Posted by: Louis Lavelle on December 27, 2011
Parsons is planning to lend some of the school’s design expertise to the business world next fall with a new graduate program in strategic design and management. The New York-based design and art school, run out of the New School, has been a player in the “D-School” or design school movement for some time. The school already runs a BBA in Design, and is now looking to expand its offerings with a new MS program, the first graduate business degree offered by the school, says Jonatan Jelen, director of the masters’ program and a design and management professor at Parsons. The two-year program, which will launch next fall, will place an emphasis on design thinking, service design, innovation, sustainability and social entrepreneurship, Jelen said.
“Today’s creative economy demands new approaches to business, entrepreneurship and innovation,” Jelen said in an e-mail interview. “Our program responds to this need by fusing design thinking into traditional business management and leadership models and practices.”
Most of the business coursework in the program will be online, but there will also be design-centered on-campus courses and workshops where students will get hands-on experience in design and management. For example, students will partner with designers, management professionals and consultants on projects, and learn how to design business models and create innovation and organizational plans for companies. The program will help prepare students for many of the new career paths emerging in what Jelen calls the the “innovation-centric and creative industries.” Graduates of the program will be prepared to manage and market creative products and services, develop design-driven business strategy and become leaders for “highly creative projects and teams,” he said.
In recent years, a growing number of graduate programs have emerged that are training students in design thinking, and how to best merge design, business and technology. Many of the programs introduced so far are dual-degree programs in business administration and design, or partnerships between schools where students undertake cross-disciplinary work. So far, most of these have been housed at major research universities or colleges, so it is encouraging that Parsons, a forerunner in arts education and design, is expanding its offerings in this area with a new graduate program.