Kyle Bodt

The design thinking skills Kyle Bodt gained during his time in the Design Leadership program helped him transition into an experience strategist role for software product design at KPMG Experience Design and Engineering, where he's helped some of the largest companies in the world with their design and product challenges.

When Kyle Bodt '15 read about the first cohort of the JHU/MICA M.B.A./M.A. in Design Leadership program in the Baltimore Sun, he said it was "serendipitous."

"I was applying to part-time MBA programs in the local area at the time, because I wanted to keep my job at IBM in Washington, D.C. while I was working through my degree. I accepted an admission offer to JHU in the part-time program with plans to transfer into the second cohort of the M.B.A./M.A. program, if possible. This was a calculated but successful risk, which ultimately enabled me to keep my position at IBM throughout my time in the program."

Bodt was interested in the joint program, because he felt the combination of an M.B.A. and M.A. provided a unique benefit distinct from other programs - and pursuing such educational distinctions was an exercise he was familiar with.

As he explained, "In my undergraduate years, I combined a business degree with a humanities degree with the goal of providing a distinctive, critical perspective in each field. The existence of the JHU/MICA program was validation of the need for diversity in approaching problems and exactly what I was looking for in a graduate program. I wanted to continue my career in technology and bring something different to the table; I wanted to analyze problems in a more holistic way, not just from a technology, business, or design perspective."

After his graduation from the program, Bodt transitioned into an experience strategist role for software product design at KPMG Experience Design and Engineering. While there, he's helped some of the largest companies in the world across multiple industries with their design and product challenges.

"Empathizing with users to uncover unknown unknowns not only reduces risk, but it opens the door to understanding the true value of the products and services we are designing. That value has to hold up in the complex world in which our solutions live," Bodt said. "The design thinking nurtured in JHU/MICA's M.B.A./M.A. helped me solidify the connection to that value by teaching me to better align my design decisions with concrete problems. The program taught me that solving the right problems could yield products that offer benefits for all stakeholders in the value chain."

He went on to say that prototyping was one of the most important skills he learned in the program, a skill he uses constantly with KPMG. "The quality of data I get from showing a client a prototype, as opposed to riding the meeting merry-go-round, rapidly increases my ability to get to the right solutions for the right problems," he said.

Bodt added, "If I were speaking to someone considering the program, I would impart that the world needs more people like M.B.A./M.A. graduates. The unique thing about the design leadership program is that it is not just a dual degree business program with a design focus; it's an incubator for ideas and solutions that span the wide array of industry and experience offered by each cohort member."

"My cohort had students with experience in health care, architecture, technology, consulting, agriculture, marketing and branding, fine arts and environmental regulation just to name a few. These diverse individuals show that the skills the program has to offer can be applied anywhere; design and business problems are everywhere, in every industry. The program provides the holistic approach and tools required for people to enter the world, fully capable of solving problems in unique and innovative ways."