Master's Programme in International Design Business Management - Master of Arts
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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 educates students with arts, business, science and engineering backgrounds as T-shaped professionals providing them with a strategic view into creative leadership and management of international design-centric businesses, operations, and product and service development. The objective is to gain knowledge in multiple disciplines and to learn to connect one’s own disciplinary expertise to a wider multi-disciplinary, inter-disciplinary and trans-disciplinary design business framework. The global approach of IDBM programme prepares students to work in multi-cultural settings and collaborate across national and cultural boundaries. Graduates of the IDBM programme will be able to manage and lead initiatives and other individuals in order to undertake new business ventures within global environments.
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 and leadership ones.
Content of the studies
The learning outcomes are achieved through compulsory and elective studies. The compulsory IDBM core studies 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 years 2018-2020.
Corporate and other collaboration
Internationalisation runs through the core of the programme with students often collaborating with industry partners and organisations 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 and programme-specific requirements
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 the Department of Design at Aalto ARTS. Applicants holding the Bachelor's degree of Architecture can apply both through “Field of Art and Design” and through “Field of Science and Technology” depending on the applicant’s prior studies and career ambitions.
The applicants are ranked and rated in two stages on the basis of the following criteria:
- Motivation letter
- Degree certificate and transcript
Motivation Letter (max 2 points)
The applicant must convey his/her motivation for studying in the IDBM Major Studies Programme by writing a motivation letter. The letter should address the following questions:
- Why am I applying for admission to the IDBM Master’s Programme?
- What am I expecting to learn or gain by participating in the IDBM Programme?
- What can I contribute to fellow students and to the continued success of the IDBM Programme?
The letter of motivation is written in the application form and the maximum length is 4000 characters.
Academic Excellence (max 2 points for transcript)
The applicant’s grades from studies completed and of which the applicant has provided the appropriate documents by the end of the application period will be evaluated.
Portfolio (max 10 points for portfolio)
A portfolio consisting of the applicant’s own works is mandatory. Please upload a single PDF-file to the application system before submitting the application.
In the portfolio, applicants display work that illustrate their design skills and artistic expression. The portfolio must contain diverse samples of the applicant’s previous design, scientific, professional and/or artistic activity and interests. Artwork/project work can be provided as technical drawings, illustrations or photographs. If you present a work that has been undertaken as a team, please clarify your particular role in, and contribution to, the project. The work contained in the portfolio must be catalogued, listing at least the title and/or theme, materials utilized, size, purpose and year of completion of each piece. The catalogue must also detail where and when the work has been exhibited, displayed or otherwise published.
CV Professional Experience (max 2 points)
The applicant’s professional experience will be looked at broadly, and especially with regard to work experience relevant to the IDBM programme as well as experience in design, artistic, scientific and/or business/entrepreneurial practice, including any other relevant civic activities. Professional experience will be evaluated based primarily on the Curriculim Vitae CV. Please upload a single PDF-file to the application system before submitting the application.
Based on the total score in stage I (incl., ranking and rating), the most suitable applicants will be invited for a face-to-face interview. The number invited is typically double the number of study places offered. The maximum intake is 12 students per field (in design, business, and technology/science). The applicant’s practical ability to communicate in English will also be evaluated. The applicants are asked a series of questions regarding their motivation, mindset, preferences, aptitudes and interests. The interviews can alternatively be conducted via SKYPE or phone, if or when necessary.
Language of the application documents:
All of the application documents should be submitted in English.
Other programme-specific application instructions
International Design Business Management (IDBM) is a multidisciplinary master’s degree programme offered at Aalto University by the School of Arts, Design and Architecture, the School of Business and the School of Science. 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 cases the applicant should deliver separate application packages that meet the entry requirements of the respective school. The applicant, however, can be selected only through one of the schools. Accepted students complete the master’s degree of the school to which they were accepted.
Attention: The criteria mentioned here are for the IDBM programme in the Department of Design at Aalto ARTS. Applicants with a bachelor’s degree in architecture can apply both through the science/technology field and through the design field, depending on the applicant’s background studies and career intentions or aspirations. Students from the School of Arts, Design and Architecture will complete and be awarded a Master of Arts (MA) Degree in International Design Business Management (IDBM).