Redefining Undergrauate Management Education with Design and Innovation
School of Management, Bucknell University
Most professionals are aware of the stereotypical undergraduate degree in management where a student spends much of their time studying accounting, economics, operations, strategy and other analytical subjects. Over the past few years, it’s been repeatedly stated that for businesses to succeed in this new era, managers must embrace design. The response has been graduate level programs and professional education geared toward opening the eyes of management to see the potential of design. While this is good, it is not enough. Management needs to change the way they approach business, think about problems, and seek out solutions. Markets, Innovation, and Design (MIDE) is a new undergraduate program that not only provides the students with the traditional core courses in management but centers around a curriculum that transforms their approach to management. They are first challenged in their thinking and attitude with fundamental abilities like having a willingness to fail, creative thinking, and dealing with ambiguity. This, coupled with holistic definitions in marketing, design, and innovation, provide a groundwork for an education not found in any other undergraduate management program. Students go on to take courses in qualitative and quantitative methods for understanding users, how to realize designs through various mediums from digital to physical, and a culmination of utilizing this new mind for effective management. Additionally, students are required to take 4 courses outside of management, chosen in consultation with a faculty mentor, that support their career aspirations. These can include materials courses, anthropology, psychology, or even sculpture in addition to electives like innovation and new product development. The entire course catalog is available to them. While the graduates of this program will not be professional designers, they will be managers that not only embrace design but carry the torch for design, fully understanding the value that design brings to management. As these students move into management positions, their education will not only benefit the company they work for but all the design disciplines they interact with.