Master's Programme in International Design Business Management - Master of Arts


Master of Arts.
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120 ECTS

Field of Study:

Art and Design


2 years, full-time


An appropriate Bachelor´s degree or an equivalent qualification.
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Tuition fees & scholarships:

Yes, for non-EU citizens.
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Language of Instruction:

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Organising school/s:

School of Arts, Design and Architecture

Organising department/s:

Department of Design

Application period:

2016-12-15 - 2017-01-25

Publication of Results:


Goal of education

The master’s programme in International Design Business Management (IDBM) is a 120 ECTS credit joint offering between the Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, School of Science, and School of Business. The programme is taught completely in English. The first year of studies consists of a set of intensive compulsory study modules in all three schools and requires full time commitment. The second year of studies is more flexible to meet individual needs and interests.

IDBM develops expertise in global design business management through multidisciplinary collaboration and learning that cuts across the areas of business, design and technology. The programme emphasizes the importance of design as a key competitive factor, linked with state-of-the-art technology and business competence. The students gain competence on strategic and operational design management; enhance individual abilities to recognize and acknowledge the value of different mindsets, skill sets and practices of other professions. Achieving systemic competences requires an understanding of multidisciplinary aptitudes in the globalised context, abilities in strategic foresight and knowledge on agile development methods. The students learn to understand the issues related to the creation and application of new knowledge within and between domains. They learn to manage the ambiguity of real-life projects through integrative thinking, design processes, and cross-cultural diversity. They gain an ability for individual, team-situated and community-wide learning and competence development. They develop capabilities to manage and lead initiatives and other individuals; and they gain visual, verbal and written communication skills for the professional sphere and beyond.

Education content

The learning outcomes are achieved through compulsory and elective studies. The three compulsory core IDBM modules are linked to an extensive joint industry project and related teamwork. The business, design and technology components of the programme ensure that the students gain the necessary business, design and technology perspectives. Parallel to these the IDBM industry project deepens participants’ understanding of the real-life processes of the participating firms in global design intensive businesses. Skills in project management and business planning are developed through the projects..

For further details on the education content, see the study guide for the academic year of 2016-2017.

Career opportunities

Studies in International Design Business Management prepare for a career in industries that use and manage design as a key component of their competitive strategy. This can involve large multinational corporations, as well as small start-ups operating in a variety of fields. These businesses typically engage design to create new products and services, often involving the latest technology and business venturing and entrepreneurship.

IDBM graduates hold a variety of design and development positions in industry. They often participate in doing and managing design, product, service and business development, consulting, intra- and entrepreneurial initiatives and research. The initial specialist positions have in many cases evolved into more managerial.


Internationalization runs through the core of the programme with students often collaborating with industry partners on real-world project assignments.

IDBM has numerous international partners and collaborators, including the iSchool at the University of Tokyo, ESADE Business School in Barcelona and the College of Design and Innovation D&I at Tongji University in Shanghai.

Admission procedure

Applicants for the Master’s Programme in International Design Business Management (Master of Arts) apply in the Master’s level admissions in the field of Art and Design. Applicants must have a suitable Bachelor’s degree related to one of the disciplines included in the programme. An applicant can apply to the IDBM programme through more than one School. In such a case an applicant should deliver the appropriate application package fulfilling the entry requirement for each School. Such an applicant, however, can be selected only through one of the Aalto University Schools. An accepted student completes the master’s degree of the School which he/she is accepted to.

Students are granted admission to the programme through a two-phase process. In the first phase, applicants are assessed based on (1) their personal motivation for joining the program, (2) their academic excellence as displayed in their past studies and portfolio and (3) their professional experience. The professional experience of the applicants is looked at broadly and is considered to include work experience relevant to the IDBM programme as well as experience in artistic and scientific work, including entrepreneurship and other relevant civic activities. In the second phase, the most suitable applicants from the first phase are invited for interview from which a smaller subset of applicants is offered a study place.

Attention: The criteria mentioned here are for IDBM programme in Department of Design. Applicants holding the Bachelor's degree of Architecture can apply both through technology field and through design field depending on the applicant’s background studies and career ambitions.

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