MBA/MA in Design LeadershipThe MBA for Both Sides of Your Brain

The world's business challenges require visionaries that think like tomorrow's leaders, not today's. Learn the creative approach to strategic decision-making embraced by top designers and how to apply it to the most complex management challenges and opportunities for commercial leadership. Earn two degrees at the same time from Johns Hopkins University and Maryland Institute College of Art--recognized globally among the most innovative institutions.

Instead of thinking outside the box, learn to forget the box entirely.

Program begins July 9, 2012

Year One

Summer 2013
  • Foundations of Design Leadership[MICA] 4 credits
Fall 1 - 2013
  • BU.210.620 Accounting & Financial Reporting [JHU] 2 credits
  • BU.131.601 Leadership Ethics Seminar [JHU] 2 credits
  • BU.510.601 Statistical Analysis [JHU] 2 credits
  • Collaboration, Interdisciplinarity, and Multidisciplinarity [MICA] 2 credits
Fall 2 - 2013
  • BU.121.601 Business Communication [JHU] 2 credits
  • BU.231.620 Corporate Finance* [JHU] 2 credits
  • BU.410.620 Customer Focused Marketing [JHU] 2 credits
  • Creativity and Innovation [MICA] 2 credits
Spring 1 - 2014
  • BU.220.620 Economics for Decision Making* [JHU] 2 credits
  • Carey Business School Elective I [JHU] 2 credits
  • BU142.730 Strategic Human Capital [JHU] 2 credits
  • Cultural Relevance & Awareness [MICA] 2 credits
Spring 2 - 2014
  • BU.220.610 The Firm & The Macro-economy [JHU] 2 credits
  • BU.350.620 Information Systems [JHU] 2 credits
  • BU.520.601 Decision Models* [JHU] 2 credits
  • Forecasting and Realization [MICA] 2 credits
Summer 2014
  • BU.232.701 Investments* [JHU] 2 credits
  • BU.XXX.XXX Carey Business School Elective 2 [JHU] 2 credits
  • The Competitive Advantage I [MICA] 3 credits

Year Two

Fall 1 - 2014
  • BU.121.610 Negotiation [JHU] 2 credits
  • BU.680.620 Operations Management* [JHU] 2 credits
  • BU 151.790 Strategic Management [JHU] 4 credits
  • Visualization & Prototyping [MICA] 2 credits
Fall 2 - 2014
  • BU.132.601 Business Law [JHU] 2 credits
  • BU.142.620 Leadership in Organizations* [JHU] 2 credits
  • Sustainability & Social Responsibility [MICA] 2 credits
Spring 1 - 2015
  • BU.XXX.XXX Carey Business School Elective 3 [JHU] 2 credits
  • BU.XXX.XXX Carey Business School Elective 4 [JHU] 2 credits
  • The Competitive Advantage II [MICA] 3 credits

*denotes a course with a prerequisite.

MICA Curriculum

Foundations of Design Leadership: A rapidly changing market place demands leaders who must be intellectually dexterous and possess a range of skills and knowledge reflecting a multitude of creative disciplines. Foundations of Design Leadership surveys the language, tools, principles, and theories of the fields of design, engineering, and business as they apply to the generation of innovative design solutions. Focus is on a synthesis of design, technology, and business goals through the development of basic knowledge related to a range of topics including, aesthetics, ergonomics, finance, marketing, prototyping, creativity, accounting, manufacturing, economics, etc. Students with varied backgrounds representing the fields of business, engineering, and design, share their experience through seminars, lectures, and projects while gaining new knowledge about industries in which they have limited background. The goal of Foundations of Design Leadership is to establish a common set of knowledge among the programs diverse cohort.

Collaboration, Interdisciplinarity, and Multidisciplinarity: Central to this course is an acknowledgement of the intrinsic limitations of individuals and individual disciplines and the need for collaboration among and between disciplines. Students in Collaboration, Interdisciplinarity, and Multidisciplinarity explore the possibilities presented by design activity and perspectives that fall between multiple disciplines and those that are shared among disciplines. Focus is on the development of a shared base of knowledge, methodology, context, and language, and on creating systems of shared accountability and coordination. Projects are designed to provide students with the opportunity to share their knowledge and approaches to design solutions with their colleagues through small teams which create cooperative structures and processes that operate nimbly to assess the dimensions of a design problem, measure the resources represented by the group's heterogeneity, and conceive pioneering design outcomes.

Creativity and Innovation: Risk taking, tolerance for ambiguity, abductive thinking, heuristic method, praxis, General Design Theory (GDT), and epistemology are explored in Creativity and Innovation. Focus is on conceiving design solutions through a variety of processes involving analyzing fundamental assumptions, skeptically questioning the nature and justifications of these assumptions, intuition, research, experimentation, and envisioning through iterative sequences that generate unexpected outcomes. Innovative ideation is the goal of this class; charettes, critiques, brainstorming sessions, etc. emphasize non-judgmental, neutral dialogue that encourages novelty and ensures imaginative and inventive design concepts.

Cultural Relevance and Awareness: Conventions of what makes a well designed product vary greatly from group to group. In Cultural Relevance and Awareness assumptions about good design are contextualized from distinct cultural perspectives and the nature of "good design" is challenged. Students investigate principles of cultural variance, Universal Design, Cultural-Historical Activity Theory (CHAT), as well as inclusive approaches to design that focus on design consumers of various ages, abilities, cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. Rather than the promotion of design approaches that reflect cultural diversity via embellishment emphasis is on a more encompassing macro-level of design that is more holistic and inclusive.

Forecasting and Realization: In this studio class emphasis is on an understanding of short and long-term forecasting approaches that impact design conclusions. Students engage is research focused on the ebb and flow of domestic and international demographics and psychographics, changes in industry and markets, consumer expectations, values and impulses, technology and scientific progressions and shifts, and changes in economics, politics, and culture and the forces that drive them. Quantitative and qualitative data, approaches to market research and marketing plans, informs the design process. Students test their design ideas against their marketing strategies and employ tools for analyzing their assumptions such as SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats ), COPE analysis, PEST analysis (Political, Economic, Social, and Technological), STEER analysis (Socio-cultural, Technological, Economic, Ecological, and Regulatory factors), and EPISTEL analysis (Environment, Political, Informatic, Social, Technological, Economic and Legal).

The Competitive Advantage I and II: The Competitive Advantage consists of two eight-week ateliers designed to synthesize all the various concepts explored throughout the program. The first Competitive Advantage atelier occurs approximately half way through the program; the second during the final academic term. Projects in this course are student generated, researched, and defined. Students work in teams with diverse membership from all three program disciplines to fully realize designs based on real world problems. Members of the program faculty evaluate team progress and project quality and innovation through regular presentations by student teams. Learning and project evaluation is enhanced through a program of visiting scholars engaging students in regular discussions of student progress through critiques and seminars. Critical themes for The Competitive Advantage are the overarching themes of the degree: the synthesis of the two or more contrasting concepts or all together new ideas, creativity/innovation, iterative processes, tolerance for new ideas, rationality, praxis, research, intuition, collaboration, synthesis, and empathy.

Visualization and Prototyping: Students in Visualization and Prototyping assess scenarios and outcomes while illustrating and modeling outcomes and prototypes. Application research, system feasibility, risk assessment, product lifecycle management (PLM) design and styling to sales and marketing, and the use of visual analytics are all methodically employed as the class explores a variety of approaches including proof-of-principle, form study, user experience, visual, and functional prototyping. Additional emphasis is placed on design methods to combine, expand, and refine ideas, and the creation of multiple drafts while seeking feedback from diverse groups of people, including end users, clients, etc. Students have access to MICA's prototyping resources and investigate commercial prototyping resources as well.

Sustainability and Social Responsiveness: Emphasis is on the way design impacts our world. Methods of design in Sustainability and Social Responsiveness include tangible projects centering on community focused collaboration, civic engagement, research focused on cultural, social, political and economic factors, advancement in public policy, changes in lifestyle habits, or mass awareness of important issues. Students also investigate design strategies that use low-impact, non-toxic, sustainably produced, or recycled materials. Design concepts that emphasize energy efficiency, durability, product longevity, reuse and recycling, carbon footprint and life-cycle sensitivity, biomimicry, service substitution, and other such sustainable approaches are investigated.


 BU.210.610 Accounting & Financial Reporting: This course emphasizes the vocabulary, methods, and processes by which business transactions are communicated. Topics include the accounting cycle; basic business transactions involving assets, liabilities, equity, account revenue, and expense; as well as, preparation and understanding of financial statements, including balance sheets, statements of income, and cash flows.

BU.131.601 Leadership Ethics Seminar: This course explores ethical leadership as a framework for enterprise value creation in a complex environment of competing economic and moral claims. Students examine the intrinsic ethical challenges of leadership and the concept of a moral compass as a foundation for responding effectively to the ethical challenges of corporate citizenship and value creation in a competitive global economy.

BU.510.601 Statistical Analysis: Students learn statistical techniques for further study in business, economics, and finance. The course covers sampling distributions, probability, hypothesis testing, regression and correlation, basic modeling, analysis of variance, and chi-square testing. The course emphasizes statistics to solve management problems. Case studies, spreadsheets, and SPSS computer software are used.

BU.120.601 Business Communication: This course refines student's skills in written and oral communication to internal and external audiences. Through analyses and practice of communication strategies adopted by successful business professionals, students learn to write clearly and concisely, make compelling oral presentations, construct effective arguments.

BU.410.620 Customer Focused Marketing: This course covers principles of market-driven managerial decision making that determine competitiveness in dynamic consumer and organizational markets. Particular areas of emphasis include industry analyses, dynamics of competition, market segmentation, target marketing, channels of distribution, and product and pricing decisions. In-depth analytical skills are developed through case analyses, class discussions, role playing, and applied projects.

BU.220.620 Economics for Decision Making: This is a microeconomics course with emphasis on the application of economic principles and methodologies to managerial decision problems. Major topics include consumer choice and demand, production and costs, market structures and output/price decisions. Prerequisite(s): BU.510.601 or BU.790.616 or BE.790.616 or BU.790.003 OR BU.755.616 or BE.790.003 or BE.755.616

BU.142.730 Strategic Human Capital: The reality of business is that developing and managing human capital is vital for the success of any organization. Therefore, this course is taught both from a general manager's perspective, as well as from an HR perspective. This means that we will look at ways that HRM can be used to enhance the competitive capabilities of an organization. The major focus of this course will be strategic HRM and HR planning. Using cases and working in teams, students will choose organizations that interest them, and work on a research project describing how they compete through people and human resource management.

BU.220.610 The Firm and The Macro-economy: This macro-economic course emphasizes the role of governments and their effect on the global business environment. Major topics include economic growth, inflation, unemployment, exchange rates, fiscal and monetary policy, and international finance. The course provides students with the necessary theoretical framework relevant to helping them develop an economic perspective for analyzing real-world phenomena.

BU.350.620 Information Systems: This course addresses reflects the higher level industry interests of students knowing how technology, brought together with people and processes into systems, contributes to leveraging the creation of business value in this field. NOTE: Open only to MBA students. No credit given to MS Information Systems students. Course formerly offered as BU.310.620. Students cannot use credits for both BU. 310.620 AND BU.350.620 towards any degree or certificate requirements.

BU.520.601 Decision Models: This course will introduce you to some of the decision modeling techniques available for analyzing business problems. Topics covered include decision analysis, nonlinear optimization, linear optimization, integer optimization, and simulation. You will become familiar with identifying problems, formulating models, solving them in a spreadsheet and then interpreting the results.

BU.232.701 Investments: Through an in-depth study of portfolio theory and asset-pricing models, students acquire the analytical skills necessary to conduct valuations of equities, fixed-income securities, and alternative investments. This exploration leads to an understanding of the concept of portfolio management and the importance of diversification in controlling portfolio risk.

BU.121.610 Negotiation: This course will provide students with the foundation skills needed for effective negotiation. The interactive and independent learning opportunities provided during the course are designed to help participants understand and develop a systematic approach to preparing for, structuring, and engaging in business negotiations using two core approaches. Participants will develop communication, process, and conflict handling skills needed for effective negotiation of relationships. Participants will engage in live and electronic negotiations to build their skills in employing or overcoming specific negotiation strategies and tactics. The course content includes learning opportunities designed to sharpen participants' ability to analyze negotiations from both an ethical and cultural perspective and develop approaches that facilitate cross-cultural understanding and ethical negotiation.

BU.680.620 Operations Management: The production of goods and services requires obtaining resources, transforming them into products, and then moving them through a distribution system to reach customers. We will take a process view of these value-added functions that will lead to an understanding of how to make deign choices that lead to more efficient and effective production.

Strategic Management I and II: This course is a JHU course designed specifically for students enrolled in the MBA/MA dual degree program. Similarly to The Competitive Advantage, Strategic Management emphasizes student generated, researched, and defined projects. Students work in teams with diverse membership from all three program disciplines to fully realize designs based on real world problems. Members of the CBS faculty evaluate team progress and project quality and innovation through regular presentations by student teams. The course will enable the students to gain in-depth knowledge into the analysis, formulation, and implementation of strategic plans in line with the themes of the Design Leadership curriculum. Learning and project evaluation is enhanced through a program of visiting scholars engaging students in regular discussions of student progress.

BU.132.601 Business Law: A thorough working knowledge of the legal and regulatory environment in which businesses operate is essential for well-prepared business executives. This course provides an overview of the legal and regulatory environment affecting business in the United States and abroad. Topics include forms of business organization, contracts, torts and products liability, international business transactions, antitrust law, environmental law, securities regulation, ethics, and discrimination and employment issues. Students are expected to utilize electronic library and Internet resources to complete assignments.

BU.142.620 Leadership in Organizations: Students examine organizational behavior and leadership from diverse perspectives focusing on the individual, group, and organization; climate and culture; industry and society, and the global environment. Experiential in design, the course draws on the organizational life of students and encourages practical application of the theories and ideas considered. High levels of participation are maintained through the use of cases, simulations, discussion, and the class itself as a temporary organization.

BU.231.620 Finance and Capital Markets: This course is designed to introduce students to the basic, yet fundamental, issues of modern finance. The goal of the course is to provide students with the basic tools needed to successfully complete more advanced finance courses. This course deals primarily with a firm’s investment and financing decisions and its interactions with the capital markets. Students develop the fundamental principles of financial valuation and analysis, which provide a solid foundation for all other finance courses. Prerequisite: BU.210.620