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KCAD kicks off unique MBA - New program prepares graduate business students for innovation leadership

GRAND RAPIDS - Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University and Ferris' College of Business have partnered to establish the first Master of Business Administration degree in the nation with a concentration in Design and Innovation Management.

The new MBA responds to the increased awareness of the importance of design and innovation in business. The program uniquely combines the resources of a college of business with a college of art and design.

By embracing design thinking and collaboration the Design and Innovation Management concentration focuses on training future business leaders with the mindset and skills to build and sustain innovative and creative organizations.

"Most people understand that design does not mean making things look pretty, that it is not something added on at the end of the process," said KCAD President Oliver Evans. "People increasingly understand that design involves how people create the world around them, how they interact with that world and how they behave in that world."

Evans cited William Boras, the chair of Ferris' Management department and chair of the MBA program, for realizing the importance of innovation, design and creative management in business, and also for understanding the importance of bringing business and design people together.

An interdisciplinary faculty of working professionals and industry experts will teach the courses in a multidisciplinary, holistic and method-based approach.

"You take the strengths of Kendall, with their understanding of design concepts, and merge it with the cutting-edge, technologically-based education that Ferris provides, and you provide an exciting and unique learning opportunity for students," noted Ferris President David L. Eisler.

The program is committed to flexibility and accessibility for students, with courses offered in a mixed-delivery format that combines distance learning through the Internet with weekend classroom time.

"The material is designed so students can access it online as well as during the weekend experience," said Evans. "The courses are designed so that students, once they enter the sequence, will be able to complete the entire program in an efficient manner."

An advisory board of senior-level executives will help guide the new program. Board members include John G. Baylis, senior executive administrator, Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing of North America; Sean Lindy, senior manager, global innovation and strategy development, Whirlpool Corporation; Dennis W. Nickels, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP, West Michigan; Michele Serbenski, executive director, corporate effectiveness and customer satisfaction, Bronson Healthcare Group; and Paul K. Smith, vice president, business groups and global work systems, Haworth, Inc.

The inaugural class of students began their studies in January with the next start date for the first class in the sequence starting in May. The four course Design and Innovation Management concentration may be completed as a post-baccalaureate certificate or concentration as part of the MBA.

For more information on the MBA with a concentration in Design and Innovation Management, contact the College of Business Graduate Programs at (231) 591-2168 or Kendall Admissions at (616) 451-2787, extension 1113.