A designer taking an MBA


acolonna

Hello, I am an Italian automotive designer with a 5y degree in product design (something between a BA and an MA) from the Politecnico di Milano university.

Having 12 years of experience (6 full time since my graduation in 2006) in the New Media (large websites and corporate application development) and Automotive (styling and designing vehicles for production with a major European manufacturer) sectors, I have come to understand that as a designer I do not have the power to push ideas (forget about long term visions) through an organization.

I am seriously thinking about achieving an MBA degree and reshaping myself to attack companies from a different perspective, hoping to get to a place from which I can make a difference.

The possibilities are truly endless so I don't have any particular preference at the moment, but I'd like the idea of getting involved either in advanced business development, helping companies adapt to an ever changing world (focusing on creative strategies), or in the development of future scenarios in the fields of transportation and energy, helping institutions deploy integrated infrastructures to raise the quality of life with the technologies at hand (there is just so much that can be done today!).

In any case I would steer away from finance, to stay close to either manufacturing or complex systems, seeking potential synergies (mainly between energy, transportation and ICT).

I am having a hard time figuring out which schools, among the top 20, would give me the best kick-start (and entourage) in that direction.
If I am to invest two years in a full-time MBA program, that will definitely be with an American school, immersed in the American economical texture... I guess I don't need to specify why.

Could anyone give me some insight?

Thank you so much for reading, and have a wonderful day!

Hello, I am an Italian automotive designer with a 5y degree in product design (something between a BA and an MA) from the Politecnico di Milano university.

Having 12 years of experience (6 full time since my graduation in 2006) in the New Media (large websites and corporate application development) and Automotive (styling and designing vehicles for production with a major European manufacturer) sectors, I have come to understand that as a designer I do not have the power to push ideas (forget about long term visions) through an organization.

I am seriously thinking about achieving an MBA degree and reshaping myself to attack companies from a different perspective, hoping to get to a place from which I can make a difference.

The possibilities are truly endless so I don't have any particular preference at the moment, but I'd like the idea of getting involved either in advanced business development, helping companies adapt to an ever changing world (focusing on creative strategies), or in the development of future scenarios in the fields of transportation and energy, helping institutions deploy integrated infrastructures to raise the quality of life with the technologies at hand (there is just so much that can be done today!).

In any case I would steer away from finance, to stay close to either manufacturing or complex systems, seeking potential synergies (mainly between energy, transportation and ICT).

I am having a hard time figuring out which schools, among the top 20, would give me the best kick-start (and entourage) in that direction.
If I am to invest two years in a full-time MBA program, that will definitely be with an American school, immersed in the American economical texture... I guess I don't need to specify why.

Could anyone give me some insight?

Thank you so much for reading, and have a wonderful day!
quote
repoman

Wow. You have some quite interesting experience. Here are some programs that jump to mind:

- Berkeley
- UT Austin
- MIT
- Tepper

Wow. You have some quite interesting experience. Here are some programs that jump to mind:

- Berkeley
- UT Austin
- MIT
- Tepper
quote
acolonna


- Berkeley
- UT Austin
- MIT
- Tepper


Thanks for the reply! By looking at rankings and crossing them with proximity to industrial areas I initially pointed the following:

- Berkeley
- UCLA
- MIT (for it's extraordinary research activities on campus)

If I had to look exclusively at brand recognition, I would go for:
- Harvard
- Stanford

But I have to assess how these schools might be really useful to my case.

Do any of the best schools have campuses abroad? I know MIT has a campus in Singapore. But are they any good? Or is it better to go for the main sites?

I was very interested in Hult for it's international experience (you can rotate between three of their five campuses during the one year full time MBA), but it's lower ranking (plus the fact that top-level head hunters have never heard of that school yet!!) has put me off...

<blockquote>
- Berkeley
- UT Austin
- MIT
- Tepper </blockquote>

Thanks for the reply! By looking at rankings and crossing them with proximity to industrial areas I initially pointed the following:

- Berkeley
- UCLA
- MIT (for it's extraordinary research activities on campus)

If I had to look exclusively at brand recognition, I would go for:
- Harvard
- Stanford

But I have to assess how these schools might be really useful to my case.

Do any of the best schools have campuses abroad? I know MIT has a campus in Singapore. But are they any good? Or is it better to go for the main sites?

I was very interested in Hult for it's international experience (you can rotate between three of their five campuses during the one year full time MBA), but it's lower ranking (plus the fact that top-level head hunters have never heard of that school yet!!) has put me off...
quote
repoman

nice. I thought you were interested in US programs only, so I wasn't global in my initial brainstorm. I think Berkeley and Austin are interesting for energy which was something you mentioned.

obviously if you get into Harvard or Stanford you go to one of those two. most of the best schools have something set up abroad. if not a full on campus then some kind of exchange opportunity.

some people have strong opinions about Hult here. I don't really one way or another.

nice. I thought you were interested in US programs only, so I wasn't global in my initial brainstorm. I think Berkeley and Austin are interesting for energy which was something you mentioned.

obviously if you get into Harvard or Stanford you go to one of those two. most of the best schools have something set up abroad. if not a full on campus then some kind of exchange opportunity.

some people have strong opinions about Hult here. I don't really one way or another.

quote
acolonna

As of last night I am looking at MBA's from a different perspective too. Within the TOP20 worldwide schools there are some non-US ones with campuses in the BRIC or other developing countries which appear very appealing.

For instance:
- Indian School of Business
- Cuhk in Hong Kong
- OneMBA in Hong Kong
- Ceibs in China

But I am currently not able to assess the value of networking right were business is growing, rather than networking in continental USA with people and companies with connections and activities in the BRIC area.

As of last night I am looking at MBA's from a different perspective too. Within the TOP20 worldwide schools there are some non-US ones with campuses in the BRIC or other developing countries which appear very appealing.

For instance:
- Indian School of Business
- Cuhk in Hong Kong
- OneMBA in Hong Kong
- Ceibs in China

But I am currently not able to assess the value of networking right were business is growing, rather than networking in continental USA with people and companies with connections and activities in the BRIC area.
quote
ezra

Do you want to work in a BRIC country after you graduate? It can be tricky for western students to break into countries like this, but it can be done. It often depends on how much you're able to commit to overcoming the language and cultural barriers. If you're going to try to work in a Chinese business, for example, you'll probably want to have very high Mandarin skills (although you might have more luck with multinationals in Hong Kong with just English.) There are some good threads on CEIBS that you can read to get more info:

http://www.find-mba.com/board/5928

ISB could be interesting - although from what I know, it draws very few non-Indian students.

I'd echo repoman in that, if you can get into Harvard/Stanford/Haas etc., these will probably open more doors, even internationally.

As of last night I am looking at MBA's from a different perspective too. Within the TOP20 worldwide schools there are some non-US ones with campuses in the BRIC or other developing countries which appear very appealing.

For instance:
- Indian School of Business
- Cuhk in Hong Kong
- OneMBA in Hong Kong
- Ceibs in China

But I am currently not able to assess the value of networking right were business is growing, rather than networking in continental USA with people and companies with connections and activities in the BRIC area.

Do you want to work in a BRIC country after you graduate? It can be tricky for western students to break into countries like this, but it can be done. It often depends on how much you're able to commit to overcoming the language and cultural barriers. If you're going to try to work in a Chinese business, for example, you'll probably want to have very high Mandarin skills (although you might have more luck with multinationals in Hong Kong with just English.) There are some good threads on CEIBS that you can read to get more info:

http://www.find-mba.com/board/5928

ISB could be interesting - although from what I know, it draws very few non-Indian students.

I'd echo repoman in that, if you can get into Harvard/Stanford/Haas etc., these will probably open more doors, even internationally.

<blockquote>As of last night I am looking at MBA's from a different perspective too. Within the TOP20 worldwide schools there are some non-US ones with campuses in the BRIC or other developing countries which appear very appealing.

For instance:
- Indian School of Business
- Cuhk in Hong Kong
- OneMBA in Hong Kong
- Ceibs in China

But I am currently not able to assess the value of networking right were business is growing, rather than networking in continental USA with people and companies with connections and activities in the BRIC area.</blockquote>
quote
acolonna

Thanks for the reply!

I'm looking into the linked thread.

It's a tough choice, especially when you don't have a specific route planned in your head. What I'd prefer is to keep as many possibilities open as I can.

It's weird, so many people focus on specific fields or positions, whereas I feel so stimulated by so many things, I have more regards for the quality of the work environment and the excellence of my coworkers than for the object of my work itself.

Thanks for the reply!

I'm looking into the linked thread.

It's a tough choice, especially when you don't have a specific route planned in your head. What I'd prefer is to keep as many possibilities open as I can.

It's weird, so many people focus on specific fields or positions, whereas I feel so stimulated by so many things, I have more regards for the quality of the work environment and the excellence of my coworkers than for the object of my work itself.
quote
ezra

I have more regards for the quality of the work environment and the excellence of my coworkers than for the object of my work itself.

Along these lines - I'd continue to recommend looking more at the quality of the cohorts at the top schools rather than if they offer specific concentrations and electives. I would think that you could get sidetracked by looking into design-specific programs, when a general MBA with a strong cohort could be more fulfilling. If your GMAT score is good enough, look into programs like Chicago Booth, Harvard, Columbia, Haas, Wharton, etc.

<blockquote>I have more regards for the quality of the work environment and the excellence of my coworkers than for the object of my work itself.</blockquote>
Along these lines - I'd continue to recommend looking more at the quality of the cohorts at the top schools rather than if they offer specific concentrations and electives. I would think that you could get sidetracked by looking into design-specific programs, when a general MBA with a strong cohort could be more fulfilling. If your GMAT score is good enough, look into programs like Chicago Booth, Harvard, Columbia, Haas, Wharton, etc.
quote
acolonna

Thanks for the reply Ezra.
I am really new at this "school research" thing, how do I access the sort of information you are citing (quality of the cohorts at the schools)?

I took the GMAT two years ago and didn't get a very high score (I was 90%ile). I am studying more thoroughly to take it again in September, hoping to land something in excess of 700. My previous score already got me in a school however, as my unique background looks to stand out quite strongly against the average applicant.

The annoying part is that I have to retake the TOEFL since it has expired, which I aced (99%ile), even if I have, also, an Australian citizenship.

Thanks for the reply Ezra.
I am really new at this "school research" thing, how do I access the sort of information you are citing (quality of the cohorts at the schools)?

I took the GMAT two years ago and didn't get a very high score (I was 90%ile). I am studying more thoroughly to take it again in September, hoping to land something in excess of 700. My previous score already got me in a school however, as my unique background looks to stand out quite strongly against the average applicant.

The annoying part is that I have to retake the TOEFL since it has expired, which I aced (99%ile), even if I have, also, an Australian citizenship.
quote
Duncan

I think average salary is a good proxy measure for the quality of the cohort.

I think average salary is a good proxy measure for the quality of the cohort.
quote
acolonna

Mmm, I favor sector, position and long term personal development potential rather than initial salary.
10 years later, how much will have that initial salary counted?

Sure I want to make a lot o money, at least a lot more than the average designer can make... But the reason for doing an MBA, for me, is to be able to push innovation, and raise the quality of life of consumers. I simply need to be amongst those who raise the bar.

That is the main reason why I'm not happy with my current employer, which uses the global economy as an excuse the further shorten strategic terms. A large enterprise with sub-products that take 10+ years to develop, unwilling to make decisions beyond 6 months. It's extremely frustrating!!!

Mmm, I favor sector, position and long term personal development potential rather than initial salary.
10 years later, how much will have that initial salary counted?

Sure I want to make a lot o money, at least a lot more than the average designer can make... But the reason for doing an MBA, for me, is to be able to push innovation, and raise the quality of life of consumers. I simply need to be amongst those who raise the bar.

That is the main reason why I'm not happy with my current employer, which uses the global economy as an excuse the further shorten strategic terms. A large enterprise with sub-products that take 10+ years to develop, unwilling to make decisions beyond 6 months. It's extremely frustrating!!!
quote
Duncan

As a rule of thumb, that gaps widens over time: it doesn't shrink. Even if percentages increases are the same, the cash value grows. But the reality is also that the better schools graduates advance more quickly because of their higher value.

So, even if salary isn't the only measure it is a good measure of how much value those people have been producing on the way in. That matters especially with designers, many of whom work for themselves or in small firms. Those who are GEOs might [on average] be paid less than those who are middle managers, because they might be heads of microbusinesses.

As a rule of thumb, that gaps widens over time: it doesn't shrink. Even if percentages increases are the same, the cash value grows. But the reality is also that the better schools graduates advance more quickly because of their higher value.

So, even if salary isn't the only measure it is a good measure of how much value those people have been producing on the way in. That matters especially with designers, many of whom work for themselves or in small firms. Those who are GEOs might [on average] be paid less than those who are middle managers, because they might be heads of microbusinesses.
quote

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