Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

 

1) What is the purpose of the program?
2) What are the goals of the program?
3) Who is the target audience of the program?
4) Why and how is this program deemed unique and competitive?
5) What are the delivery format and the curriculum structure of the program like?
6) What are the academic requirements and requisite professional and practical experience for the program?
7) Where do I find additional information about the program?
8) “Is the program for me”?
9) Graduate Certificate in Design Business
10) Integrative Studios, Research Component, and Internships
11)  What types of jobs, careers, and professional trajectories are possible upon completion of this program?
12)  What is the cost of this program?
13) How do I apply to the program?
14)  International Students

1) What is the purpose of the program?

In short: A new economy with its new technologies, new actors, new business models, new rules of engagement, needs a new generation of game changers defining, designing and directing it.

In detail: In his 2006 book entitled “In the Bubble: Designing in a Complex World”, John Thackara urges us to step back from our epistemic frenzy of designing incrementally for the sake of designing and “making money” and to think about the ‘ontology’, i.e. the purpose behind our complex, complicated, and convoluted constructs that we have engineered around ourselves during several decades of excessive consumerism, explosive materialism, and extensive industrialism.  In the light of unprecedented levels of transience, turbulence, and transformation of our socio-economic systems we must rethink, redefine, and redesign our responses, our efforts, and hone our generative attributes, capacities, and competencies in order to address renewing challenges, novel problems, and new crises; we must restructure our organizations, collaborations, and relationships; and we need to prepare for a new paradigmatic shifts, rather than merely seek pragmatic improvements. We must learn how to conceive entire new context of interaction far above and beyond our current limited focus on the content of products. We must learn the new rules of engagement vis-a-vis new economies, with innovative business models, driven and supported by novel technologies. At Parsons’ School of Design Strategies, we have advocated such critical positions and educated entry-level managers, futures leaders, passionate innovators and avid entrepreneurs for the past 10 years in an undergraduate BBA by fusing business acumen and design thinking in a Strategic Design Management program. Grounded in this experience and the vision for a new quality of cadre for the future economy we designed a graduate-level MS program in Strategic Design Management.
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2) What are the goals of the program?

In short: The program provides a unique, focused, and innovative curriculum that enables a future generation of “chaos pilots”, game changers, and innovation pioneers that will lead (instead of lag) the necessary transformation, define elements of the new economy (rather than simply execute), and design new organizational and collaborative structures (rather than simply join them) grounded in a principled fusion of economic rationality, business logic and design thinking.

In detail: Unlike in traditional management and business-related programs that are highly “synthetic” in nature, in the MS SDM students will emerge with much more than merely problem-descriptive and contingency-analytical skills; they will develop existing and acquire new ‘generative’ attributes in order to initiate, guide, direct, and lead change. Unlike in a traditional design program, students will not limit themselves to designing and creating objects, however, but develop a much broader range of competencies leveraging “design thinking” and supporting a deeper understanding of the issues of a transforming economy. Design thinking combined with a strategic, sustainable, future-oriented business and economic perspective will allow them to experiment with entire organizational contexts, new collaborative structures, and innovative project settings. They will participate, initiate, and implement real-life projects with partners in the creative industries, design consultancies, and organizational problem situations.
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3) Who is the target audience of the program?

In short: Mid-career professionals with experience, courageous to initiate changes in their personal careers, organizational settings, or social contexts based on a new understanding and practice of the powerful fusion between economic logic and design thinking needed to tackle unprecedented problems.

In detail: This program is intended to appeal on one hand to mid-career business professionals that feel the need to complement their capabilities with design thinking; on the other had, it also wants to reach the design practitioner, consultant, or manager who sees the necessity for and seeks a better grounding in business, economic, and financial issues for more sustainability of his or her organizational decisions. And it finally wants to encourage professionals from across the industries who seek a change of direction in their career or in their current firms towards more future-oriented organizational practices and more robust economic relationships. The program expects its students to be in working relationships so as to be able to practice immediately learned material and implement the adopted concepts, constructs, frameworks, and methods.
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4) Why and how is this program deemed unique and competitive?

In short: Combining a creative and disciplined integration of business logic, economic rationality, and design thinking into a rigorous, original and programmatic curriculum, delivered globally via multiple and blended delivery models, with hubs in New York City, Paris (2014), and later Mumbai and Shanghai, supported by a world-class faculty and an extensive network of design consultancies, design and design management professionals, and practitioners in the creative industries, the MS SDM is pedagogically, academically, and aspirationally unparalleled.

While many schools have heeded the trend towards more ontology and sustainability in their business and design programs, few have been able to fuse the two in such an integrated way as proposed by the MS SDM. Most other programs represent merely inflections from previous curricula. The MS SDM was design from the ground up, carefully defining every course from scratch, combining it with a integrative approach to new media, platforms, and modes of delivery, online, onsite, and hybrid, blending it with a progressive pedagogy composed of seminars lectures, and studios and labs as well as an option to gain access to the intellectual assets of the program via a Graduate Certificate in Design Business that is comprised of only the 6 content-centric courses without the studio and lab experience. Geared towards the working professional it accommodates students with online, evening, and blended instruction in a global setting. Finally, the MS SDM wants to position itself more as a platform rather than a top-down taught program. In such a platform, external partners from the creative industries, design consultancies, and innovative project settings will be hosting, contributing as well as sourcing new talent in a collaborative environment alongside a world-class and globally present faculty.
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5) What are the delivery format and the curriculum structure of the program like?

The program can be completed by students anywhere in the world in en entirely online-delivered format. It can also be done entirely onsite in New York, and as of 2014 in Paris, with further international hubs in the making. Furthermore, modular combinations are possible, immigration and residency requirements permitting. The curriculum has been designed as a full-time 9-credit per semester curriculum without electives to simplify and optimize the student experience and to allow significant cost benefits. Currently the program schedule is “fixed”, i.e. only Fall entry is possible.
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FIRST YEAR / FALL

PGDM 5100 Strategic Design and Management in New Economies                        3

PGDM 5110 Designing and Implementing Sustainable Business Models                         3

PGDM 5120 Managing High-Performance Creative Project Teams                         3

TOTAL             9

FIRST YEAR / SPRING

PGDM 5140 Design Innovation and Leadership                                                            3

PGDM 5200 Integrative Studio 1                                                                                    6

TOTAL             9

SECOND YEAR / FALL

PGDM 5150 Regulatory and Ethical Contexts                                                            3

PGDM 5902 Independent Project: Field/Research Study

OR

PGDM 5901 Independent Project: Internship                                                            6

TOTAL             9

SECOND YEAR / SPRING

PGDM 5130 New Design Firms                                                                                    3

PGDM 5210 Integrative Studio 2                                                                                    6

TOTAL             9

TOTAL PROGRAM CREDITS            36

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6) What are the academic requirements and requisite professional and practical experience for the program?

The formal institutional admission requirements are regulated by the University and are found here:

http://www.newschool.edu/parsons/ma-strategic-design-management-admission-requirements/

Additionally, to demonstrate your qualifications in support of becoming part of the program, you should document your work experience, demonstrate some relevant aspects of your character via a ‘critical-incident essay’ (see admissions page), speak to your ideology in your letter of intent, bring with you a lot of willingness and ableness to work with “difficult people”, the commitment to initiate, lead, and effect change, and ultimately, eat, dream, and live “design thinking”.
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7) Where do I find additional information about the program?

Admission:

http://www.newschool.edu/parsons/ma-strategic-design-management-admission-requirements/

MS SDM webpage

http://www.newschool.edu/parsons/masters-design-management/

Graduate Certificate – Design Business web page

http://www.newschool.edu/parsons/design-business-online-graduate-certificate/

MS SDM curriculum web page

http://www.newschool.edu/parsons/masters-design-management-curriculum/

Online Application web page

https://app.applyyourself.com/AYApplicantLogin/ApplicantConnectLogin.asp?id=newschool

http://www.newschool.edu/parsons/apply/

Under construction is also a program-specific blog-page that will be released for public view shortly.
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8) “Is the program for me”?

While we understand this particular question in times of contracting economic conditions, turbulent job markets, and with respect to the intangibility of some of the program’s ideas, ambitions, and outcomes, this question may in fact be one that only you can answer for yourself. But what we can provide are some caveats to keep in mind for those considering the program nominally or merely casually due to its appealing title: the MS SDM is not a “professional” program, i.e. it is not preparing students for a license, charter or a standard exam. Instead, it is bleeding-edge, novel, progressive, partly experimental, and will be mainstream in 5 to 10 years. It is also very eclectic, yet demanding, and thus may not be not for the faint-of-heart and those that are unclear about their own trajectory. If you still strongly seek direction or merely seek to “gain knowledge” and have an “education-consumptive”, transactional attitude, this program is not for you. The program is experiential and developmental, and requires you to be and become generative, creative, productive, and to be open for personal and professional transformation.
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9) Graduate Certificate in Design Business

For those not interested or not able to do the complete program including the studio and research work, there is the possibility of completing the SIX 3-credit content-centric courses within a year as follows:

FIRST YEAR / FALL

PGDM 5100 Strategic Design and Management in New Economies                        3

PGDM 5110 Designing and Implementing Sustainable Business Models                         3

PGDM 5120 Managing High-Performance Creative Project Teams                         3

TOTAL             9

FIRST YEAR / SPRING

PGDM 5140 Design Innovation and Leadership                                                            3

PGDM 5150 Regulatory and Ethical Contexts                                                            3

PGDM 5130 New Design Firms                                                                                    3

TOTAL             9

TOTAL PROGRAM CREDITS      18

Currently, this program is only delivered ONLINE and only provides for Fall entry. Furthermore, the MS and the GC are distinct programs and there is no transfer or migration between the two programs.
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10) Integrative Studios, Research Component, and Internships

The MS SDM has THREE 6-credit components, i.e. TWO 6-credit integrative studios in the respective Spring semesters of the program where students practically put to work learned material in groups and within team projects that can be associated with real-world industry consulting efforts; and ONE 6-credit research component in the Fall semester of the second year that can be completed either in a more traditional research framework of observational and empirical research, but can also be implemented with an action research methodology within a company setting as negotiated by company, student, and advising faculty. This latter is entirely distinct from the possibility of students to effect 0, 1, or 2 credit traditional internships concomitant with their course work at any time during the program; it is important to note that a maximum of a total of 2 credits of such internships can be effected in any semester so as to remain below thee 12-credit limit that would otherwise raise the tuition to a flat rate. These internships may be particularly interesting to ONSITE full-time international students that do not have work privileges as part of their immigration status but are seeking real-world and hands-on experience.
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11)  What types of jobs, careers, and professional trajectories are possible upon completion of this program?

While the program is not intended nor designed for traditional professional settings it offers the tremendous advantage of preparing you for a multitude of careers, work settings, job opportunities and business environments. On the other hand, many of you will already be working and may want to become “intrapreneurs” in their respective organizations. Or they want to develop and help their current organization evolve. Consequently all the managerial, entrepreneurial, leadership, innovation, and professional areas not reserved to licensed practitioners are fair game, and don’t chuckle at the idea that you may be named CCO – Chief Change Officer/Chief Creative Officer, CIO – Chief Innovation Officer, CFO – Chief Fun Officer, LDT – Lead Design Thinker, etc. The very essence of the program is that you are enabled to create your own trajectory, and not tied to an institutional placement service. Ultimately, your fellow students, your instructors, professional and practitioner guest lecturers and industry project participants become your network to market your talent. And the MSSDM is the platform that supports this talent pool programmatically and academically.
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12)  What is the cost of this program?

The program was carefully designed to offer the maximum possible cost-savings with regards to the tuition while maintaining an academic full-time status; since no electives are required for the program, this allows us to offer the program with a 9-credit per semester structure and charge on a per-credit basis, which brings the cost currently to about $26,000 per year.

http://www.newschool.edu/student-services/registrar/tuition/2012-2013/parsons/

(Per credit: 36 * $1420 (2012-13): $51,120; i.e. roughly $26,000 per year )
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13) How do I apply to the program?

The application process is entirely mediated online and there is no need for you to contact the program administrators or advisors with regards to formal application questions.

https://app.applyyourself.com/AYApplicantLogin/ApplicantConnectLogin.asp?id=newschool

http://www.newschool.edu/parsons/apply/
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14)  International Students

This program is designed as global program, and in its ONLINE version can therefore be taken and completed from anywhere in the world. A minimal residency for ONSITE integrative studio courses is required in NYC and takes place every Spring semester during the week before the regular semester, i.e. approximately during the third week of January. For this purpose, international students are eligible for a short-term I-20 that allows them to apply for a short stay visa for each one of those two-week integrative studio sessions.

International Students deciding to take the program ONSITE are eligible for a regular I-20 and resulting J-1 visa as the 9-credit per semester structure qualifies for full-time status; they, however, need to keep in mind that their modular options (combining onsite and online classes) are limited, since the immigration requirements stipulate that full-time students need to have a minimum of 6 credits of ONSITE instruction to maintain their full-time status and immigration privileges.

Finally, international students taking only the Graduate Certificate in Design Business program are able to do so ONLINE only which does not qualify as a full-time program and consequently these students do not qualify for any type of student immigration visa.
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