Design thinking, which has spread as a trend in management in recent years, has reached the Estonian education system as well – EBS offers people who want to start studying for a degree a short course developed by the principle of design thinking, which will help them make informed choices about their careers and find the most suitable university and specialty.
One of the organisers of the recruitment programme of EBS, Age Rosenberg, coach and coordinator of the design thinking courses, said that completing one’s university studies during the standard period of study is like a full-time job, which is why choosing the correct specialty is important in order to stay motivated throughout these years: “Design thinking or human-centred design is a manner of thinking and acting, which focuses on the person for whom solutions are designed and sought and on practicing open thinking. Today, design thinking is used to solve a variety of problems and challenges, from products and services to the management of organisations and communication and shaping one’s life. We started using design thinking this spring to help students choose specialties that suit them and shape their careers.”
Rosenberg emphasised that everyone who wants to start studying for a degree is welcome to attend the courses, especially those who haven’t decided on a specialty yet. “A couple of years ago, school graduates who wanted to study business and economics in Estonia had to choose whether to continue their studies in one of the five or six local universities or move abroad, but today, they can also acquire an education via hundreds of university e-curricula and thousands of microdegrees and courses,” said Rosenberg. The special programme developed for prospective students helps map the student’s actual motivation and expectations in order to facilitate selecting a speciality and find the most suitable curriculum for the student. We don’t expect the people participating in the course to enrol in EBS, as the specialty that most suits them may be taught in an international university, for example.”
The programme was developed on the basis of the materials of the Stanford Life Design Lab and adapted to the Estonian market. The Design Your Life programme is used both at the Bachelor’s and Master’s levels. The students work on shaping their careers and select study modules with the help of a coach, who advises them personally and helps them choose the content of the curriculum, find a suitable university for the semester abroad, select study materials and research topics as well as integrate their studies and working life.
The Design Your Life programme for prospective students includes rethinking the working and learning experiences of their lives (incl. upper secondary school) in the course of discussions, group work and individual assignments and setting goals for the coming years. The design thinking method uses worksheets, group work, discussions and the possibility to return to the problem formulating stage in the solution finding stage, so that suitable solutions are found for each participant.