Fall 2017

This course introduces students of architecture, architectural engineering, interior design, planning, structural engineering, landscape architecture, and other majors to the management and leadership of a professional design practice. Using case studies, lectures, written assignments, and presentations by real-world clients and principals of successful design, engineering, and real estate development firms, this course invokes a considered inquiry into the nature and challenges of producing high quality design within the context of the business necessities of professional practice. ​This course helps students understand the business, economic, operations, and marketing aspects of the firm they join upon graduation, and further provides students with a foundation for advancement within that firm and/or the essentials for eventually starting their own firms.

The course covers topics such as: the AEC industry within which design and engineering firms must operate; business planning for starting, managing and leading a professional practice; marketing, branding, and positioning of professional practices; business planning and strategic decision making for the professional practitioner; pricing services, professional practice economics and financial management, and methodologies for establishing and negotiating adequate fees, determining true billing rates, and budgeting and controlling firm expenses; general management theory and its application to professional architectural, engineering, interior design and other professional firms; the unique nature of design firm organizational culture; risk assessment and mitigation; succession planning, ownership transition, and design firm valuation.



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