International Design Business Management

The International Design Business Management (IDBM) Master’s Programme is a joint offering between Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, School of Business and School of Science.

The IDBM programme has an overarching objective of enabling students to act as future professionals in global business development through design and technology. These multidisciplinary, cross-cultural, global and future-oriented undertakings are complex and require highly developed systemic competences from those operating in these contexts. This includes diffusion of skills, knowledge and understanding across disciplinary borders, and going beyond instrumental and interpersonal competences. The objective is therefore for learners to gain a multi- and interdisciplinary understanding of the globalized context, while being able to acknowledge the value and apply creatively the tools, practices and mental models of other professions in joint undertakings.

To diffuse systemic thinking and related skills and knowledge within the programme, two specific key issues have been taken up in a comprehensive manner: coherence and relevance. In order to achieve coherence across the platform in systemic competence development, five major dimensions are used as the background of the core curriculum development; tools, ecosystems, management, processes and organizational arrangements. To address the relevance of the programme, professional orientation tracks have been identified that are highly relevant to the IDBM programme: research, management, consulting, and entrepreneurship.

One of the important aspects of the programme is its global and international approach, which is based on the interaction of individuals beyond national and cultural groups. On the practical level the global aspect refers to the continuous development of international networks through student selection, industry cooperation, research activities and study exchange. Additionally, students of IDBM master’s programme are offered an opportunity to extend their studies to a double degree with ESADE Business School in Barcelona Spain.

 Learning goals

Graduates of the IDBM programme will be able to manage and lead initiatives and other individuals in order to undertake new business ventures within global environments. This is seen to include:

  • Gaining an understanding of the systemic nature of global issues and the impact of globalization;
  • Being able to arrive at creative, successful and cross-cutting solutions within complex, ambiguous and demanding problem settings and environments, both independently and in multidisciplinary teams through creating and applying new knowledge within and in between domains;
  • Mastering the professional specialized concepts, applications and knowledge linked to their own business, design or technology background that are relevant to global business development;
  • Being able to evaluate the action of self and of teams and being responsible for the professional development of others, while demonstrating abilities to accumulate personal expertise and knowledge; and
  • Mastering excellence in written, visual and oral communication skills within and external to the professional sphere. 
Programme director

Professor Anne Stenros, Director of the IDBM Programme

Additional information

IDBM programme website

Degree requirements 120 ECTS

1. Programme studies 84 ECTS


Creative Teamwork

5 cr



Master’s Thesis

30 cr



Master’s Thesis Seminar

6 cr

I, IV 


Maturity Test

0 cr

Business module (School of Business) 13 ECTS


Design Business Management 1)

5 cr



IDBM Special Project

3 cr



IDBM Industry Project (Business)

5 cr


1) Replaces course 26E04400 International Design Business Management 5 cr

Design module (School of Arts, Design and Architecture) 15 ECTS


Creative Leadership

5 cr



Integrated Design Management

5 cr



IDBM Industry Project (Design)

5 cr

Technology module (School of Science) 15 ECTS


Interdisciplinary Product Development

5 cr



Innovation Management 2)

5 cr



IDBM Industry Project (Technology)

5 cr


2) Replaces course TU-E5000 Innovation and Project Management 5 cr

2. Minor studies 24 cr

Due to the wide multidisciplinary nature of the programme, no minor studies structure is proposed. Students should choose a minor that compliments their academic profile. 

Minor Studies are chosen from relevant business school disciplines, from other study modules at Aalto University or other available minor studies programmes, for instance, based on studies in a foreign university as an exchange student.   Students must complete the minor studies module to complete the degree.

3. Electives 12 cr

Course scheduling

The IDBM master’s programme is scheduled over a two-year period. The structure requires full time attendance for the first year, with highly intensive and interactive course structures. The second year studies enable exchange programmes and distance work.

Year 1
First year studies include the compulsory key modules of the IDBM master’s degree (Creative Teamwork and the Business, Design and Technology modules). Additionally students are recommended to take Elective studies to the extent to which they fit to the study schedules of the compulsory key courses.

Year 2
Second year studies include elective and minor studies as well as possible complementary courses (20-30 cr) and the master’s thesis (30 cr).

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