Which is best: design management or MBA?

I would like to thank John Boult (Letters, DW 19 March) for looking at the content behind the MA course name Design Strategy and Innovation. Perhaps Naomi Gornick, the course leader at Brunel University could comment on the reasoning behind the course title.

It is not just academics that need to look at “defining their offer”. The problem stems from within the profession.

The 1996 CSD presentation by Christine Drake entitled What is Design Management? highlighted the plethora of definitions that exist, ranging from executional project management to strategic responsibility for design effectiveness. It is this variation that has led academics to look beyond the “good old” term “design management”.

However, unlike Howard Chilvers (Letters, DW 19 March) I believe an identity is crucial for postgraduate design management education. The variations between courses are insignificant compared to the real competition for design management courses: MBAs, which have a much more consistent content.

No wonder the design industry prefers these business-trained postgraduates, at least they know what they’re getting. The design industry must acknowledge the unique skills of “design management” graduates.

There is a growing awareness of the benefits of design at a strategic level. These developments require design professionals who combine an understanding of business and marketing issues with a knowledge of the design process.

The role is to bridge the communication gap, to facilitate innovation between client and consultancy. I believe design management graduates are better placed to do that

But then I would say that, being a recent graduate from Brunel, and looking for work. Any offers?

Richard Hill

Towcester NN12 8RX

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