New Economies, Business Models, and Teams: First Semester Overview

I survived my first semester of my part-time MS in Strategic Design + Management at Parsons while working full-time!

My overall thoughts:
Management - Three classes is tough to manage, some which require more reading than others. However, I am very good at time management and this isn’t my first rodeo at working while going to school. I worked while I was in college and consulted part-time between two cities in law school. My grades have gotten progressively better throughout the years.

Content - I was initially very skeptical about what I would be learning, but came out of the 12 weeks with my “life changed” and very impressed. High level topics like sustainability and circular economy have been applied to my own personal life.

Classes Breakdown:

  • New Economies - I was most skeptical about this class initially because I didn’t know how I would be able to apply high level ideas to my work or life. Instead, Cody Fleishflesser (my professor) was an impressive facilitator and got the class thinking each week about different ideas through videos or readings — that we would end up teaching each other with (classmates taught classes). My biggest takeaway was thinking about design and innovation where design can help dictate strategic decisions — and how I can play a role in this as a design facilitator.

  • Sustainable Business Models - This was the wildcard class for me, because I didn’t know what to expect. When I see “sustainable”, I think “eco-friendly” —but found the content of the class far more interesting. “Sustainable” was defined broader — to see what one could do with what resources were available (not just environmental). I learned how to build quick business models through lean, social, business model, transitional, among other canvases. My personal sustainability plan affected me the greatest because I tracked my financial habits and learned how to create KPI’s and measure success for myself…and use these metrics to improve.

  • Managing Creative Teams - I worked on a client team for Citi on Campus with my classmates Morgane and Shemar. Morgane has a consulting background and Shemar was a graphic designer. We got hands-on experience designing a chatbot for Citi’s recruiting team and really enjoyed the interviews, prototyping, testing, and research we conducted with real-life undergraduate and graduate students. I really enjoyed getting to learn more about how each of my teammates worked and how we could figure out how to best utilize each others’ skills to bring together our final client presentation and playbook. This project helped me realize what my skills were as a facilitator and where I myself could grow as well.