In 2008, AIGA and the Yale School of Management partnered to launch an executive program focused on business theory and practice for seasoned designers, creative and art directors, design managers, strategists, and more. For more than 10 years, participants have gained practical insights and inspiring perspectives, as well as a full-fledged network of colleagues working at the forefront of the design industry.
Business Perspectives for Creative Leaders
July 21 - July 26, 2019
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Registration will close once the program reaches capacity.
Counts towards 5 Certificate of Excellence in Global Business credit days.
The Business Perspectives for Creative Leaders 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. The program is taught by experienced Yale Faculty who incorporate design-related industry examples into the coursework.
In one week, participants learn to apply design thinking in business, use strategic thinking to tackle opportunities, drive innovation for growth, and make high-impact marketing decisions based on behavioral economics insights. They develop soft skills to better influence, persuade, and negotiate with colleagues and clients. In addition, they acquire practical knowledge about intellectual property law, principles of entrepreneurship relevant to large organizations and to start-ups, and basic managerial accounting to understand the language of finance.
Graduates have come from some of the most highly regarded firms in the industry, such as Google, Adobe, Microsoft, Nickelodeon, and MTV. The result: a distinctive Executive Education program that brings together the brightest minds in the industry with the unparalleled resources and expertise of Yale University. Participants leave with connection to this powerful network and the opportunity to return for a BPCL reunion event, Alumni Perspectives. The program is taught on campus at Yale SOM. A certificate of participation is awarded to participants upon program completion.
Who should attend
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.
Program fees cover the costs of tuition, course materials, private on-campus accommodations at The Study (a local boutique hotel), transportation between the hotel and class, and most meals.
How to Apply
Interested applicants will need to submit:
- A current résumé
- A statement of intent explaining why you are applying to this program, how your experience has prepared you to enter this program, and how it will benefit you professionally.
Both documents can be uploaded as either a PDF or word document to the application form. Professional achievement and organizational responsibility are the main criteria for admission. There are no previous formal education requirements for admission. Acceptance is subject to the approval of Yale faculty members and AIGA leaders. Applications are reviewed in the order they are received, and you can expect to be notified within 1-2 weeks from submitting a completed application.
If you have any questions about applying, please contact Jenna Pettit.
Upon acceptence a prompt for payment information will be sent. You must select invoice or credit card. If you select invoice, you will still have the option to pay by credit card later. Course materials are distributed once payment is received in full, and we recommend completing some pre-work before attending to get the most benefit from the experience.
Tuition benefits are available for those from nonprofits or who are veterans. For more information about veteran financial aid options and eligibility please visit the Executive Education Veteran Benefits page. An additional 15-percent group rate is available to two or more people applying from the same company at the same time. Applications must be received on the same day to be reviewed together for the discount. There are no scholarship opportunities for this program. AIGA pays Yale School of Management for each attendee under contract.
Curated for design professionals in partnership with the Yale's School of Management, this sample schedule provides an overview of the topics covered in our week-long executive business certificate program. Session topics and teachers are subject to change.
Faculty & Practioners
Each year we attract the very best instructors and continually refine the curriculum based on feedback from prior participants. The full faculty listing for the program from last year are:
Ian Ayres is a lawyer and an economist. He is the William K. Townsend Professor of Law at Yale Law School and a Professor at Yale’s School of Management. Professor Ayres has been a columnist for Forbes magazine, a commentator on public radio’s Marketplace, and a contributor to the New York Times' Freakonomics blog. He has served as the editor of the Journal of Law, Economics and Organization.
Professor Ayres clerked for the Honorable James K. Logan of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. He has previously taught at Harvard, Illinois, Northwestern, Stanford, and Virginia law schools. Professor Ayres has published eleven books and more than 100 articles on a wide range of topics. In 2007, he published Super Crunchers: Why Thinking-By-Numbers Is the New Way to Be Smart. His latest book is Carrots and Sticks: Unlock the Power of Incentives to Get Things Done. In 2010, he also published Lifecyle Investing (with Barry Nalebuff). He is also author of Straightforward: How to Mobilize Heterosexual Support for Gay Rights (Princeton University Press 2005) (with Jennifer Gerarda Brown); Optional Law: The Structure of Legal Entitlements (University of Chicago Press 2005); Insincere Promises: The Law of Misrepresented Intent (Yale University Press 2005) (with Gregory Klass); and Why Not? How to Use Everyday Ingenuity to Solve Problems Big and Small (Harvard Business School Press 2003) (with Barry Nalebuff). He received his B.A. (majoring in Russian studies and economics) and J.D. from Yale and his Ph.D. in economics from M.I.T.
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 Business from 1982-2006. At Stanford, he taught the MBA core course, Human Resource Management. He was co-director of the Stanford Project on Emerging Companies (SPEC), a large-scale longitudinal study of the organizational design, human resource management practices, and financial and non-financial performance measures of entrepreneurial firms in Silicon Valley. Papers based on the project appeared in leading disciplinary journals, and an overview of the project in California Management Review won the 2003 Accenture Award for making “the most important contribution to improving the practice of management.”
He is the author, with Stanford economist David M. Kreps, of a textbook, Strategic Human Resources: Frameworks for General Managers (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.). Baron is also a regular contributor to leading sociology and organization journals, such as the American Sociological Review and Administrative Science Quarterly. His research has also been published in influential journals in economics and social psychology.
Norman Bartczak, is the founder (in 1985) of Financial Statement Investigation, Inc., a Boston-based company specializing in designing, developing and delivering executive education seminars. Dr. Bartczak is also a registered investment advisor and a founding partner (in 2002) of West End Advisors LLC (www.wea-llc.biz), a New York-based registered investment advisory firm which provides asset managers, financial advisors, and institutional investors with unique investment funds, trading advice, and portfolio analysis and risk assessment.
Dr. Bartczak is a Lecturer in Discipline and full-time faculty member teaching at three of Columbia University’s graduate schools. He teaches in the MBA and EMBA programs at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business (since 1993). In 2000, he began teaching at the Columbia University Law School where he continues to instruct. He also teaches (since 2011) at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). Since 2008, Dr. Bartczak has been teaching in Yale University’s School of Management Executive Education Programs as well as a biannual program in accounting and finance at the University of Navarra in Spain.
Professor Bartczak is the author or co-author of over 55 case studies at Harvard Business School and the author of more than 120 non-HBS case studies. He has written articles for both practitioner-oriented publications, Harvard Business Review, and academic journals, The Journal of Accounting Research.
In 2003, Professor Bartczak received The Margaret Chandler Memorial Award for Commitment to Excellence from Columbia Business School’s Executive MBA Programs graduating class in recognition of his contribution to the class. The award honors the high standards set by the late Professor Margaret K. Chandler. In 2010, Dr. Bartczak received the Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence at Columbia Business School.
Senior Lecturer in Negotiations and Ethics
Daylian Cain, is a tenure-track professor at the Yale School of Management. A former Canada Science Scholar, Dr. Cain holds a PhD and three master’s degrees, and served as the Russell Sage Fellow of Behavioral Economics at Harvard.
A respected researcher, Dr. Cain has also won teaching awards at three universities (UNC-Chapel Hill, Carnegie Mellon, Yale), and was honored with a national “Master Teacher” award in 2012. He is a leading speaker on topics of C-suite decision making, such as negotiations, leadership, strategy, and governance–or, as he puts it, “why smart people do dumb things.”
Yale SOM Faculty, Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior
Rodrigo Canales, researches the role of institutions in entrepreneurship and economic development. Specifically, Canales’ work seeks to understand how individuals purposefully enact organizational and institutional change. In particular, Rodrigo explores how individuals’ backgrounds, professional identities, and organizational positions affect how they relate to existing structures and the strategies they pursue to change them.
His work builds on the different traditions of institutional theory and contributes to a deeper understanding of the mechanisms that allow institutions to operate and change. Canales has done work in entrepreneurial finance and microfinance and is conducting research in the institutional complexities of renewable energy and the institutional implications of the Mexican war on drugs. Rodrigo teaches the Innovator Perspective at Yale School of Management; he sits in the steering committee of the Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values at MIT and he advises several startups in Mexico that seek to improve the financing environment for small firms.
Yale SOM Faculty, Assistant Professor of Marketing
Zoë Chance studies and teaches persuasion, focusing on tiny tweaks that help people lead richer, healthier, happier lives. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Economist, Scientific American, and Psychology Today.
Turning knowledge into practice is a passion. Her research findings have been published in top academic journals like Proceedings of the National Academy of Science and in popular media like Harvard Business Review. She speaks in organizations and conferences around the world including TEDx, and her 4 Ps Framework for Behavior Change is the foundation for Google’s global food guidelines, helping 60,000 people make healthier choices every day. Mastering Influence and Persuasion, her MBA elective, is one of the most sought-after courses at Yale School of Management.
Some career highlights prior to her engagement at Yale include managing a $200 million segment of Barbie, developing an executive education leadership program at Harvard, acting on stage and film, and starting a small business. She received a doctorate from Harvard, MBA from the University of Southern California, and bachelor’s degree from Haverford College. These days her favorite hobby is authoring her first book, Bad Influence.
Yale SOM Faculty, Professor of Organizational Behavior
Professor King’s research examines network-based innovation and learning dynamics within the healthcare sector. Her current work analyzes factors associated with the adoption, diffusion, and utilization of mental health medications. By exploiting spatial and temporal variation in diagnosis and treatment decisions, her work establishes the key role that patient and provider networks play in explaining phenomena ranging from the precipitous rise in autism diagnoses to the rapid expansion of the market for mental health medications. King’s research has been featured in journals such as American Sociological Review, American Journal of Sociology, and Administrative Science Quarterly.
Co-Director of the Yale College Emotional Intelligence Project
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 also Co-Director of the Yale College Emotional Intelligence Project at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and a Lecturer at Yale College where she teaches The Psychology of Happiness. She consults with Fortune 500 leaders and employees on building a positive organization and teaches in the Yale School of Management’s Executive Education program. She has spoken at TedX Sacramento, TEDx Hayward, and companies like Google, Apple, Facebook, Bain & Co, Ernst & Young, and a United States Congressional Hearing. She is a frequent contributor to Harvard Business Review, Psychology Today, Huffington Post, and Scientific American Mind.
K. Sudhir's research focuses on gaining market insights by analyzing consumer and firm actions through econometric modeling. As director of the China India Insights Program, he also specializes in research on consumers in emerging markets. He has consulted for Fortune 500 U.S. firms and Indian firms across many industries such as technology, financial services, entertainment, and retailing, specializing in analyzing their internal data to obtain actionable market insights. He leads the data-driven academic-industry research partnerships at the Yale Center for Customer Insights (YCCI).
Professor Sudhir’s research has been honored with numerous best paper awards across all major quantitative marketing journals. Two of his papers were nominated among the top ten papers published in the last ten years in Marketing Science and Management Science for their Long-Term Impact over three consecutive years from 2009-2011. He has received the Little and Bass Best Paper Awards at Marketing Science and the Lehmann Award at the Journal of Marketing Research; and honorable mentions for the Wittink Award in Quantitative Marketing and Economics and Best Paper Award in International Journal of Research in Marketing. He has also been a finalist for the Paul Green Award at the Journal of Marketing Research.
He currently serves as Senior Editor at Marketing Science. Prior to accepting the Senior Editor position, he served as an Associate Editor at Journal of Marketing Research, Management Science, and Quantitative Marketing and Economics. He was also on the editorial boards of the Journal of Marketing, and the Journal of Retailing.
Founder, RainmakerThinking, Inc.
Bruce Tulgan is the founder of RainmakerThinking, Inc., a research, training, and consulting firm in New Haven, Connecticut. He is internationally recognized as one of the foremost experts on leadership and performance management in the workplace.
Bruce is the author or co-author of 20 books, including his best-selling It’s Okay to Be the Boss, the classic Managing Generation X, his popular Not Everyone Gets a Trophy: How to Manage the Millennials, and The 27 Challenges Managers Face: Step-by-step Solutions to (Nearly) All of Your Management Problems. His most recent book is Bridging the Soft Skills Gap: How to Teach the Missing Basics to Today’s Young Talent.
Bruce’s work has been the subject of thousands of news stories around the world and he has written for The New York Times, USA Today, Training Magazine, HR Magazine, and The Harvard Business Review. Bruce also lectures regularly at business schools. Bruce holds a sixth degree black belt in Uechi-Ryu Karate, making him a Master in that style. His wife Debby Applegate won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for her book The Most Famous Man in America, about the 19th century minister Henry Ward Beecher.
Yale SOM Faculty, Professor of Organizational Behavior
Amy Wrzesniewski is Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Yale School of Management. She earned her BA from the University of Pennsylvania, where she graduated magna cum laude with an honors degree in psychology.
She received her PhD and MA degrees in organizational psychology from the University of Michigan.
She has won the IBM Faculty Award for her research, as well as awards for her undergraduate, graduate, and executive teaching. Her research on the meaning of work has been published in a wide range of top academic journals and highlighted in several best-selling books and popular press outlets, including Time, BusinessWeek, Harvard Business Review, U.S. News and World Report, The New York Times, and The Economist, as well as bestselling books such as Give and Take by Adam Grant, Drive by Daniel Pink, The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor, Authentic Happiness by Martin Seligman, and The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler.
Amy has engaged in research projects with several organizations, including IBM, Google, The United States Military Academy at West Point, the University of Michigan Hospital System, Ness Technologies, and Burt's Bees. Her current research involves studying how employees change the designs of their jobs to shape the meaning of their work as well as the implications of seeing work as a job, career, or calling for individuals and organizations.
The Business Perspectives for Creative Leaders course with AIGA has consistently been a life-changing experience for design professionals. Hear what some of our graduates had to say:
“If you’re a designer who wants to understand how business works—for both you and your clients—this one week will change your life.” —Michael Bierut, Pentagram Design
“This program was just perfect. I’ve made connections that will last a lifetime and useful skills I’ve already applied to my day-to-day professional life.” —John Militello, Google
“I found the experience one of the most fulfilling and meaningful experiences of my professional and academic career.” —Debbie Millman, Sterling Brands
“This is by far the most relevant and useful continuing education program I’ve ever taken. The professors were hand selected and their material was tailored specifically for our class.” —Jill Spaeth, Citizen Creative
“This was truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn from and be surrounded by some of the most brilliant, interesting and entertaining minds around. Thank you for a phenomenal experience.” —Tammy Taylor, Wells Fargo
“Go! It’s five intense days that’ll improve the way you think and work for the rest of your career; you’ll feel smarter but leave wanting more. It’s mind-opening concepts and everyday applications—plus great people to learn with and from. And it’s essential information that you didn’t know you needed—and now can’t do without.” —Laurie Churchman, University of Pennsylvania
“Attending the program literally changed my view of the relationship of design and business. It was one of the best investments I have made in my career and the new friendships are beyond measure.” —Ann Willoughby, Willoughby Design Group
“It's a career changer. I came away with so much that will influence my thinking from here on out.” —Jason Ackley, Director, Design, Marketing Services, Morningstar Inc.
“The program provided me with business-centric points of view and tools to help me think about design’s relationship to other disciplines.” —Randy J. Hunt, Creative Director, Etsy, Inc.
“The ROI for this program will benefit our firm and clients for years to come. Learning how to understand fundamentals of accounting, negotiations, operations, and compliance may not sound creative—but through the lens of design the possibilities are exponential.” —Zack Shubkagel, Willoughby Design Group
“I came away with a much deeper understanding of business concepts, strategic planning, competitive strategy, and finance. It’s hard to know what the best part was—the faculty, the fascinating exchange of ideas, the other attendees, the staff—the whole experience was tremendously rewarding. I’d go every year if I could.” —Janet DeDonato, Methodologie
"Creative leaders will walk away inspired and highly educated on significant business tools and principles. The lectures blended hands-on activities, lively class participation, and practical case studies.” —Stephen Gay, Innovation Catalyst, Design Manager & Strategist, Intuit
“This week was more than worth the time and money. I came back energized, with new ideas about how to think about our business and our clients’ businesses. Bring an open mind and don’t worry if you feel like you don’t know what to expect.” —James Bradley, Chase Design Group
“This experience opened my eyes to untapped opportunities and solid ‘design thinking’ solutions to the challenges of bringing citizen-centered design into a large government bureaucracy-the IRS.” —John Jacobin, Internal Revenue Service
“Terrific. The instruction was top-notch. The topics were on target and directly applicable to our roles in the design world. And best of all my colleagues in the program were a phenomenal group of people.” —Julie Baher, Citrix Systems
“It was so closely tailored to the challenges and opportunities of creative professionals, the professors were outstanding and engaging, and the classmates were an incredible bunch of talented, passionate people.”—Emily Iles, Design Director, Pelopidas LLC
From application to graduation: the Business Perspectives experience from recent alumni
From left: Alia Hassan of Blue State Digital, 2014 graduate; Randy J. Hunt of Artsy, 2014 graduate; Stacey Fatica of Arcadia Power, 2015 graduate
There's a lot of thinking that goes into the decision to attend our Yale business certification. That's why we sat down with three recent alumni to ask them about why they applied, their program experience, and advice for future attendees.
What inspired you to consider the Yale business certification program?
Alia Hassan: I've been interested in the intersection of creativity and business for quite some time. In fact, it's why I ended up pursuing an interdisciplinary undergraduate degree—Bachelor of Humanities and Arts from Carnegie Mellon University, and I studied communication design at the School of Design and policy and management at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. I began my career as a designer and became the global director of design at Blue State Digital. As such, my responsibilities at work were becoming increasingly managerial and business-oriented, which I enjoyed and wanted to lean into.
Randy J. Hunt: I was looking to connect with other design leaders, to learn about their challenges and how they've addressed them. I figured an academic environment would be a place to find like-minded people looking to share and learn. Turns out, that was true. And learning together is a great way to bond.
Stacey Fatica: I found myself being involved in more and more executive-level meetings, and I needed to make the case for how design was relevant to long-term businesses goals. Yale enabled me to build that case and present it to key stakeholders.
Did you have any fears before registering?
Randy: Can I get the pre-work done? That was really the biggest concern in advance. Turned out it was really fun, though time-consuming. The pre-work was critical. If I hadn't done it, I would have been lacking context for several of the classes. They built on the pre-work and referred to the material in the case study readings.
Was anything challenging about the program?
Alia: Balancing thorough preparation for each session in order to get the most out of them with taking time to get to know my colleagues on a personal and professional level.
Did anything surprise you?
Stacey: I walked away from Yale with multiple resources—but the most important was a strong network of passionate design professionals that understands the value of design, an integral part of business.
Can you remember a favorite learning moment?
Alia: Going back to my interest in the intersection of creativity and business, I had always envisioned myself studying design during college, working in the field of design, and eventually expanding my toolkit by getting an M.B.A. Interests and plans change over time, but the program at Yale confirmed that that's actually still something I wanted to pursue. So I did! I graduated with an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School a couple of years after the program at Yale.
Randy: The operations workshop made me rethink how to approach processes and systems.
Stacey: Bruce Tulgan's class on managing people from different generations was one of my favorite lectures at Yale. I was able to quickly take away frameworks for engaging, developing, and retaining my younger employees. His books “Not Everyone Gets A Trophy” and “The 27 Challenges Managers Face” have been a go-to resource ever since.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about attending this program?
Alia: The program is a big time, energy, and financial commitment. Be clear on what you're trying to get out of the program. Do you want to learn more about a specific topic? Form new connections with people in areas of specialization that differ from yours? Get a sense of whether you're actually interested in the business side of design in order to influence where you focus your energy back at work? Then sketch out a rough plan of how you might set yourself up to succeed in pursuing that goal at Yale. The program goes by really quickly, so this is one way to help make the most of it!
Randy: Do the pre-work. It was really fun and enjoyable to engage with, and that allowed me to fully participate in the class discussions.
Stacey: The Yale BPCL program is a bit pricey but 100 percent worth the investment in my career.
Business Perspectives for Creative Leaders is back July 21–26, 2019. Deadline for applications is June 29. Apply today.
Graduates of the Business Perspectives for Creative Leaders program consistently rank it as one of the most valuable experiences in their professional development. In addition to accessing the brightest minds in business theory and practice, graduates leave with a full-fledged network of colleagues working at the forefront of the design industry.