Prepare to Design the Future
March 19–20, 2017: Training
March 20–22, 2017: Tutorials & Conference
San Francisco, CA

In-Person Training
2-day MBA: Essential business skills for designers

Derek Alderton (UCLA Anderson School of Management)
Sunday, March 19 & Monday, March 20, 9:00am - 5:00pm
Location: Olympic Room
Average rating: ****.
(4.67, 3 ratings)

Participants should plan to attend both days of this 2-day training course. Platinum and Training passes do not include access to tutorials on Monday.

Derek Alderton guides you through EMBAD, a two-day program for experienced design professionals who increasingly need to interact and deal effectively with senior management. You'll gain an understanding of the concepts, vocabulary, and priorities of senior management by discussing a series of real-world situations as though you were actually part of the senior executive team.

What you'll learn, and how you can apply it

  • Understand the concepts, vocabulary, and priorities of senior management

Derek Alderton guides you through EMBAD, an intensive, interactive, in-person, two-day program for experienced design professionals who have progressed in their careers to the point where they need to interact and deal effectively with senior management (C level and boards) who do not have design backgrounds and are primarily “business professionals.”

You’ll gain an understanding of the concepts, vocabulary, and priorities of senior management by discussing a series of real-world situations as though you were actually part of the senior executive team. The program follows the key situations and decisions faced by the senior team at Audeze, a headphone company that in five years has grown from four people building headphones as a weekend hobby to a company with $10M in yearly revenue. (The company’s first professionally designed consumer headphone, by Designworks, is now available in Apple retail stores.)

Day 1

We want to grow/change the world/do this full time/make more money. What do we need? Who do we get it from? How do we persuade them?


  • What is competitive advantage?
  • How do we gain it or keep it?
  • What is our value chain?
  • Can an investor provide more than just money? Who? How?
  • Build, buy, or lease?


  • Are we an attractive investment financially?
  • Are we making money? How much?
  • What is the company worth? How do we value it?
  • Why do we need working capital?

We need to hire more people, but how do we organize? We need to sell more. What should we promise our channels and consumers?

Organizational behavior

  • How do we define roles?
  • What are the incentives for our employees? For us?
  • How do we protect our company?
  • Ethical crises


  • What sales channels do we use, and how do we work with them?
  • How do we keep them working together?
  • Should we compete with our own channels? How? When?
  • What new products do we need and at what price points?


  • Legally, we don’t have to do this. Should we do it anyway?
  • What is wrong? What is right?
  • Employees doing. . .what?

Day 2

We need more and different people to buy our new products. How do we market to them? We need to reduce the manufacturing costs for our new products and get our supply chain certified. How do we do that?


  • Who are our consumers? Who will buy our new products?
  • What messages/themes/people do our target markets respond to?
  • How much do we spend? On what? When?


  • How do we build a global supply chain?
  • How do we reduce cost while maintaining or improving quality?
  • What is our learning curve?
  • How do we integrate continuous product development with production?
  • Crisis! What just happened? What do we do?

What are our investors thinking about? How do we get our money out?

Advanced strategy and finance

  • Growth and exit options: M&A, IPO, PE funds, etc.
  • What is a listed company? Why are they different?

Competitive dynamics

  • How do we assess future markets?
  • Will competitors force us down the cost curve?


About your instructor

Derek Alderton is the faculty director of the Anderson Strategy Group in the MBA program at the UCLA Anderson School of Management. Derek has been an adjunct faculty member at the Anderson School for 10 years, developing and teaching courses in entertainment strategy, entrepreneurship and venture initiation, entrepreneurial operations, and strategy. His student teams have won multiple awards in the Applied Management Research program. Before starting his own boutique management consulting firm, Derek spent 10 years at McKinsey & Company, where he was responsible for the West Coast Media & Entertainment practice and became a leading expert on the impact of technology on entertainment business value chains. His clients ranged from established global entertainment companies to the fastest-growing technology companies, including some exceptional startups. He has been on the faculty at numerous McKinsey and other corporate training programs, has spoken at a wide variety of technology, media, entertainment, and entrepreneurship conferences, and has been published multiple times. Derek holds an MBA from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, degrees in law and economics from the University of Sydney, and a diploma in finance from the Securities Institute of Australia. He is also a chartered accountant (US CPA equivalent).

Conference registration

Get the Platinum pass or the Training pass to add this course to your package.

Comments on this page are now closed.


03/19/2017 10:49am PDT

Derek, had a fantastic first day of this workshop and plenty of things to Google later. Looking forward to diving into more tomorrow!

Ying Li |
03/17/2017 12:53am PDT

What should we prepare for the class? Is laptop required?