Master in Business for Architecture and Design - Study Plan

Building Creative Leaders in Management, Entrepreneurship and Innovation

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This in-depth, comprehensive program covers everything from the big picture to the nuanced details of architectural management and design. It focuses on four fundamental aspects: business management, leadership, entrepreneurship, and design innovation and technology. The program has been developed to help transform individuals into multifaceted professionals through practical, hands-on learning. Students apply the knowledge they gain throughout the program to real-world situations in the Venture Lab, and finish the program with an entrepreneurship-focused thesis project.
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Conceptual overview

The Master in Business for Architecture and Design is structured in two core modules in business and entrepreneurship and two complementary modules in innovation and leadership. Combined, they prepare creative professionals to foresee opportunity, rethink their realms and create new value, expanding their roles and their impact as designers. Students are trained to transcend the traditional boundaries of the built environment industry, for a future that does not differentiate between business and design, nor between physical and digital, and in which action, collaboration and cross-disciplinary are the rules.

The four modules develop simultaneously, ensuring a transversal and practical learning experience, making the Master unique, relevant, and holistic. The Business of Design Lecture Series and the Venture Lab, which is capped by an entrepreneurship-focused thesis project, work as encompassing platforms to debate ideas and put them into practice.



Mastering the art of business with an emphasis on understanding and managing design companies is central to the program. The MBArch covers a wide range of topics, from the the Law of Supply and Demand or the principles of strategy, to in-depth study of financial modelling and its specificities for architecture ventures, corporate strategy, alliances, companies’ valuation and industry analysis in the built-environment. We place attention to the different phases of companies, and their evolution to become international leaders, addressing topics such as competition, financing or the connection between services, business models and operations.


Impact doesn’t only depend on expertise, perfect execution, or a great idea. It implies a specific set of personal skills which allow professionals to adapt and succeed in demanding and ever-changing circumstances. A significant part of these can be trained, and we call them LEADERSHIP. This module explores its importance, characteristics, and responsibilities. It supports students through the development of professional self-awareness and purpose which impact their design careers, allowing them to reach maximum potential. We start at the personal level, moving towards the organizational and public dimensions of leadership.


This module builds a solid understanding of the most updated theory and methodologies in entrepreneurship. Students learn to observe markets, research at the user and the economic level to support their ideas, identify industry problems, transform them into business opportunities and generate valuable and scalable design-based companies, grounded on innovative business models that are economically viable, technically feasible and humanly attractive. Students are also trained to work with agility and make critical decisions in diverse scenarios that young companies face, from team creation to product development or funding structures.


Business and technology innovation are deeply impacting the built environment. Through a dual approach, we first analyze how spatial designers create value, and how much can we expand their territory of action. Based on that, we analyze how models and technologies such as IoT, BIM, Big Data for Business Intelligence, Blockchain, Platform Business Models or Agile methods can be leveraged to transform the dynamics of design businesses. You will widen your vision for opportunity, and learn to strategically lead management, industry or technology-driven innovation.

Study Plan

Develop your business acumen with our masterclasses. Learn from Peter Murray on how branding, marketing and communications enhance your architectural practices and join Enoch Sears for essential management insights.



The contents of the four modules are introduced through cases, workshops and discussions, which focus on a wide range of domains related to the built environment. The transversal curriculum and the course dynamics allow to establish links between the modules, the Venture Lab and the Business of Design Forum. You will put into practice all the contents explored along the program, and confront the conceptual dimension of learning with the hands-on experience of the labs and workshops, similar to real-life working environments.

The MBArch blends online sessions, face-to-face periods in Madrid and Amsterdam, and a professional post-graduation trip to London. Online weeks start with Monday to Thursday forums, followed by Friday Entrepreneurship Mentoring and Lectures, and Saturday videoconferences from professors. All activities involve group and individual work, that is closely followed-up by faculty and mentors. The four full-time residential weeks in Madrid and Amsterdam combine classes, workshops, entrepreneurship sprints, company presentations, visits, lectures and group work. The final trip to London is a unique opportunity to network and discuss lessons learned with industry leaders.

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What is Business of Design Forum?

This series of lectures and visits explore leading companies’ “back of house.” Top professionals share their insights and engage with students, detailing how to implement best practices for success and how to transform their industries. The series includes leading design companies and others, including start-ups as well as venture capital, engineering, real estate and communications firms. Students will gain a holistic perspective through this experience.

What should I expect?

High profi le lecturers, specifi c and complementary topics for each conversation and lively engagement in every event, openly discussing a variety of topics, such as the lecturer’s journeys to success, and why struggle can be a positive part of it.

Companies involved



Venture Preparation is a hands-on introduction to the practice of entrepreneurship, comprised of venture design sprints, lectures, and workshops ranging from idea generation to team building. In the second half of the program, students participate in the Venture Lab: an entrepreneurship workshop that guides them in developing their own projects, with the mentorship of expert faculty. Students’ projects will become their Final Theses, which are then presented in front of a jury of experts and investors. This experience in entrepreneurship is the capstone of the master program.


The Venture Lab

The Venture Lab is an entrepreneurship laboratory in which you will develop a company project for the built environment or a related industry, starting from your own motivations and putting them into practice in group, as in real-life. Faculty experts give mentorship in architecture and design, management, finance, business innovation, technology and marketing. The Venture Lab project is your group’s Final Thesis, which you will present in front of a jury of experts and investors. This hands-on lab encompasses all the learnings acquired throughout the MBArch.

Venture Lab Approach


We help you propose a relevant business for the future, related to the built environment. It must be innovative, which means it has to be economically viable, technically feasible, and humanly attractive. We embrace different degrees of scalability. Together, we pursue maximum maturity for the projects, testing your business assumptions and increasing the chances of success on potential paths to the market.

Final Deliverables

Your VL project will be composed of a research dossier, a business plan, an elevator pitch and a product or service prototype. You will have to explain the industry problem and opportunity addressed, the potential solutions, your chosen value proposition, and how you position and differentiate your company. The Business Plan will include management, strategy and operational considerations, a detailed financial model, and a marketing plan for your idea.

Live Video Conferences

On Saturdays from 2:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. (CET) students participate in live online video sessions led by professors. IE’s online platform allows for seamless participation, conversation, and an interactive course flow.

Online Forum

Ongoing online conversations are held from Monday to Thursday. Students engage in thoughtful and lively class discussions via online posts that can be published at any time of day, allowing those with busy schedules great flexibility. Professors moderate and encourage
students to delve deeper into the topics covered in class.

Individual Preparation

All syllabi, bibliographies, cases, and other curricular materials are posted ahead of time on our online platform “Campus Online.” Assignments and readings are thoughtfully scheduled to allow for an appropriate workload. You can organize your time to fit your needs.

Group Discussion and Assignments

Students are divided into groups, and work on collaborative assignments throughout the program. Group work, both face-to-face and online, is a fundamental element of the learning experience.


The IE Online Campus is a web platform that allows students to access all of the program’s online activities any time they wish from any location. The campus is also accessible from smartphones and tablets.


Lectures & Workshops

More than 20 lectures and workshops are held with professors and leading companies, to delve deeper into the academic content or expand on the work done in class. We also conduct Makeathons: one or two-days business design sprints in which groups address a given challenge, define opportunities and develop potential solutions.

Five sessions per day with international faculty

Students have a wide variety of courses from Monday to Friday in different settings. Classes are interactive and include case discussions, team presentations, specific visits and guided group work.

Group work & Presentations

You will discuss and prepare a series of assignments and projects in group, and present them to professors, companies, juries, and peers. Group work is essential to expand and deepen the lessons from different courses.

Visits and Discussions

The F2F sessions include discussions at leading companies and startups in architecture & design, communication, real-estate, project management, and technology. Visits contribute significantly to illustrate concepts and acquire a wider perspective of reality.


These are intense periods of the program in which you spend time with peers and professors in either Madrid or Amsterdam. The F2F weeks feature program components that are best suited to classroom and workshop settings. They serve as key opportunities to build strong relationships, exchange ideas and collaborate. Being together is also a great way to advance personal projects, such as the Venture Lab, through formal and informal discussions with classmates and professors.

Our Learning Experience: Innovative and flexible design, combining online and face-to-face periods

The MBArch is a 15 months blended program that combines face-to-face learning with interactive online periods. This allows students with demanding schedules to continue to study remotely without disrupting their professional commitments. The perfect balance between teamwork, weekly classes and videoconferences not only ensures almost daily contact among participants, but also reflects the way companies in a global environment operate in the modern world.


April, 2 weeks in Madrid at the beginning.



October, 2 weeks in Amsterdam.



July, 1 week in Madrid at the end of the program, which includes your graduation ceremony.



Professional post-graduation trip to London is optional.


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Modules of the program

Economic Environment

Introduction to the macroeconomic and microeconomic environment in business. You will learn to analyze the implications of economic situations and policies on the welfare of people, companies and governments.

Financial Planning

Comprehensive overview of corporate financial planning and decision-making. You will learn to align financial targets with strategy and to start, finance, expand, monitor or present design companies to investors.

Strategic Management

The strategic mindset and competitive behavior that affect performance in businesses. You will learn tools and concepts to analyze industries and firm resources and adapt to current and future market situations.

Marketing Management

A general approach to contemporary marketing for the built-environment. You will study differentiation, segmentation, positioning, marketing mix or customer satisfaction, as well as business development strategy.

Operations Management for Design

Excellence in design requires balancing economic viability, technical and commercial requirements, and client demands. You will learn to control the resources needed to perform design and construction activities.

Project Management

Designing the built environment implies managing relationships and processes with clients, stakeholders, public organizations, collaborators, contractors and suppliers. You will learn to manage them as a project leader.

Value Creation Through Design

You will explore the multiple ways in which spatial design can create value for society nowadays. We analyze perspectives from business, communication, architecture, innovation, entrepreneurship, anthropology and technology.

Digital Transformation

Key digital systems and business models affect and empower design nowadays. You will familiarize with cloud computing, blockchain, platforms or bigdata, gaining capacity to pursue technology-enabled businesses.

Bim for Decision-Makers / Technology Management

The “digital era” has changed the built-environment. BIM and Technology Management analyze the appropriate adoption, use and management of production technology, that is essential to the success of design companies.

Design Intelligence

We explore the changes in spatial design since the advent of computational technology, and explore ways to utilize them to transform our companies, taking strategic and technology-based business and design decisions.

Service Design for the Built Environment

Designing an efficient service delivery strategy is critical for customer experience /commercial success. We explore how this requires specific business operations, and how aligning both can empower sustainable company models.

Leadership and Coaching

A broad overview of Human Resources, focused on how to structure unique, people-centered and creative companies to get the best out of a team, keeping motivation at the top.

Soft Skills Lab

A series of workshops and seminars that develop student’s personal skills, focusing on their abilities for team work, presentation and communication, which remain central to all the courses and labs of the program.

Personal Strategy for Designers

Students create a Development Plan and learn to balance their personal and professional goals. We cover self-organization, social relationships, and how to market oneself to become increasingly relevant.

Design Communication & Strategy

Branding, marketing and communications empower design practices to meet their goals. We look at the relationship between the market, the marketing process and the architectural strategies that particular firms pursue.

Human Resources in Creative Companies

A broad overview of Human Resources, focused on how to structure unique, people-centered and creative companies to get the best out of a team, keeping motivation at the top.

Entrepreneurial Management

We examine the mindset, methods and managerial activities of contemporary entrepreneurship. You will learn to frame problems as business opportunities and to generate, validate and present compelling new ventures.

Negotiation & Decision Making

The “art of negotiation”, understood as an effective tool for your professional career and personal life. You will learn to prepare for negotiations, achieve objectives and reach win-win agreements.

Responsive Organizations

Uncertainty and change are omnipresent in the current era. We focus on how to structure or transform companies to respond to them, gaining leadership and utilizing vision, agility, collaboration and resilience.

Managing Design Businesses

An exploration of spatial design management. Students learn about building a unique culture of design, company reputation and development, multidisciplinary teams and to build a clear and powerful design vision.

Law for Design Entrepreneurs

We examine the most important and contemporary legal aspects that empower businesses in the built environment realm. Key ideas involve intellectual property, founder agreements, technology law or professional liability.

Venture Discovery Lab

A hands-on introduction to the practice of entrepreneurship, focused on discovery. This central piece of the program is comprised of MAKEATHONS, seminars and workshops ranging from idea generation to team building.

Venture Lab

Entrepreneurship workshop. You will develop a design-based company as your program’s Final Thesis. During this process, you will be mentored by faculty, expert advisors and other entrepreneurs.

Business of Design Forum

Up to 30 lectures and visits to prominent design and innovation companies. We discuss directly with their leaders, who share their journeys and insights about how to drive impact and transform the design realm.

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