International Design and Business Management (MDes)

Innovation is not just about being creative and open-minded, it is even more about multi-disciplinary teams that can deliver on the promise.


ID&BM is a multidisciplinary specialism based on an integrative design thinking management approach, pulling together professional knowledge in the areas of design, business and technological fields to achieve "managing design as a competitive strategy" in an international business setting. Globalisation in business and education has rapidly diminished boundaries between countries, cultures, and economies. ID&BM will provide a ‘meeting point’ for students and faculties amongst the collaborative institutes from different regions of the world, which enables cross-cultural and -disciplinary project teams to solve and manage real-life design, business and technical problems. ID&BM is targeting intakes distributed across Hong Kong, mainland Chinese and international students, and across design, business and technological fields.

New initiatives: academic collaboration, exchange programme and double degree arrangement - in the section "programme structure".

Brief introduction of the School in your language:
Portuguese/ Spanish

  • Application Timeline - Sep 2018 Entry
  • Applications start: 26 Sep 2017
  • Application deadline: 30 Apr 2017


ID&BM aims to nurture "T-shaped professionals" with high-level competencies to better understand and manage global business dynamic and to function in and contribute to design-sensitive and technological-intensive business environments. These competences enable students to lead the transformation of their respective local enterprises and to challenge existing mindset in technological innovations, product and service designs from an integrative design thinking management approach. Ultimately, ID&BM aims to create an impact at the regional and global levels by meeting future talents demand of well balanced business developers, entrepreneurs, products and services innovators.

See also: Employers of MDes graduates


Students, irrespective of their disciplinary background, learn together to nurture a new mindset and attitude where cross-disciplinary stimulation is the foundation of innovation. They will: 

  • apply theories and concepts of the three domains underpinning this specialism
  • evaluate cultural differences and their implications for leadership and effective management of design and business activities
  • identify and evaluate the means by which value creation may be managed 
  • participate effectively in the design, implementation and comprehensive evaluation of projects involving multidisciplinary and multicultural teams
  • demonstrate the ability to view, frame and resolve design issues by adopting multiple perspectives 
  • understand and perform the integrative design thinking roles of a T-shaped professional in business environment

Learn more about: International academic collaborations

Innovations are precious metals; business management is the craftsmanship that turns these rare and valuable metals into exceptional jewellery

Programme structure

ID&BM is a one year, three-semester long programme. It begins with an intensive seven-week introduction to the Essential Knowledge in each of the three disciplines, then followed by a series of compulsory subjects which centers on corresponding theories and/or practices. In the second semester, the focus is on two team-based ID&BM Multidisciplinary Projects collaborated with private or public organizations, while students can choose elective subjects in design and business disciplines to enhance their individual career profile. Capstone Reflective Thesis synthesises the learning in ID&BM at the summer term.

Common Core Subjects (compulsory) (1 credits)
SD5400 Vision and Change (1 credit)

Specialism Core Subjects (compulsory)
Theory/Method Subjects (15 credits)
SD5151 Essential Design Theories and Concepts (2 credits)
MM5001 Essential Business Theories and Concepts (2 credits)
SD5152 Essential Integration of Technologies in Design & Business Innovation (2 credits)
SD5163 Managing Value Creation (3 credits)
SD5164 Lifestyles, Cultures and Innovation (3 credits)
MM5251 Cross-cultural Management (3 credits)

Workshop Subjects (14 credits)

SD5171 Multidisciplinary Project 1 - Research and Analysis (3 credits)
SD5172 Multidisciplinary Project 2 - Solution Development (6 credits)
SD5173 Capstone Reflective Thesis (5 credits)

Elective Subjects* (6 credits)
These will be drawn from regularly occurring subjects within the MDes Scheme, including: 
SD5001 Innovation Tools for Strategic Design (3 credits)
SD5002 Design and Culture: Cultural Identity and Authorship (3 credits) 
SD5012 Future Context for Design
SD5014 Consumer as Producer: Critical Trends in Product Development and Consumer Culture (3 credits)

SD5015 Globalization and Design (3 credits)
SD5018 Research and Analysis for Design (3 credits)

SD5019 Design Criticism and Visual Arguments (3 credits)
SD5020 Special Topics in Contemporary Design (3 credits)
SD5021 Chinese Traditions and the 21st Century (3 credits)

SD5104 Branding: From Local to Global Strategies (3 credits)
SD5112 Strategic Design: Regional Case Studies (3 credits)
SD5113 Strategies for Sustainable Product- Service Systems (3 credits)
SD5201 Collaborative Design and Technology (3 credits)
SD5202 Innovative Products and Services Development (3 credits)
SD5215 Introduction to Ergonomics (3 credits)
SD5216 Introduction to Intellectual Property: Fundamentals and Strategy (3 credits)
AF5340 Finance and Accounting for Design Business
MM5712 Marketing Management in China (3 credits)
MM5761 Marketing Management (3 credit)
MM578 Service Marketing (3 credits)
MM588 Brand Marketing (3 credits)

* Remarks: Not all elective subjects are offered every year. Time table will be provided by individual MDes Specialism before academic year begins. Student should refer to MDes Scheme Definitive Scheme Document and may consult Specialism Leader when choosing electives.

Academic Collaborations
Northumbria University’s MSc Multidisciplinary Innovation programme and University of Technology Sydney

Exchange Programme
The programme provides ID&BM students an opportunity to study one semester (the second semester) in Northumbria University's MSc Multidisciplinary Innovation programme, to gain broader experiences and horizons in this domain.

Double Degree Arrangement with Politecnico di Milano (MIP) Graduate School of Business
Starting academic year 2015/16, ID&BM students, upon completion of 36 credits, are eligible to apply for a double degree in one specific MIP's International Master's programme. The study in MIP consists of three phrases, totaling of 60 ECTS.

This arrangement not only enables students to achieve two Master's degrees from PolyU and MIP, but also to expand their network in Asia and Europe in a short amount of time.

Class delivery mode & duration

Classes are normally held during daytime on weekdays, except some shared electives are delivered on weekday evenings and weekends. Each of the weekend subjects requires three weekends spread over 4–5 weeks.

It normally takes 1 year to complete the specialism.

Specialism leaders

Benny Ding Leong — Assistant Professor, MDes(RCA), MHKDA, IIDSA, FIDSHK

Benny Ding Leong

Leong practiced industrial design and strategic design in Asia and Europe after his graduation from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and the Royal College of Art in the late 80s and early 90s respectively. He worked for and with companies such as JVC (Japan), Philips (Holland), HP (France and the USA), Alessi (Italy), Eckart+Barski (Germany), Huawei (China), Suzuki/ Haojue (China), Samsung Design (China), Seoul National University (Korea), Cuckoo (Korea), CMW (HK;Japan; Germany), on various pioneer projects of design, design research, consultancies and workshops.

Dr. Clifford Choy — Assistant Professor, PhD, BEng

Dr. Clifford Choy

Dr. Clifford Choy received his BEng (Hons) and PhD from the Department of Electronic and Information Engineering, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, in 1992 and 1998 respectively. His research interest includes neural networks and artificial intelligence, human-computer interface, embedded systems and software development methodology, software design patterns, simulation, augmented and mixed reality, and creativity support system.

Teaching staff

Recent collaboration partners


Entrance requirement

A Bachelor’s degree in Design, or Business, or Technological fields, or the equivalent in a related discipline preferably with 2 years relevant professional experience. Candidates with other tertiary qualifications complemented with substantial relevant professional experience will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

A complete application includes

  • Application form
  • Portfolio (refer to FAQ for requirements and submission)
  • Evidence of degree or other qualification
  • Letter of intent
  • Three letters of recommendation (Academic/ Profession)
  • English language competency (minimum score: TOEFL 550 / IELTS 6.0 / iBT 80)

Applicants who are native English speakers with qualification from a university where the language of teaching is English are not required to provide such test score.

In the case of international students, the interview will be conducted via video calls on Skype.

  • Number of credits: 36

  • Normal Period of Study: 1 Years (full-time)

  • Tuition: HK$144,000 (local) / HK$158,400 (non-local) Initial Programme Fee: Local student HK$16,000 (4 credits x HK$4,000)/ Non-local student HK$44,000 (10 credits x HK$4,400)

Financial Aid

Three types of financial aid are available: (1) Scholarships, (2) Continuing Education Fund and (3) Extended Non-means-Tested Loan Scheme (ENLS). Only local residents are eligible to apply for (2) and (3). 

Find out more about Scholarships here.

Some subjects in MDes scheme are included on the Continuing Education Fund (CEF) list of reimbursable courses for local residents. For further information on CEF or reimbursable courses list, please visit CEF official website

Extended Non-means-Tested Loan Scheme (ENLS) offers interest-bearing loans to eligible students for covering tuition fees. For details of the scheme, please refer to the Government’s website.

Type of VISA (for International Students)

People’s Republic of China and foreign nationals may join the full-time programme provided either they apply for and receive a Student VISA; or they may join the part-time programme if they are holding a valid work permit or dependent VISA from the Hong Kong Administrative Region Immigration Department. School of Design will provide assistance in this regard.

MDes Talks: Student Blog

MDes Talks is a series of Student Blogs contributed by students in different specialisms under the Master of Design Scheme. It is set out to share students’ first-hand experience in the d-school pedagogy, their projects, takeaways, and student life in general.


You can now view the playback of the webinar on Design-led Innovation hosted by PolyU International Design and Business Management faculty. In the webinar, specialism leader Mr. Benny Leong, and faculty Dr. Jörn Bühring have shared their presentation around Asian Century, Mega Trends, Industries Affected, Career, and Value Proposition. And in the Q&A session, they addressed some of the frequently asked questions. 


Should you require further assistance, feel free to contact us by email at or by phone +852 3400 3440.

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