d.MBA - Online MBA for Designers


 

The next intake starts on February 24th 2020. Join the waiting list below to be notified when applications open. Space is limited to 30 participants.

The d.MBA is world’s first business course for designers. It’s a 6-week part-time program that teaches business to designers. It’s not just another mass open online course but rather a carefully crafted experience where you will be taken on a journey in a small group of designers and mentors, who will care about your progress.

The goal of d.MBA is to help you:

  • do better design work, which is aligned with the business,

  • have more influence in your company by becoming fluent the language of executives,

  • and launch successful products from scratch (or start your own venture one day).




"It’s almost as if I was blind in one eye before d.MBA and now I can see the relationship between my design work and the implications for business and our clients.”

- Julia Hunold, N + P Industrial Design, d.MBA alumni

 

Course Statistics

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The d.MBA was taken by designers from…

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Curriculum designed by ex-IDEO business designer

Course curriculum is designed to cover the most important topics that designers should now about business. The d.MBA teaches 6 business topics, covering three level of every business: the industry level, the company level, and the product level.

 

Learning approach focused on immediate impact

d.MBA’s pedagogical approach.

d.MBA’s pedagogical approach.

Merely consuming information is not enough. We learn most when we apply knowledge, solve hard challenges, engage in discussions, and reflect upon our work. We’ve tried to build this into the d.MBA’s learning approach, which completes a loop from learning to reflecting.

“I run a client workshop a week after learning about it at the d.MBA.”

- Lucas Coelho, Roam Collective, d.MBA alumni

1. LEARN

Each week, we will tackle one module. On Monday, you’ll receive video materials and frameworks, covering business skills and examples from various industries. It's roughly an hour of exclusive video material along with relevant frameworks. Here you can also watch a sample video of the d.MBA content.

 
d.MBA content

2. EXPLORE

With additional resources and weekly live co-working sessions where we will work help each other finish assignments you will have the option to deeper explore the topics. You will have a whole week to go through the material at your own pace and work on an individual assignment. Each module comes with an assignment based on a real-world case study. d.MBA students get to play the role of a founder and solve a business challenge.

 
d.MBA weekly call

3. DO

We believe that learning happens by doing. So, each module consists of small projects based on d.MBA’s original case studies. On the right is an example of the assignment done by the d.MBA alumni, Charlota from IDEO. In the third week of the d.MBA we create a strategy for a differentiated wine and Charlota created brand guidelines along with the business strategy. 

 
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4. REFLECT

The circle is finished with your reflection. To tie it all together participants give each other feedback and reflect upon it. All assignments are uploaded to our digital campus on Slack so all participants can see them. So, feedback is simply given as a comment under assignments. On the right, you can see how Charlota got feedback from Lucas and three other colleagues on her assignment.

 
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The next intake starts on February 24th 2020. Join the waiting list below to be notified when applications open. Space is limited to 30 participants.

 

An online course that works

The true value of the d.MBA is not in the content itself but in the community, which will hold you accountable and provide support when you are lost. The d.MBA combines flexibility of an online format with advantages of community and networks. We are proud of our 94% completion rate (industry average is 20-30%).

 
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“I have avoided online programs because of the lack of interaction but the d.MBA is on a different level. Quality of people in the program is really great and their level of engagement made a huge difference. We all contributed resources and shared feedback with each other.”

- Saifullah Khan, Think Design, d.MBA alumni

 

Learn business by solving real-world challenges

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PHysical product

GIK Blue Wine

In the first 3 weeks, Taig Mac Carthy will take you on a bumpy journey that led him to create the Blue Wine, a great example and execution of the famous Blue Ocean Strategy. We will recreate Taig’s success and create our own hyper differentiated beverage with a sound business strategy. 

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digital product

Taxfix

In the second 3 weeks, we will follow Lino Teuteberg, who is a designer and founder of the TaxFix, a company that makes tax refunds super easy. We will look at how Lino is evaluating changes to the TaxFix’s business model, estimating company’s revenue potential and learn what metrics his design team tracks.

 

The calendar & weekly schedule

d.MBA3: September calendar.

The d.MBA3 will begin on September 16th and finish on October 28th, 2019. In total, 6 weeks.

Each week, we will cover one business skill and apply it to a weekly assignment. All weeks follows the same cycle:

d.MBA3: October calendar.

  • Monday morning: get access to new course material.

  • Monday midnight: give feedback to 3 colleagues and reflect upon yours.

  • Sunday afternoon: join co-working sessions to finish projects.

  • Sunday midnight: submit weekly project assignments.

Estimated time commitment: 8-10 hours per week.

“My schedule is extremely busy during the week, so I was concerned about having enough time for d.MBA. But once the program started and I met my cohort, I was motivated and enjoyed investing the extra time on weekends to complete assignments.”

- Julia Olson, Bain&Company, d.MBA alumni

 

Become d.MBA Alumni

After you successfully graduate, you join the d.MBA alumni where networking and learning continues. In our private slack group, we share new interesting resources, work challenges, and organize local meetups.

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Who is d.MBA for?

The d.MBA was made specifically for experienced design professionals.

Freelancers

Get better projects by differentiating yourself from other designers; Increase your rates by billing for business value, not pixels.

Designer entrepreneurs

Learn what it takes to create a successful venture. We will cover business knowledge relevant for venture design and real world case studies.

Designers at agencies

Develop your client empathy, make better-informed decisions, and persuade clients with the terminology they understand.

In-house designers

Identify where design could bring the highest value to a company and broaden your responsibilities to become invaluable.

 

Your mentor

Alen Faljic, ex-IDEO biz. designer and founder of d.MBA

Alen Faljic, ex-IDEO biz. designer and founder of d.MBA

  • ex-IDEO business designer
    More than 5 years of experience in the business design field; worked with Fortune 500 companies

  • Master’s degree in business
    Graduated from the world-renowned business school Vienna University of Economics and Business

  • Taught designers at top tier design companies
    Google, Vodafone, IDEO, McKinsey&Company, BCG Digital Ventures, Designit, Verizon, SapientRazorfish,

 
 

Tuition fee

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Tuition fee is made after your application has been accepted. We will follow up with the further instructions. The payment can be made by your personally or your employer. There are no further costs.

 

The next intake starts on February 24th 2020. Join the waiting list below to be notified when applications open. Space is limited to 30 participants.


FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

What is the impact of the course on designers work?

In six weeks, you will become fluent in the language of business. You will understand the relationship between business and design. This means that you no longer base your decision solely on aesthetics and what is good for the customer but try to look for the balance between customer and business goals. You will also learn the most important and widely used business frameworks (Porter’s Five Forces, Competitor Analysis, Blue Ocean Strategy, Three Generic Business Strategies, Sales Funnels etc.). It is not uncommon that participants use newly learnt tools and host workshops with their colleagues days after learning them at d.MBA.

“I run a client workshop a week after learning about it at the d.MBA.” - Lucas Coelho, Roam Collective, d.MBA alumni

How is d.MBA different from the regular MBA?

There are three main differences:

It focuses on business knowledge that designers need to have. Traditional MBAs cater to a much wider audience and are thus much broader in their topics and include many topics (e.g. accounting, economics etc.) that are not relevant for designers.

In the d.MBA we always talk about the relevance of business knowledge for designer's work. For example, when we cover common business strategies, we also explain what designers role is in each of these strategies.

“By the way, my girlfriend who studied business and heard d.MBA videos the other night said that It was greatly presented, very synthetic and very efficient. She said that this kind of subjects are studied with much more clutter in business schools!” - Nathan Delavictoire, Air Liquide, d.MBA alumni

A cohort consists only of designers. All discussions, questions, and experience sharing is thus much more focused on designers' use case.

What do previous students say about the d.MBA?

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How much time will I need for the course?

The course was designed for busy practitioners who have full-time jobs. So, the d.MBA requires roughly 8-10 hours per week. Most participants find the time for the course on weekends but some get a day or several hours off their weekly schedule to invest in the course.

"My schedule is extremely busy during the week, so I was concerned about having enough time for d.MBA. But once the program started and I met my cohort, I was motivated and enjoyed investing the extra time on weekends to complete assignments." - Julia Olson, Bain&Company, d.MBA alumni

How do I apply for the d.MBA?

Once the applications are opened (July 2019), you will need to fill out a simple form, introducing yourself and why you want to join d.MBA. Based on that, we will choose 30 participants and invite you to join the course and make the payment.

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What are criteria for choosing participants?

This course is for design professionals. Regardless if you are working in an agency, as an in-house designer or a freelancer, this course is for you. On the other side, this course is not for you if you are not a designer or if you are a business professional trying to become a business designer.

While more working experience improves your chances, the main criterion remains your motivation. Focus on that in your application. If you can showcase that you are willing to learn, put in the time, share your experience, and generously share feedback with other participants, you’ve done your job.

How does the payment process work?

The regular course price is €1.500 and the price for early applicants is 1.300€. The tuition fee is paid after your applicantion has been accepted and you are invited to join the program. We will follow up with the further instructions. The payment can be made by a participant or by the employer. There are no further costs. We currently accept credit card payments and bank transfers.

Can I get the d.MBA investment reimbursed?

Roughly 50% of d.MBA participants get their investment reimbursed by their companies. If you are in a position to tap into the educational budget, try to speak to your boss and make the case for why you want to take the d.MBA. I would suggest you use the d.MBA brochure to introduce the program and explain how you are hoping it will impact your work.

Is this program certified?

The d.MBA is not accredited as it is not an official MBA program. The focus of the d.MBA is on practical knowledge and network. After graduation, participants receive the d.MBA certificate and become part of the alumni group, where they can ask work related questions (even after the program), join d.MBA local meetups and receive content updates.

Will I be out of office?

No, the d.MBA runs completely online. There are no in-person meetings and hence no travel necessary. This means that the time investment from the perspective of employer is much lower than other alternatives (conferences, in-person trainings etc.), which you can bring up when making the case for getting the program investment reimbursed.

Should I have any prior business knowledge to join this course?

No. You don’t need any prior business knoledge. We will start from the ground up, avoid business jargon, and build a holistic understanding of business.

I live in Europe/America/Asia/Australia. Can I join?

Definitely. The course is designed for remote learning; all assignments are done individually, and interaction with the community can be done asynchronously. There are only three calls where showing up is necessary: Greet&Meet (September 16th), the Midpoint check-in (October 7th), and the Graduation call (October 28th). All 7pm CET.

Each week on Sunday, there will be optional co-working sessions held in the afternoon CET time. For those located in the Americas that is Sunday morning and for those in Asia, a co-working call would take place late in the evening.

What are the deadlines and important meetings within the program?

Program is designed to be as flexible as possible, however, there are deadlines to ensure that a group get benefits of group dynamics (feedback, discussions etc.).

In order to successfully finish the program and join the alumni network, you have to finish all assignment within the 6 weeks of the program. Additionally, each Sunday is a project assignment deadline. Each participant can submit one assignment late but they loose the right for feedback.

The only three meetings that participants are asked to book their time for:

Greet&Meet - the first call where participants get to know each other and learn about logistics of the program. (d.MBA3: 16th of September 2019 at 7pm CET)

Midpoint check-in - participants are divided into smaller groups and discuss how learnings can be applied to their work. (d.MBA3: 7th of October 2019 at 7pm CET)

Graduation call - reflection in smaller groups and graduation ceremony (d.MBA3: 28th of October 2019 at 7pm CET)

What is the level of collaboration with other participants?

All assignments are individual so you are very flexible.

Even though you do not collaborate with other participants on assignments, you have access to the community at all times. For example, there is a Slack community where you can ask questions, join discussions, share resources, and talk about your challenges.

Additionally, in week 3 and week 6 (final call) there is an additional call with group discussions. In these calls, participants are divided into smaller groups (of 5) based on the product they are working on (b2b, b2c, consulting), and talk about how they can apply knowledge acquired to their work.

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How does the course content look like?

The course consists of videos and additional course materials. Each week, you’ll receive around 50-70 minutes of video material, weekly assignment, and materials for further exploration. Some chapters include additional frameworks or tools. For example, Competitor Analysis comes with a spreadsheet, which you can use on your projects.

In this first video, you can see an introduction of a concept called Blue Ocean Strategy, which is a part of the Business Strategies module.

In the second video, you can see the explanation of Discovery-Driven Planning, the corner stone for the Prototyping with Numbers module.

What is the size of an intake?

The size of the intake is limited to 30 participants to ensure the best mentor to participant ratio and to foster engagement among participants. The goal is to learn and build your network for the future.


Have additional questions? Reach out to me via LinkedIn.

The next intake starts on February 24th 2020. Join the waiting list below to be notified when applications open. Space is limited to 30 participants.