MSc Design Business Creation.

Develop your portfolio of skills to go from designer to business leader

We are looking for highly-motivated, visually-literate entrepreneurs. Sound like you? We want to make you effective in running and building your own creative business or enterprise. By bringing together industry and academic expertise and sharing practical and theoretical insights we will help you gain the specialist knowledge and strategic skills necessary to create and manage a successful and sustainable design-based business.

Course fees 2019-2020 academic year
Home & EU students: £9,300 per annum
International (non EU) students : £12,750 per annum

Duration One year, full-time

Start date October

Entry Requirements.

Applicants will normally have a minimum of a 2:2 Honours degree in a related discipline, but consideration may be given to applicants with a 2:2 Honours degree in any subject, as long as they have completed relevant work experience or can demonstrate strong insight into the area of study.

Students whose first language is not English will be required to achieve IELTS 6 or above with no less than Band 6 in any area, or equivalent.

Course Content.

Unique. It’s what we’re all looking for. Products and services which speak to us as an individual and help us attain the lifestyle we aspire to. This is where successful design businesses flourish. Whether that’s a graphic design agency, a photography studio or a designer boutique. All require the creative skills, drive and determination to build a thriving, stand-out business in an ever-expanding international market.

This prestigious programme brings together design expertise and the York Business School so that whether you are a designer-maker, a buyer, a photographer or a stylist, you can channel your creative talents and expand your range of skills ready to establish your own business.

By cultivating creative design thinking processes and building your entrepreneurial skills we will help you think strategically and innovatively about business operations. Across the increasingly competitive platforms now available for selling, we will put a spotlight on today’s digitally-focused and globally interlinked markets.

We will assist you in developing an in-depth and critical understanding of the dimensions, processes, opportunities and challenges of design business creation, helping you explore best practice in areas such as new venture idea generation, legal establishment and protection, business-funding and business planning.

The Boohoo Scholarship.

Have you got a big idea for your Business? Is it commercial, original and socially responsible? Does it meet people’s needs and meet the needs of our planet? If the answer is YES then we have an exciting new opportunity for you.

Carol Kane, founder of and York St John University honorary graduate has partnered with us to offer ambitious entrepreneurs the chance for fully-funded places on our Business MSc courses in London. With the financial support this opportunity offers you will be in the perfect position to gain industry experience receive expert advice to plan and launch your brilliant business idea.

Find out more.

Course Structure.

The passion you have for design will be channelled through a series of academic disciplines and exercises. We offer a supportive platform for critical reflection, through the application of academic theories to work-led situations, connecting both theory and practice. We will use a range of assessment methods to mirror organisational-based activities, giving insight into the practical running of a design-led business.

Within this innovative curriculum we will provide you with a career-focused overview of the design sector. Including the opportunity to gain additional industry experience and engage in project work, which is an essential part of the programme. We’re dedicated to enhancing your employability, through participation in a wide range of teaching and learning experiences. You will benefit from our industry connections and extensive expertise, knowledge, skills and understanding of the design sector.

We will give you the potential to develop and engage with a network of industry experts and professionals in your field of study. There will be opportunities to engage in placements, business shadowing, work on consultancy projects and live business research commissions. Class-free Fridays will allow you to have the time to gain this invaluable industry experience.

We will offer chances for participation in active and supportive forums, drawing on your practical expertise and sharing it with your peers.  We will assist you in enhancing and developing your own skillset to prepare you for real-world scenarios in design. This will help you to develop the specialist knowledge and strategic skills necessary to create and manage a sustainable design business.


All modules are compulsory:

Developing A Strategic Business Proposition And Plan | 15 Credits

Exploring the application of management processes for developing and defining a new business concept is central to this module, including market analysis, competitor performance analysis and considering the role of due diligence. You will critically examine the process for making strategic choices, as well as exploring and analysing approaches and techniques used in strategic business and service planning.

The components within the strategic business planning process will be considered. Allowing you to develop an understanding of the purpose and procedures in the planning process and to be able to plan and execute action steps which are critical to the development and execution of an effective business plan. This module will culminate in the creation of a business plan for a new entity.

Marketing And Brand Strategy For New Businesses | 15 Credits

Marketing communications are an extremely important aspect of a company’s strategic marketing activities and form an essential toolkit which businesses need to communicate with their key stakeholders

Explore how various promotional efforts can be integrated into strategic management and marketing plans in order to build successful brands. This module allows you to develop the skills to devise a full marketing communications plan and understand how to put theory into practice in the fast-paced and ever-evolving marketplace.

Through an examination of the importance of brand and brand storytelling, within a small business framework, this module considers the requirements and branding expectations of customers and end-users. This module will allow you to appraise the impact which the rise of digital technology has had upon traditional marketing and corporate communication practices, whilst allowing you to develop appropriate digital marketing and communication plans which utilise a range of digital technologies and techniques.

Devising A Product And/Or Service And Distribution Strategy | 15 Credits

Develop an understanding of new product development and the factors critical for new product success. This includes the development of a supplier strategy, brand proposition, managing product safety and legislative controls. You will develop an understanding of product and service distribution through examining supply networks, supply chains and distribution management. Exploring logistic requirements and restrictions, export processes, controls and registration requirements.

The Creative Entrepreneur | 15 Credits

There is increasing awareness in the business world that design has an important role in successfully bringing ideas to market. The importance of design is often underestimated, but good design can bring significant business benefits. Consider Apple or Dyson, business organisations which actively use design to create innovative products and, more importantly, to create a unique selling point of superior design which is intrinsic to the brand’s identity. Design is one of a number of disciplines which ensures creative concepts fulfil their optimal potential in a business context.

As well as enhancing products, services and brands for customers, design can improve business performance through a whole range of factors from strategic planning, development, marketing, research and design-led thinking. Whether you are a design freelancer, a small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) or a corporate company, there are key design processes which significantly contribute towards the success of businesses operating in the modern global economy.

In today’s rapidly evolving global market, businesses are looking to harness the power of creativity through leaders who understand the value and positioning of design in an organisation and who can project manage creative processes successfully. You will consider how to manage the demands of creatively planning for success and highlight where predictions for success or failure can be identified throughout this process.

Industry Experience | 15 Credits

This module is an essential and distinguishing part of the preparation for your successful employment in industry or the management of your own business. As a future industry specialist or business owner, it is crucial that you experience industry dynamics in an environment where you can empirically apply theoretical knowledge. Understanding the significance of relationship building and industry connectedness will be crucial for your success in the workplace.

The module aims to provide opportunities for you to:

  • Demonstrate your planning, research and time management skills
  • Develop appropriate key skills needed for effective participation in a professional setting, including personal organisation, communication and target-setting
  • Reflect on the theoretical knowledge and understanding and apply this in practice
  • Critically assess the professional organisational environment, summarising best practices and improvement opportunities
  • Develop a range of relevant self-presentation skills which will support your professional aspirations
  • Complete subject-specific industry project

Establishing A Financial Framework | 15 Credits

Mastering accounting and finance skills is essential for your business to succeed. This module intends to develop your critical appreciation of financial planning, particularly in supporting the development of a new business. You will develop an understanding of accounting techniques, the formal requirements regarding financial reporting for new and small businesses and financial modelling. Developing the relevant skills to interpret financial information as a business owner or manager, you will consider different sources of finance available relevant to your business as well as preparing for short and long-term financial planning and control.

Creative Thinking For Design Innovation | 15 Credits

Within the creative industries there is a breaking down of boundaries between disciplines to address new challenges which are increasingly more complex and multi-faceted. New, emerging businesses are now seeking creative practitioners with a diverse range of skills to deliver their solutions. In order to become more effective as a business, a collaborative approach is necessary to enable an interdisciplinary exchange of both knowledge and practices within teams to deliver a more focused, innovative output.

Design thinking is a design discipline where design methodologies are applied to a business in order to achieve an optimal customer experience and process. From a broader perspective, it is an opportunity to create new services and enhance existing ones by making them more user-friendly, unique and efficient for end users and stakeholders.

This area helps to provide a holistic way for a business to gain a comprehensive understanding of their customer needs and establishing design principles which help deliver a superior service or product in a competitive marketplace. Adopting new ways of creatively thinking will benefit any organisation in promoting innovation and its contribution towards the future economy.

Future Trends In Design | 15 Credits

In today’s rapidly evolving business environment, leaders are challenged with making important decisions crucial to the survival of their existing business models. One of the key elements of any successful business is being able to envisage new ideas to ensure that products, systems and services stay fresh. Looking ahead, disruptive technologies are continually challenging established business models and transforming the way we live and work, and the global economy itself.

Disruption within manufacturing technologies has seen a rapid increase in recent years, through both the quantity and capability of robots within the factory environment as well as in the workplace. The industrial use of 3D printing, in addition to the increasingly commonplace use of both augmented and virtual realities, has moved these technologies from the gaming industry to the factory floor. It is becoming increasingly apparent that artificial intelligence is more prevalent at all levels of business and that this relentless pace of automation is set to continue.

Designers are therefore radically rethinking new approaches towards business models. What if you could redesign everything? In order to create a sustainable, resilient and long-lasting effect businesses need to re-evaluate their linear approach of operating (the traditional make, use, dispose model). Never has there been a more significant time for businesses to build the framework of an economy which is restorative and regenerative by design.

Business Creation Capstone Project | 60 Credits

The Capstone Project is a multifaceted module which will allow you to undertake a number of different routes through to completion of the course. The aim of this module is to encourage you to select a route where you can demonstrate the understanding and knowledge gained from the course and show how this can be applied in a practical or theoretical way in a particular setting or context.

There are four possible routes:

  • Dissertation
  • Business Consultancy Project – which will involve attempting to solve a business problem within your organisation
  • New Business Project – you will propose a start-up venture and provide all the supporting materials and justifications required to show that the idea has real potential and merit
  • Connect to Business – you will join an organisation with which you are unfamiliar and act as a consultant by exploring a new market possibility or examine a business problem
Teaching and Learning.

We recognise that you may have a wealth of practical knowledge and experience to bring to this course. We encourage this within the programme and want students to actively share their thoughts and experiences with one another. Don’t worry if you have not engaged in formal education for some time –  we will offer support with study skills, conventions of academic analysis and writing throughout the programme.

The philosophy of the programme is built around bringing together relevant academic theory and practical experience, so you can establish a deeper understanding and develop yourself as an individual and as a leader. We will encourage you to participate, as resources for learning explicitly include the knowledge, experience and skills of all course members and staff.

We will start with an intensive core four-week module, followed by three eight-week modules each semester. In semester two, you will have the opportunity to gain industry experience. All modules are delivered utilising a range of teaching, learning and assessment strategies. These include lectures, seminars, a guest speaker programme, tutorials, workshops, use of online materials and Global Café-style learning activities. Class activities, online discussions and problem-solving exercises will enable you to gain feedback about your knowledge and understanding prior to any formal summative assessments.

Assessment and Feedback.

You will be assessed through a programme of work undertaken whilst studying each module. This includes presentations, critical essays, portfolios, reflective journals and case study work. We will provide opportunities for formative assessment feedback to inform your work prior to submission from each module tutor. You will receive detailed feedback on assessments to help you develop and continuously improve your performance whilst on the programme. Advice will be provided in relation to development, further areas for research and guidance on how to enhance your subject knowledge.

Research Opportunities.

We will use our wide network of industry relationships and partnerships in London and beyond to provide opportunities for you to engage in work placements, business consultancies or business research.*

*Subject to availability.

Fees and Funding.

Postgraduate tuition fees 2019-20

Postgraduate study is a great investment and is proven to add value to your education*, meaning you will learn more, earn more and achieve more. There are numerous ways in which you can get assistance in financing Postgraduate study, from scholarships and loans through to research grants.

*Those graduating with a Postgraduate degree will earn an average of £6,000 a year more than those with only an Undergraduate qualification. – based on 2015-16 Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DHLE) data.

The York St John University tuition fees for 2019-20 entry to Postgraduate Taught MA/MSc degrees are:

£9,300 per anum for UK/EU, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students.
£12,750 per anum for International (non EU) students.

York Business School.

Whether you are a prospective student or a business leader or manager looking for continuing professional development and collaborative working, we look forward to helping you fulfil your potential in whatever business function or sector you may be working in, or aspire to through working together to create business activity at all levels and for everyone.

For YBS London, we have developed an in-depth range of specialist postgraduate programmes with our team of academic experts and industry professionals. The range of programmes that we have developed, focus on leadership, innovation, business creation, positive change and gaining a cuttingedge understanding of the marketplace, in the rapidly changing business world.

Enquire now.


Do you have a question about this course? Fill out our form to send a question to our Admissions team. Alternatively, you can call us on 01904 876598.

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