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About the course

Business Perspectives for Creative Leaders is a week-long executive business certificate program curated for design professionals in partnership with the Yale University School of Management. The program—held next on July 22-27, 2018 at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut—is taught by experienced Yale Faculty who incorporate design-related industry examples into the coursework.

The Yale Management curriculum is designed to accomplish two goals: first, to instill a general competency in meeting the challenges of management; and second, to facilitate the creative leaders’ development of their own personal career aspirations. Instead of teaching management topics in separate, single-subject courses, Yale teaches core subjects in an integrated way, providing frameworks and concepts in a richer, more relevant context.

Designed for mid-career or senior professionals, this program is ideal for designers looking to become better leaders, master strategy, navigate change, expand their network, or optimize their teams to drive growth. Averaging between 20-40 attendees a year, this experience is consistently ranked one of the most valuable experiences of participants’ careers.

Business Perspectives curriculum

A full week’s worth of thought-provoking interactive sessions will enhance the way you think about your customers, your competition, and your business strategy. Topics include:

  • Team development: Leading high-performance teams has never been more important; explore best practices identified by research
  • Customer value proposition: Understanding customers and the value proposition you must deliver drives success—but it’s not easy. How do great firms do this well?
  • Competing and cooperating: “Co-opetition” is a business strategy that goes beyond the old rules of competition and cooperation to combine the advantages of both
  • Design thinking: The intersection of business and design
  • Creating and capturing value: Novel ways to think about producing value and holding onto the biggest piece of the pie
  • Operations: From manufacturing to running a service business, optimizing the service delivery function is critical to success
  • Financial accounting: We all know the importance of understanding the numbers; these sessions actually make it fun and give you an essential advantage
  • Negotiations: How do you get the best price or the best deal? Learn how to be a master negotiator
  • Contracting: What you never thought you needed to know about creating and negotiating a good contract
  • C-level conversations: Positioning yourself with the top decision makers and understanding how they think can yield big pay-offs, if you know how
  • Intellectual property: Mastering contemporary issues in retaining the ownership of the value you create
  • Organizing for innovation: Best practices for creating and maintaining a cutting-edge business

There are six underlying modules to the AIGA Yale executive education program.

  • Strategy: Participants learn how to think critically, drawing on frameworks to better analyze the environment and make informed decisions about how to best align the organization
  • Marketing: Divided into three sessions, the first session provides a rigorous understanding of several of marketing’s key concepts: segmentation, targeting, and positioning. The second elucidates how strong brands are defined, built, and managed. The third provides insight into managing customer profitability
  • Operations: Relying on simulations, cases, and lecture, this module helps participants understand how structuring tasks impacts organizational effectiveness
  • Financial: Participants will learn to read and understand annual reports and, in the process, better communicate with those who conceive of an organization primarily as a financial instrument for generating greater cash flows
  • Legal: This module demonstrates how firms can use intellectual property protection (i.e., copyrights, patents, trademarks, and trade secrets) to differentiate their products, create barriers to entry, and generate licensing revenues
  • Leadership: Designers often have different leadership approaches and styles than their clients, and sometimes these differences in style can lead to miscommunication. In this module, diagnostic information is collected about participants’ leadership style and considered in a more systematic way how it relates to clients, with a discussion of the implications for communication.

Who should attend

Graduates of the program consistently rank it as one of the most valuable experiences of their career. Read about the experiences of past attendees. Created for design professionals who work to develop strategic responses to client challenges, attendees of “Business Perspectives for Creative Leaders” come together to discuss, network, debate, and grow. Participants take away a more complete understanding of top management perspectives and become a more productive partner in communication, branding, and product development strategies, while exploring timely topics to understand significant transformations and technological advances in the business world.

“Business Perspectives” leverages Yale’s guiding principle that executives learn best from one another in an atmosphere that stimulates teamwork and collaboration, with attendees staying in a local hotel and dining together on campus. “Studying Case Studies” provides an understanding of how to approach the course readings and discussions.

Participants are likely to view the design process as an integral part of solving complex problems, whether that involves communication, functional, or strategic design. These senior-level professionals have high-level involvement in design and strategy projects and may include:

Principals or senior creative leaders in mid- to large-size studios or in-house design departments whose counsel to clients (external or internal) goes beyond the creation of artifacts Senior managers in advertising, public relations, or other firms who retain, hire, or work closely with designers Vice presidents, directors, and managers in corporate design or communication departments

Trust the experts

Bruce Tulgan

Bruce Tulgan is internationally recognized as the leading expert on young people in the workplace and one of the leading experts on leadership and management. Bruce is a best-selling author, an adviser to business leaders all over the world, and a sought-after keynote speaker and management train...


Zoë Chance

Zoë studies persuasion and decision making , working passionately to understand how people can lead happier, healthier, more fulfilling lives. At Yale, Zoë teaches Mastering Influence and Persuasion, advises Center for Customer Insights consulting and research teams, and collaborates with Google ...


James Baron

PROFESSOR BARON’S RESEARCH INTERESTS include human resources; organizational design and behavior; social stratification and inequality; work, labor markets, and careers; economic sociology; and entrepreneurial companies. Before coming to SOM in 2006, he taught at Stanford's Graduate School of Bus...


Daylian Cain

Dr. Cain''s research focuses on "judgment and decision-making" and "behavioral business ethics." In other words, he studies the reasons why smart people do dumb things. Cain is a leading expert on conflicts of interest, especially the "perverse effects of disclosing conflicts of interest," and ho...


Norman Bartczak

Focus areas: Accounting and financial reporting, both domestic and international, financial statement analysis, corporate finance, security analysis, and the management of financial institutions Norman Bartczak  is a Lecturer in Discipline at Columbia University School of International and Publi...



K. Sudhir is James L. Frank Professor of Marketing, Private Enterprise and Management and director of the Yale China India Insights (CIIP) Program. He leads the data-driven consulting and research collaborations with a range of Fortune 500 companies at the Yale Center for Customer Insights. Sudh...


Emma SeppÄlÄ

EMMA SEPPÄLÄ, Ph.D, is Science Director of Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education and the author of The Happiness Track (HarperOne, 2016). She is Co-Director of the Yale College Emotional Intelligence Project at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, ...


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