly relevant for designers.
- Stanford Graduate School of Business – Stanford Graduate School of Business is known for its strong entrepreneurship focus and offers an Innovation and Design course. The program also has a unique “Design for Extreme Affordability” course that challenges students to design products for low-income communities.
- MIT Sloan School of Management – MIT Sloan School of Management’s MBA program has a strong focus on innovation and entrepreneurship, which is particularly relevant for designers. The program also offers a course in Design Thinking and Innovation.
- Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University – Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University offers a unique MMM (MBA + Master of Engineering Management) program that combines design and engineering skills with business and management skills.
- The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania – The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania offers a range of courses in entrepreneurship, innovation, and design. The school’s focus on finance and marketing may also be beneficial for designers looking to start their own businesses or work in management roles.
Tips for Designers Pursuing an MBA:
- Emphasize your design skills and experience – When applying to MBA programs, be sure to highlight your design skills and experience. Admissions committees will be interested in applicants who can bring a unique perspective to the program.
- Network with other designers – Look for opportunities to connect with other designers who have pursued MBAs. They can provide valuable insights and advice on how to balance design and business skills.
- Pursue internships and projects that combine design and business – Look for internships or project opportunities that allow you to combine your design skills with business and management skills. This can help you build a strong portfolio and demonstrate your ability to work across disciplines.
- Develop a strong understanding of business fundamentals – While your design skills are valuable, it’s important to also have a strong understanding of business fundamentals such as accounting, finance, and marketing.
Table: Top 30 Business Schools for Designers
- Stanford Graduate School of Business
- Harvard Business School
- MIT Sloan School of Management
- Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University
- Columbia Business School
- Yale School of Management
- Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan
- Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College
- Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley
- The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania
- McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin
- Anderson School of Management at the University of California, Los Angeles
- Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University
- Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University
- Fuqua School of Business at Duke University
- Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia
- McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University
- Kelley School of Business at Indiana University Bloomington
- Foster School of Business at the University of Washington
- Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame
- Goizueta Business School at Emory University
- Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University
- Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota
- Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis
- Questrom School of Business at Boston University
- The Paul Merage School of Business at the University of California, Irvine
- David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah
- Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University
- Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia.