Matt Kressy, Director, Integrated Design and Management master’s degree track
From Business Because
When you launch a new master’s degree track at a place like MIT, you get asked a lot of questions. The most common ones I get are: what do you want students to get out of the Integrated Design & Management (IDM) program? How did it get started? How does it work? And what kinds of students are you looking for?
I want to give designers a voice. Traditionally, designers are not well versed in the languages of engineering and business. They’re great at inventing and creating, but they’re generally not good at explaining how those creations could be profitable or feasible. As a result, business and engineering decisions get made without the benefit of design sensibilities and insights.
I want to empower designers to speak up and provide them with the management tools to more effectively communicate their vision. My hope is that this program helps designers demonstrate that great design can be a competitive advantage.
My latest research* has to do with how people express themselves through the brands they consume. It’s a topic that has interested me for some time.
I grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y., the daughter of immigrants in a happy but definitely modest household. I didn’t go to a fancy high school — although, living in New York, I was very aware of fashion and labels. In fact, while riding the subway to school, I was regularly exposed to conspicuous consumption — from Wall Street bankers in their custom suits, to fashionistas who sported the latest styles. I got the distinct impression that “when you got it, you flaunt it.” So when I arrived for my freshman year at Harvard — the ultimate ivory tower and in a way itself a luxury brand — I had some pretty clear expectations of how people would signal their status. I had in mind something like Dan Ackroyd’s country club-going character Winthrop in the movie Trading Places. But what I saw got me thinking about what status signals really mean. Read More »