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By: Susan Worthman on November 23rd, 2018

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Design Strategy: Alumni Q+A with Alida Draudt, Futurist at Capital One

DMBA | Graduate Programs

When Alida Draudt (DMBA, 2016) entered CCA’s MBA in Design Strategy program, she already had a background in design and innovation consulting. What she wanted was a brighter future—little did she know, her future would involve predicting the future.

Throughout the DMBA coursework, Draudt honed her exponential leadership skills and learned how to make connections across platforms, areas of expertise, and even time. She uses this foresight and ability to weigh unseen variables and unexpected developments in her daily work as a Futurist for Capital One.

Alida giving a presentationAlida presenting at the Long Now Annual Member Summit in October, 2016 with co-author and fellow CCA DMBA/SFMBA alum Julia Rose West

We caught up with Draudt to talk why she chose CCA and how our DMBA program gave her what she needed to enter the financial industry—a completely new field for her—at a leadership level.



Q: What made you look into a Design Strategy program?

  I thought an MBA in Design Strategy would help me advance my career as I grew into strategic and director roles (which proved absolutely true!).

Q: Why CCA?

  As a school, CCA has a stellar reputation and came highly recommended from some of my coworkers who had also pursued master’s degrees at CCA. Talking with the professors, gaining insight from colleagues, and ultimately believing the quality of the school and program led me to decide on CCA, and I’m so glad I did!

Q: What was the commitment like?

  I loved the low-residency aspect of the program. While it could be frustrating at times given the need to coordinate multiple time zones, ultimately it allowed for more flexible working, studying, and socializing schedules and honestly prepared me for what a career in strategic, usually distributed, companies would be like. 

Q: Best parts?

  The process, frameworks, and creative inquiry entrenched in each class were all incredibly helpful and additive to my education. The most valuable thing I gained from the DMBA program, however, was through the Leadership By Design course. Through this course I learned how leaders can (and should!) embrace their vulnerability.


  This class taught me vulnerability, the power of extending trust, and the wide variety of leadership styles that can be unique to you. I’ve used those lessons continuously since graduating from CCA.


What is the right thing to do next?

California College of the Arts cultivates intellectual curiosity and risk-taking, collaboration and innovation, compassion and integrity. We champion the importance of creative leaders in solving social, cultural, environmental, and economic problems. With a MBA in Design Strategy from CCA, you’ll be prepared to innovate at the intersection of business, design, and innovation in whatever industry you choose—or whatever industry chooses you!


About Susan Worthman

Susan is a sustainable-systems strategist, writer, researcher, and policy advocate, consulting with businesses and public agencies to accelerate shifts to sustainable systems and practices. She is also an associate professor and associate chair of the Design Strategy program at CCA.


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