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Design is becoming one of the most fashionable topics in the business school world and the latest convert is the Carey school at Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore, which is launching a joint MBA/MA in Design Leadership. The dual-degree programme will be taught with the Maryland Institute College of Art, one of the oldest degree-granting colleges of art and design in the United States.

According to the Carey school, the programme, which will enrol its first students in 2012, is the only one in the country where students can simultaneously work to earn graduate degrees from both a top US university and a major college of art and design. Other business schools, such as the Rotman school at the University of Toronto, Insead and Esade, in Spain, have incorporated design into the MBA curriculum.

The MBA/MA in Design Leadership is one of a growing number of accelerated programmes that enable students to study two subjects in a curtailed timeframe. Students on the dual-degree will be able to earn both degrees in between 18 and 20 months. As well as the traditional business subjects of strategy, finance and economics, participants will learn about visualisation, prototyping, cultural relevance and design theory.

Students are expected to come from backgrounds that include marketing, engineering, finance, architecture and fine arts and will have an interest in becoming a business leader.

The programme “will build the management and innovation capacity of designers, engineers and budding entrepreneurs, while instilling the confidence that comes from a solid understanding of the core business disciplines,” says Carey professor William Agresti. “It’s difficult to imagine a timelier programme, given the tremendous need for innovation, collaboration and leadership for advancing organisations and society.”


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