Strategic Design MBA

Course Descriptions

Download the course schedule for
January 2013 - June 2015
Cohort 1, Cohort 2, and Cohort 3

Course 1: Innovative Leadership

Compare to traditional MBA courses: Leadership, Organizational Behavior

This course addresses the skills, concepts, and mind-set that support leadership in complex, innovative organizations.  In the context of new business models and planning for uncertainty, topics include self-leadership, critiquing diverse models of leadership, creating vision and strategy, understanding people, managing change, ethical decision making, power and influence, motivation, facilitation of diverse teams, conflict resolution, and organizational culture. The course begins with creative exercises in leadership style self-assessment and extrapolates these results to leadership in new, innovative organizational structures.

Course 2: Design Research for Business

Compare to traditional MBA courses: Market Research, Statistics

This course provides students with the qualitative and quantitative tools they need to find and frame opportunities, construct successful project briefs, and apply the design research method to products, services and experiences by exploring and documenting new research techniques. 

Course 3: Business Model Development PROJECT COURSE

Compare to traditional MBA courses: Strategy, Organizational Structure, Business Planning, Marketing, IT Management

In this course students explore a customer-centric approach to business models. They apply tools and skills in system and design thinking learned earlier in the program, to analyze and evaluate existing commercial and non-commercial business models, including both successes and failures.  Discussion of the various models and patterns emphasizes the radically changing role of IT in organizations. Students explore and evaluate alternative business models in order to find innovative business solutions, and apply their learning to organizations from a variety of industries.

Course 4: Metrics I:  Financial Reporting and Analysis

Compare to traditional MBA courses: Financial Accounting, Managerial Accounting

In this course students integrate principles of financial accounting and managerial accounting, becoming familiar with financial analysis for short and long-term decisions and the use of financial information for control and performance measurement.  The financial accounting portion covers interpretation of financial statements and basics of transaction analysis. The managerial accounting component covers cost-volume-profit analysis, job costing, activity based costing, economic value added, capital budgeting, the balanced scorecard, strategic cost analysis and the potential contribution of these advancements to organizational effectiveness.

Course 5: Designed Business Systems

Compare to traditional MBA courses: Operations Management, IT Systems, Sustainability

This course examines the value-chain from the acquisition and conversion of materials to the distribution of goods and services emphasizing the relationship of operations to the vision, mission and goals of the organization.  In addition to learning traditional operational concepts such as operational strategy, process and supply chain management, production and inventory management, and quality management tools such as Six Sigma and TQM, students will utilize principles, tools and techniques associated with design thinking, integrative thinking, sustainability and the management of complexity in order to effectively execute strategy.

Course 6: Style and Brand Strategy PROJECT COURSE

Compare to traditional MBA courses: Brand Strategy, Marketing, Public Relations, Advertising

In this course students learn to interpret the fundamentals of brand strategy as a tool for strategic execution and as a builder of reliable metrics for profitability.  Style, a component of branding, will be analyzed as a competitive differentiator and contributor to firms’ value propositions.  Students will explore how brand development is built over time, assessing multiple touch points and identifying the fiscal value of brand investment.   Students will learn a brand strategy methodology that incorporates style, and culminate with a brand audit project.

Course 7: Metrics II:  Managerial Finance

Compare to traditional MBA courses: Managerial Finance, Managerial Economics, IT Systems

The objective of this course is to enhance student’s ability to approach and make financial decisions, blending both theoretical and practical aspects of financial decision-making.  The course emphasizes the use of case studies to show students how organizations analyze the financial implications of their decisions with a focus on value creation for all stakeholders.

Course 8: Strategic Foresight

Compare to traditional MBA courses: Strategy, Business planning, Business intelligence, Organizational structure & culture, Governance

This course examines the influence of external factors (social, technological, environmental, economic, political, and cultural) on business strategies and plans.  Using tools such as environmental scanning, scenario planning, stakeholder analysis, and competitor analysis, students gain appreciation for organizational and environmental interdependencies and complexity.  Strategic decision-making frameworks are examined, with an emphasis on organizational social, ethical, and legal responsibilities, particularly in the context of changing environmental conditions.  The imperative for building organizations that are participatory, collaborative and diverse is emphasized.

Course 9: Strategic Design Integration PROJECT COURSE

Compare to traditional MBA courses: Strategy, Service Management, New Product Development

This course focuses on the intersection between design thinking methodologies and opportunity-finding for strategy development.  It covers theory and practice related to innovation, complexity, emergence and principles of systems thinking to address the potential of strategy to drive organizational change and new value propositions.  It begins with review of frameworks for strategy development and explores approaches to engaging stakeholders in that development.  Students use lifecycle analysis to redesign an existing organizational strategy and develop an actionable and sustainable communication rollout plan.

Course 10:  New Ventures PROJECT COURSE

Compare to traditional MBA courses: Entrepreneurialism, Social Entrepreneurship, New Venture Capital, Business Planning

This course covers all aspects of the entrepreneurial process, providing students with the theoretical concepts and practical skills for creating successful new ventures. This course addresses the entrepreneurial mind set, creativity and idea generation, assessing entrepreneurial opportunities, conducting feasibility studies and market research, developing marketing plans, financial preparation for new ventures, location and capacity planning, new venture team building, legal issues and risk analysis.   The course focuses on the development of an effective business plan for a new venture.