What Masters Program?

Hi everyone!

I’m a young designer who’s considering going back to school for my Masters in one to three years. Does anyone have any suggestions for programs/fields that could pair nicely with a BFA in industrial design? What I’m primarily interested in is increasing earning potential and marketability, both as an industrial designer, and in tangent fields.

Some of the programs I’ve already jotted down are:

+human/computer interaction
+interaction design
+mechanical engineering (possible to get into with a BFA?)

I know it’s a very diverse list, but I’m a guy who’s interested in a lot of different things.

This is more like a brainstorming session to generate ideas. Any and all suggestions are welcome.

Thanks! :smiley:

depends on how much experience you have. If you have 10 years+ experience as a designer and director/manager, getting an MBA would put you in a great spot to be a VP somewhere (possibly of design, possibly of all product functions). But if you only have a few years experience, I don’t think it would help your earning potential. It would help you start your own business or transition to product/brand marketing if those are your goals.

human/computer interaction, interaction design would certainly make you more appealing, I’m not sure how much cash you will get, but certainly some other opportunities will be available.

psychology, harder to say, but if you were going to go down the road of a design researcher, this, or cultural anthropology wouldn’t hurt.

Begin with the end in mind. Where/who do you want to be?

As Yo has stated, I would suggest and MBA as well. More importantly you should put in some time getting work experience first. That way you’ll get more out of an MBA program and be more marketable than someone who pursued an MBA right after undergrad.

I went this route and I’ve noticed a significant uptick in interest and the level of positions that I now qualify for.

I would definitely suggest an MBA as well. Yo pretty much nailed it with what you’ll get out of it. If you are wanting to get into design management there are some good programs out there.

CCA MBA in Design Strategy

This blog has a good start to some of the programs out there:

I’m studying for my GMATs right now and it’s been rough. It’s amazing how much information you forget over the years.

I think the Psychology/Cultural Anthropology route would be interesting and pretty valuable overall.

When I was in school I had the classes and credits for a minor in psychology and a minor in business until my school switched to a Master’s only program. I think the business and cultural anthropology are very good options. Psychology not as much unless you are doing design research.

Another option could be Materials Science. not too familiar with it but it always sounded like a fun field.

I would urge you to stay away from Architecture. It’s a horrible field to get into… first hand experience here. Just stay away.

I agree with you about getting experience before pursuing a masters. That’s what I’m doing right now, and will be for the next two or three years.

There’s a lot of support for an MBA in this crowd. I can certainly see the benefits of eventually pursuing that degree. I don’t think it would be my first choice though. Mostly, because I’m more interested in learning new technologies and design methodologies than new business methodologies.

The fields that really intrigue me right now are the ones involving digital design: human/computer interaction, interaction design; as well as some human factors fields: psychology of human factors, human factors engineering, software ergonomics.

I have time to figure all of this out though…

I think it depends. I could never see myself doing an MBA, and after 3+ years in design management, I don’t see the need. I work with an MBA that helps us sort things, but I don’t want to the excel spread sheets.


I swear this isn’t spam, I’m just combing the boards for “MBA”, trying to help out :slight_smile:

I might be coming too late to the game here, but I’m an ID turned Interaction Designer going to Ross in Ann Arbor for my MBA this Fall. Unlike “Yo”, I’ve worked at severely design challenged companies that don’t understand how to use design properly. They look at the Nike’s and the Apple’s and the Samsung’s of the world and wonder what their doing incorrectly. The truth is that they seem to understand that they need design, but don’t understand yet how to use it properly. It’d be like knowing you wanted to build a deck and buying a hammer, but holding it at the wrong end. And unfortunately, it doesn’t matter how good the hammer is, if you hold it the wrong way, it won’t work.

The MBA is a chance for me to truly understand the language of the business world so that I come out stronger and able to speak to the other columns of business on their level (marketing, operations, accounting, etc). It’s also to give my “aura” a bit more strategic weight than the term “designer” bestows in the board room.

I’ve recently begun a website to chart the experience and I’ll offer helpful tips for the applications, calendar deadlines, essays, etc. while also trying to offer non-designers tips on how to work better with design teams – utilize creative capital, etc. I’d be more than happy to even share all of my essays ( all 50+ of them :slight_smile: ) .

To give you an idea of my app process:
I applied to 11 top tier programs, interviewed at 9, accepted by 7 and at the end chose Ross over MIT for a myriad of reasons, but one of them being their support of design in the community and their Design+Business club.

You can check out the site if you want or give any feedback (please, I love feedback)

It’s brand new, and I’ll be updating it incessantly…at least until school starts.