What separates a Business Design MBA from a Regular MBA?

This subject has been some news especially in the western part of the world and is slowly gripping the Indian B – Schools as well. As any change would take some resistance and thus time to be adopted, it is evidently true that a candidate who has learnt the aspects of business design are more business centric after the course and have the capabilities to understand the nuances of the business and also be able to handle the complexities in the business in a much innovative and people friendly manner.

Before we analyze the aspects of the business design MBA and of the regular MBA let’s focus on understanding what business design is?

Business design is

  • The innovative way of handling business operations which are highly people centric

The people meant here can be internal customers like employees, or can be external to the organization like clients, vendors etc.

  • It adopts various methodologies which can be adopted from across the industries to be applied for a specific organizational purpose.

Ex: There are many non-food category organizations, who have adopted the Dominos way of supply chain, as they excel in it.

  • The aim of the business design to be have the right collaboration of customer or end user empathy, experience design and business strategy to develop something that solves the problem of the target market and thereby ensure competitive advantage and better profits to the organization
  • The business design believes in following the processes which can deliver the desired results in an iterative manner. It is easy to miss out on the true issues that might be needed to be fixed in an organization or in the process if the focus was  just on achieving the end results. It’s a methodical approach where the method changes for every challenge faced, but remains aligned with the organizational objective.

In a regular MBA Programme, the candidates are taught with the essential knowledge and skills that would be required in the real time world. What goes missing is the ability to understand the human beings who use the services and products developed, who actually are the sole bread providers for any organization.

Let us try to understand what is said above with an example:

A candidate who has opted for specialization in marketing has learnt all the concepts which vary from dealing with the customers in B2B markets to B2C markets.

However, the knowledge he has obtained is from the perspective of the company and focuses on how he can bring more profits to the company. This is the traditional method of doing business.

Such candidate, if posed with a peculiar problem or an unmet challenge will start facing difficulties, as he has been taught to think outside in and not inside out.

The marketer here is trying to apply methodologies that he has learnt without understanding the actual problems of the end user or customer.

Rather, with the knowledge of business design, he/she will be able to understand the know-how of dealing such conditions, as they put people first. This time the employee applies empathy to understand the problems of the end user and designs a business platform (considering the strategic objectives of the organization) that would not be trivial but highly specific to the problems of the end user.

This will ensure that the customer is more satisfied as his problems were solved and therefore the marketer here will be able to meet the strategic objectives of the organization and creates a win – win situation.

With the information provided above, the next thing would be understand if we have such institutions that provide business design courses in India?

Fortunately the answer is yes. There are a few as it takes the mettle in the founders of the organisation to go out of the ways and provide the best in the field.

One such organisation is School of Business Design – Manesar – which is founded by Mr. Anil Sachdev, who himself was a world class HR consultant and is a renowned educationist for business studies. The organisation provides a full-fledged two year course on business design and also ensures that the student gets all the necessary knowledge, skills and attitude required to be a business professional.

Another pioneer in the business administration schooling, P L Welingkar – Mumbai and Bengaluru campus provide a course, ‘PGDM in business design and innovation’. With a batch in the campus for 2018 on, the faculty and students seem confident about the course and the importance of the subject.

(SOIL Campus – Manesar, Gurgaon; New Campus for their 2 year Business MBA Program)

Considering the job profiles of a business design student, it mainly offers the jobs which are highly people centric, like

  • Customers’ success consultant
  • Brand manager or associate roles
  • Customer experience manager
  • Innovator – From business perspective, engineers who have business design can also be provided roles, where they can apply both business and engineering acumen
  • Business designer
  • Product managers
  • Process managers etc.

To be able to handle such positions the student of business design is expected to major in some subjects, that are a bit different from the regular MBA subjects and those are:

  • Design research – Aspects that are difficult to be quantified, like empathy, happiness etc. are taught in such subjects.
  • Business innovation and design workshops: Fortunately, being innovative can be taught, and such teachings are practical in nature. That’s what a student learns in design workshop.
  • Business design Practical: Practical sessions for implementation of lessons are inevitable.

Apart from the above listed subjects, the following subjects are also an option to pursue:

  • Creativity and business innovation
  • Corporate strategy
  • Consumer behavior
  • Behavioral economics
  • Leading social innovation
  • Marketing strategy etc.

With the knowledge of subjects involved, roles offered in the industry, let us now try to analyze he companies who hire business design candidates:

The companies where the interaction with people is found to be extremely high and the end user is equally involved for a company’s success, design thinking is considered as a priority.

  • Swiggy, Mcdonalds and other QSR companies, where customer satisfaction is the priority, design thinkers are given a free hand to experiment with iterations that work.
  • Consultant companies, including the big 4 want business design creators, as their clients expect them to provide more innovative solutions.

Ex: Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, EY, KPMG, Deloitte, all other IT consultants including Accenture, TCS and the similar ones

  • Logistics and supply chain industries, where time is everything. All ways and means developed to reduce the lead time for the product to reach the customer is because of proper business design.

Ex: First flight, cargo etc.

  • Engineering companies who design and believe in continuous innovation, want engineers who specialize in business design.

The student with 2-3 years of full time work experience and a course in business design can expect a salary of 6Lpa to 12Lpa in current market conditions.

So, to wind up,

The study of business design consists of everything that a regular MBA candidate would learn, plus the student also learns the ways to apply the knowledge and skills learnt in the people centric methodology, which are aligned to strategic objectives of the organisation.

All in all, this way of learning the adoption of business administration is catastrophically increasing. In case, if you consider yourself creative and have higher risk appetite, you must consider this mode of learning. Because, with the way it is growing across the world, the early joiners seem to have an edge over others.

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