ExDM: It’s About the Experience

PROVO, Utah – Oct 18, 2017 – Running a 5K through a tunnel of exploding color.

Treading a tightrope over a thicket of trees with your coworker-turned-safety-buddy at the company retreat.

Enjoying personalized accommodations from membership rewards points as you check into your hotel.

For many, these are commonplace experiences woven into the tapestry of life in 2017. But behind each one is a strategic plan to tie fulfillment and meaning into its fabric.

Housed in the BYU Marriott School of Business, the experience design and management (ExDM) major provides students with skills to help businesses and other organizations devise such plans to improve their consumer experiences.

“You think about the brands that you stay connected with, and it’s all about the experience those brands provide,” says Mat Duerden, an ExDM professor. “We’ve heard repeatedly from people in various sectors that they know they need to provide great customer or employee experiences, but they don’t always know what type of student to hire.”

At BYU Marriott, students accepted to the ExDM program commence with a junior core of management courses in conjunction with a set of experience design classes. Before they can be handed a diploma, seniors must complete a capstone course and an internship, topping off their curriculum with experiential learning.

“Graduates from our program have a unique hybrid skill set of both a solid understanding of business management as well as the design, delivery, and evaluation of experiences,” Duerden explains.

A core approach used in the program is design thinking, which teaches students how to problem solve by looking through the eyes of the consumer.

“I love that my program offers me a unique perspective on any branch of the business world,” says Anna Samuelson, an ExDM senior. “It’s helped me see how others think and feel, how to build people through planned experiences, and how to ultimately shape one’s life to be a satisfying and fulfilling long-term ‘experience.’”

The program has been largely influenced by the growing “experience economy,” which analyzes the economic development of products and services as society has progressed over time. By incorporating consumer behavior research, professors are teaching students how to analyze data and mine their creativity as they work with organizations. Students are leaving the program ready to help companies create meaningful experiences to differentiate the services they offer.

ExDM graduates go on to pursue careers in various industries that are rapidly innovating to keep up with current economic trends. These include sports, event, and nonprofit management; sales and marketing; youth development; recreation; and hospitality and tourism, to name a few.

But experience design and management isn’t just about the innovative allure; it is largely service oriented as well.

“I love the chance to design experiences that can have a lasting impact on others,” says Samuelson. “And I’m excited to take what I’ve learned in ExDM and apply it not only to my career, but to my life and the lives of those I love.”

For her—and for consumers everywhere—it’s all about the experience.

ExDM students are preparing to shape and implement consumer experiences in a vast array of industries.

Media Contact: Jordan Christiansen (801) 422-8938
Writer: Afton Izu