About Design Management

Portrait of a Design Manager

• Design Management uses right brain processes to solve left brain problems.
• DM incorporates design thinking and promotes design as a key driver of organizational success.
• DM links design, innovation, technology, management, and customers to provide a competitive advantage across the “triple bottom line”: social/cultural, environmental, and economic.

Who are design managers?

Design managers are creative directors, design directors, heads of design, design strategists, design researchers, brand managers, and managers and executives responsible for making decisions on how design is used throughout an organization.
Understanding what design management is and how it can help you in your career are described in these videos:

Karl Heine Profile

Program FAQs

What are the top careers improved by Design Management?
Graphic Design, Entrepreneurship, Industrial Design, Engineering, Interior Design, Education, Architecture, Government

What is Design Management?

DM is a disruptive way to solve business problems. Design is planning. Designers plan function and meaning. Innovation is a new way of thinking about a problem, solving a problem creatively, and identifying a problem the user didn’t know he had. DM is a problem-solving process that enables innovation, creates well-designed products and services, and provides organizational success. DM combines empathy in identifying a problem, creativity in generating solutions, and rationality in analyzing those solutions.

What aspects of business will I learn?

• Leadership Working with teams and championing an idea.
• Marketing Understanding product and package design, promotion, and physical plant design.
• Operations Identifying, understanding, and influencing efficient operational practices.
• Finance Comprehending annual reports, cash flow statements, and balance sheets.
• Legal Protecting an organization’s intellectual property like trademarks, copyrights, and patents.
• Strategy Developing concepts and design elements that align with a company’s core plan of action.

What is Design Thinking?

Design Thinking is the strategy side of design. DT is an approach to problem solving that values exploration, experimentation, and does not fear making mistakes. DT uses research, understanding the consumer, and tells a story that will resonate.

What will I learn in the MPS DM program?

DM study provides experiences in designing, managing, and improving design-intensive projects and developing students’ capacity to inspire and lead creative teams. Our curriculum develops strategic management skills to produce innovative solutions.

How long is the program?

The two-year (four-semester) program of study requires 42 credits to complete and leads to an accredited academic degree, the Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Design Management. 42% of credits earned are courses in the Business School. The remaining 58% of credits are earned in DM courses at SASD. You may begin in either the fall or spring semesters and you may elect to take business courses in the summer to spread the coursework more evenly throughout the year. The MPS courses are offered only in the fall and spring.

How does Design Management fit into my career?

What do our students say? Student post-grad goals:
• UX
• Design as business strategy
• Problem solving more than business knowledge
• Start and grow professional practice (architectural)
• MBA? Marketing? + Design: Solving problems using design in the health space
• Teaching Design Thinking in China

How does SASD’s program compare to other programs?

Design Management is a young area of academic investigation. The fifteen or so graduate programs in the U.S. each choose how to balance design and business content. They all agree that there should be some aspect of design in Design Management. We believe our balance at SASD is optimal, but it is up to you, the prospective student, to determine for yourself which program’s balance best meets your needs.

What is an MPS degree?

The Master of Professional Studies is an accredited academic graduate degree that blends two or more disciplines into a single program. An MPS degree is equivalent to an MFA, an MBA, or an MS. Our MPS degree is a near 60/40 balance of design management courses, taken at SASD, and business courses, taken at the University of Bridgeport’s Ernest C. Trefz School of Business.

Can I work while taking the program?

Absolutely. The program is organized so that business classes can be taken on weeknights beginning at 6:15pm and the MPS courses are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday evenings beginning at 6:15pm.

Where do MPS students come from?

Our students come from 20 countries and six US states with the concentration from the New England region.

How important is writing well in the program and in Design Management?

The MPS program concludes with a written thesis. Consequently, attention is placed on writing – as well as design – throughout the program. In general, writing clearly is a strong indication of thinking clearly. Unclear writing suggests unclear thinking. It is expected that graduate students become clearer thinkers. Writing is used as a way of judging the quality of your thinking. International students have an obvious additional language challenge, but at the graduate level the ability to write clearly is necessary.