Approximately a year ago, Stuart Constantine and I sat down across a table in a very sunny room on the 4th floor of the Institute of Design where we talked about the future of design education, graduate design education in particular. We both felt that increasingly, an advanced degree in design was as much a professional degree as an MBA. Particularly from those schools that focused on real world projects, had a more formal curriculum and the emphasis was on market forces and strategy. There are many reknowned schools of design whose graduate emphasis has been on the individual’s creativity and skills, but these are more studio based. Core77 has become of the first starting points when seeking information about further study. Till then, the schools section was essentially a list of links that anybody could add an URL to, with a short description. Having been my own end user, I, myself had found ID through Core77 when I’d come here in 2002 to explore the Design Planning program.
In our discussion that day, we agreed that advanced design education also needed to be perceived as professional program, particularly by business. And one way would be to increase the importance of choosing the right program, just like choosing the right business school. To this end, the schools section was overhauled into a searchable database, that would permit side by side comparisons of various schools, metrics similar to those used by B-schools were incorporated such as ROI, class size, placement statistics, job titles and first year salaries. After all, when an individual takes the decision to invest in a Wharton or Harvard education – a small mortgage, if you will – they are investing in the lifelong brand value and intangible benefits of an Harvard MBA as much as learning what the 4P’s of marketing were or Porter’s 5 Forces. In addition, I wrote individually to leading design schools around the world, articulating the proposed concept and requesting their participation. Now that I’m working independently, I will be available to work with schools looking to increase their visibility online, and also how best to maximise the resources offered by Core77. Since we began this project last year, the Institute of Design enrolled 4 students who pointed to Core77 as the source of their information. When you consider that our investment in this promotion was as little as $300 a month and compare to the average cost of a physical mailing, large recruiting event or roadshow, the return on investment has been exponential.