What school is best for me, is school my only option?

I have a BS in Biology, and will graduate this summer 2011 with a Masters in Cellular and Molecular Biology. Originally I was a PhD track graduate student, but switched to a Masters track after realizing I want to pursue my dream career, ID: furniture/product design.

Note: I decided this recently, and it already past most school deadlines.

What is a great/top school for ID that has more studio time that is hands on (less computer based design–I want to build)? I am interested in metalworking and recycled products

Do I need to have a bachelors in ID to find a job, or is a bachelors in biology plus core ID courses enough?

Will schools (Top ID programs) accept me into the ID program and allow me to take courses as a non degree seeking student, and if so which schools?

Do I still have a chance to enter a program if I apply late?

Overall: Are there alternatives to the “traditional” 4 year program/transfer student way to have a successful career in the ID industry/ be taken seriously in the industry? If not, what can I do for the next year until I can apply to a Top program that will benefit me the most?

I know this is a long post, and I appreciate any advice. Thanks!

You say furniture as something specific - is this the core area you’d like to pursue? Several schools (most of which are primarily BA programs vs BS) have furniture design focuses. Offhand RISD and Pratt both come to mind.

The biology major probably won’t play much of a role in getting hired. If you don’t have an ID degree you probably won’t be able to build up the same portfolio as an ID student so it will be hard. With that said, if furniture is a focus they’ll care more about your ability to design and build furniture than your portfolio of other work.

Most ID programs as far as I would think are limited to degree students only. Generally ID classes are very small and intimate in size so I’m not sure if this would work, but it would probably require talking to the admissions or department directly.

You can always apply for spring semesters if you’ve missed the fall deadlines.

I’ve admission offers from these six schools to pursue design education based around design thinking for this Fall:

  1. Illinois Institute of Design, Chicago - Master of Design/MBA
  2. Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) - MFA Design Management
  3. University of Toronto, Rotman School - MBA Integrative Thinking
  4. Indiana University-Purdue University Indiana (IUPUI), Herron School - MFA Visual Communication Design
  5. California College of the Arts - MBA in Design Strategy
  6. Domus Academy, Milan - Master of Business Design

Which school/s from the list best prepares students to work in design consultancies, and has a proven track record for offering internship and post graduate job placements?

Wow, tough question. I’m a recent DMBA alumni (the MBA in Design Strategy program from CCA) and have some insight in a couple of these schools - particularly Rotman, IIT, and DMBA, of course. A couple of quick thoughts (I also PMed you with my email address if you’d like a more personal perspective):

IIT probably has the best track record for placing students in design consultancies, as they have been around the longest and have the widest alumni network that’s already in the field working in design-led innovation. The DMBA has a disadvantage in this given we are a new program, with our first class just graduated last May. But many of us, current students included, already work at design consultancies and so can advocate from within for hiring more grads or promoting internships. My understanding is that Rotman is the closest to a traditional business design degree and thus the challenge of students there is about their design credibility. DMBA has less of that challenge although we are sometimes challenged on our hard business skills (unjustifiably so but that’s another conversation).

I would caution you, however, in making your decision based on a desire to work at a design consultancy and the likelihood of getting a job at one. There are many possible career paths that you could take and are perhaps more appropriate to your professional experience that can leave a lasting impact on the world of design and business. Getting a job at a design consulting company is not easy (very competitive!) and I personally think in-house work can be extremely rewarding. Graduates from the DMBA program aren’t just at design consulting firms - some are starting their own ventures, working at exciting new start-ups, or working in-house at creative companies and non-profits and bringing design thinking into those orgs in more subtle ways. The end goal of your education shouldn’t be “I want to work at this particular company” - it should be what contribution do you want to make and which program can best get you there.

Hope this is helpful. Feel free to ping me personally if you’d like to discuss further.

What comes to mind is Biomimicry…I would look into that if youre pursuing an I.D. degree…might be a good place to take your portfolio. :smiley:


I am a design aspirant and want to switch my carrier in design.I am good at sketching and drawing, but dont know which course will be better for me and where should i apply in US without having any work experience in design.Currently i am working with an IT firm in India for the past 30 months.Please suggest me something good.
I have heard about some portfolio schools like MAS, CPS…are they good to join?
Please help me out