Design education embedded into MBA curriculum? Yes, and in Cleveland, Ohio no less.


XPLANErs Patrick Dodson and I were in the heartland for client meetings last week and during our travels we swung by my alma mater, the Weatherhead School of Management, to field questions from first year MBA students about Design Consulting.


In true XPLANE fashion, students jotted questions on Post-its, one idea per Post-it, and stood shoulder-to-shoulder to affinity map them on the whiteboard.


What emerged were clusters of questions around:

  • XPLANE culture
  • Trends in the industry
  • Our process
  • Clients 

We covered the history of XPLANE, what skills we look for in designers and consultants, and why we love what we do.


As usual, clarifying what we mean by design and how we use design tools became a central part of the discussion. Do we do brand work? No. Do we develop infographics? Yes. Do we engage in ‘internal marketing’? Only in clarifying internal initiatives for stakeholder adoption. Do we partner with other consultancies? Sometimes, in a parallel swimlane capacity. Are we involved in implementation? Yes, but we are never embedded consultants.


Favorite question. “Sara, how did Weatherhead prepare you for XPLANE?” Answer: The Designing as Managing course and Design for America.


Favorite comment. “Let me blunt, do you have internships?” Answer: Yes, we aim to take on one MBA intern in the summer.


What else did we learn? Patrick might retire into being a professor and I might become a national spokesperson for Design for America.

Interested in learning more about the Design MBA at Weatherhead? Tweet at XPLANEr, Sara Mesing, @smmeese.