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The Art of Business and the Business of Art

12/4/2008 --

Innovative MBA/MFA dual degree prepares U-M grads for emerging jobs.

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—The Ross School of Business and the School of Art & Design have teamed up to offer a new dual graduate degree program that joins a rigorous business curriculum with an immersion in the conceptualization, development and distribution of creative work.

This four-year program awards participating graduate students two degrees upon completion of their studies—an MBA and a Master of Fine Arts. The program is a coordinated curriculum between the Ross School and the School of Art & Design, and is one of the first MBA/MFA programs in the United States.

Applications are now being accepted for fall 2009 admission into the program and are due Jan 1, 2009.

Teaching business fundamentals to art and design students and encouraging business students to investigate the context and methodologies of creative work is an uncommon but exceedingly timely hybrid of academic disciplines in a multidisciplinary world where innovation is essential.

"Market pressures and commercial realities have a profound impact on creative work in art and design," says Bryan Rogers, dean of the School of Art & Design. "Yet study in economics, marketing and accounting isn't available through standard MFA programs."

In a culture immersed in visual images, multimedia and branding, creativity is an indispensable component of business success. For business students, in addition to combining intensive training in real-life business consulting and traditional coursework, the MBA program aims at a deeper understanding of the cultural currents that shape marketplace sensibilities. The dual degree program expands business students' traditional coursework to include a study of perception, design processes and visual media culture.

"Business students must learn to be innovative in responding to challenges and creative in solving problems," says Valerie Suslow, associate dean of the Ross School. "Learning design principles and understanding the evolution of creative work gives business students insight into marketing, product design and organizational behavior."

Suslow says that design is increasingly integrated into business strategy.

"Designers benefit when they are fluent in basic business fundamentals that haven't been part of the traditional design education or career path," she says. "Graduates with the dual degree will be prepared to operate effectively within the growing number of organizations that require significant cross-functional collaboration."

The dual degree program requires one year less of study than pursuing the two degrees independently.

For more information, contact:
Bernie DeGroat, (734) 936-1015 or 647-1847,