Design to Business - Phoenix Designer about his MBA at Mannheim Business School
David Samuel Weiskopf, Senior Designer, has been working in the product design department at Phoenix Design since 2017. Since September last year, he has additionally started a Master of Business Administration at Mannheim Business School to combine creative and business skills. In a short interview, we wanted to know his motivations for this additional qualification.
The part-time program takes place every two months for one week and comprises a total of 12 modules in which different focuses in the area of leadership and business skills are taught. In a short interview, we wanted to know his motivations for this additional qualification.
1. Phoenix: What personally motivated you to start an MBA? Where did this motivation come from?
DW: Business aspects are becoming more and more important in the field of design. We as designers work with our clients at all levels - from executive level to executive management - we need a holistic picture and a deeper understanding of business structures and processes.
The MBA in Mannheim, with a focus on general management and leadership, gives me a "skillset" that can be applied not only theoretically but also practically in working with our clients and partners.
As for my motivation, I would clearly say that it is a unique experience to do an MBA and additionally I get the opportunities to lift my perspectives as a creative into an economic-global context - here a thank you to my fellow students who contribute a big part to this through their personal experience and motivation.
2. Phoenix: Do you already see it as an advantage for your work at Phoenix Design? Have you already been able to apply your new knowledge?
DW: I have found that it is a development process that manifests itself step by step. Because of the way my studies are structured (one week in Mannheim every 2 months), I notice that after each so-called "core module" I come to Phoenix Design with new knowledge and skills, and I can use them more and more consciously and purposefully.
Even if it is not directly required in every project, these newly acquired skills help me to read and better understand the overall context.
3. Phoenix: Why do you think the connection between design and business is important?
DW: As briefly mentioned before, as designers we work in all levels of a company, so it's not far-fetched that as a designer it's beneficial to build business understanding and also understand process to connect context. What question I would like to bring in here again is, how do you connect business and design? So the reverse order. In Mannheim, I would describe myself as an exotic. In our semester there are 52 extraordinary people from different parts of the world and with different cultural backgrounds, of which only three people have a design background, including me. Now, to get back to the point of my question, I would like to briefly talk about the process in Mannheim. Through the intensive teamwork, I experience how difficult it can be for people who are not in the creative field to generate innovation and new approaches to solutions and to link subject areas holistically. This is what I see as the greatest advantage for me as a designer: to link subject areas in a new way through the creative approach and to lift them into a business context with my newly acquired knowledge.
4. Phoenix: What is the reaction from the outside when you mention studying in combination with your profession as a designer?
DW: So far, I have received only positive reactions and affirmation to my part-time MBA education. The appreciation is partly about the double burden of combining job and education and partly about the commitment to develop myself further in a complementary direction to design. However, as I mentioned earlier, it is a logical step in my eyes and will not have the "exotic status" in the future that it has today. In my opinion, it becomes exciting when business and design meet in feasibility and innovation: When we as Phoenix Design are at the starting point of a transformation with our customers and partners, dare to take the step into a new direction together and can act as a guide with our skills, which is based on trust and professionalism!
Franziska Warnke Communication Manager
M +49 173 7294632