d.MBA: 6-week online MBA for Designers
Design is not just about aesthetics or users. Good design solves business challenges. So, understanding business is crucial for good design work.
d.MBA is world’s first online MBA 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).
The next session will start on March 4th 2019 and finished on April 15th (6 weeks). Join the email list, learn about d.MBA and get notified when applications open.
Curriculum designed by ex-IDEO business designer
Course curriculum is designed to cover the most important topics that designers should now about business. d.MBA covers 6 business topics, covering three level of every business: industry level, company level, and product level.
Learning approach focused on immediate impact
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:
Learn - Each week you’ll receive video materials and frameworks, covering business skills and examples from various industries
Explore - Explore deeper with additional resources and weekly live co-working sessions where we will work help each other finish assignments.
Do - We believe that learning happens by doing. So, each module consists of small projects based on d.MBA’s original case studies.
Reflect - You will give and get feedback to other participants. The circle is finished with your reflection.
How d.MBA works?
Each week, we will tackle one content module. On Monday, participants will get access to the relevant course material on Google Drive. It's roughly an hour of exclusive video material along with relevant frameworks. Here you can also watch two videos from the course content.
Participants have a whole week to go through the material at their own pace and work on an individual assignment. Each module comes with an assignment based on a real-world case study. d.MBA participants get to play the role of a founder and solve a business challenge. To support participants in this process, there is a co-working session each Sunday afternoon, where participants can get their questions answered.
Participants have until Sunday midnight to submit their assignment. On the right is an example of the assignment done by the d.MBA1 alumni. Participants choose whatever the format they want. It can be digital or analog.
These assignments are uploaded to our digital campus on Slack so all participants can see them.
To tie it all together participants give each other feedback and reflect upon it. All feedback is given on our Slack channel. On the right, you can see an example from the d.MBA1, where feedback resulted in a fruitful discussion.
Real MBA experience with case studies, live sessions, mentors, alumni network…
The true value of MBA is not in the content itself but in the community, which will hold you accountable and provide support when you are lost. d.MBA combines flexibility of an online format with advantages of community and networks.
Case studies - You will apply knowledge to real world examples. For example, Taig Mac Carthy, the founder of GIK Blue Wine (CNN), helped us design a few concrete challenges for d.MBA participants. Case studies cover digital and physical products.
Learn from peers - All assignments are shared among participants so you can see everyone’s work. This creates a culture of sharing and helps compare your work with others.
Mentor support - You will have a support from mentors, providing guidance during projects, answering questions in the weekly live co-working sessions, and provide feedback after hand-ins.
Practical knowledge applicable immediately - Twice during the program, we will host calls where participants will be divided into smaller groups (based on their profile) to discuss how they can apply knowledge to their current project or venture.
Lifetime Alumni - Stay in touch with alumni even after the program so you can tap the network for your new projects and challenges. The second intake, d.MBA2, will be bonded with the first one in our dedicated Slack community.
The calendar & weekly schedule
d.MBA2 will begin on March 4th and finish on April15th, 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:
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: 6-8 hours per week.
Who is d.MBA for?
Get better projects by differentiating yourself from other designers; Increase your rates by billing for business value, not pixels.
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.
Identify where design could bring the highest value to a company and broaden your responsibilities to become invaluable.
ex-IDEO business designer
More than 4 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,
Join the email list, learn about d.MBA and get notified when applications open. Next intake starts in March 2019.
1. 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.
A cohort consists only of designers. All discussions, questions, and experience sharing is thus much more focused on designers' use case.
2. Is d.MBA run completely online?
Yes, there are no in-person meetings and hence no travel necessary.
To give the best experience of an online program we are using some digital tools as a backbone of the course:
Google Drive for accessing course materials
Zoom for weekly co-working sessions
Slack for an ongoing communication within the cohort, sharing interesting resources, and having discussions around the course material
Slack for submitting assignments as well as giving an receiving feedback on these assignments
3. 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 (March 4th), the Midpoint check-in (March 25th), and the Graduation call (April 15th). 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.
4. 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.MBA2: 4th of March 2019 at 7pm CET)
Midpoint check-in - participants are divided into smaller groups and discuss how learnings can be applied to their work. (d.MBA2: 25th of March 2019 at 7pm CET)
Graduation call - reflection in smaller groups and graduation ceremony (d.MBA2: 15th of April 2019 at 7pm CET)
5. 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.
6. What is the weekly time commitment?
The course was designed for busy practitioners who have a full-time job. d.MBA required around 6-8 hours per week.
You essentially have the whole week to watch approximately 1 hour of course material, provide feedback to colleagues for previous assignments, and finish your assignment for the current week.
Most participants find the time for the course on the weekend but some get a day off their weekly schedule to invest in the course.
6. How do I apply for the d.MBA?
Once the applications are opened (January 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.
7. 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.
8. How much does it cost?
The course price is €1.200 or $1.370. You pay for the course after your application has been accepted. We will follow up with the further instructions. The payment can be made by your personally or by your employer. There are no further costs.
Price for early applicants is 1000€ ($1150).
9. 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. This is the third video out of six in this module.
In the second video, you can see the explanation of Discovery-Driven Planning, the corner stone for the Prototyping with Numbers module . This is the second video out of six in the module.
10. Should I have any prior business knowledge to join this course?
No. You don’t need any prior business knowledge. We will start from the ground up, avoid business jargon, and build a holistic understanding of business.
11. Will I get certified?
d.MBA is not accredited. This is not an official MBA program. The focus of d.MBA is on practical knowledge and network. However, at the end of the course, you’ll still receive a certificate for the finished program and you will get access to alumni features on our LinkedIn page (adding d.MBA as education on your LinkedIn profile).
12. What is the size of an intake?
The size of the intake is limited 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.
The next intake in March 2019 will have a maximum of 30 participants.
Have additional questions? Reach out to me via LinkedIn.
Join the email list, learn about d.MBA and get notified when applications open. Next intake starts in March 2019.