Experience design and management gives students skills to pursue careers

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The experience design and management program is a growing field students can cater to their individual career choices.

“We feel like we are at the forefront of being an amazing business school offering this unique program and seeing additional programs like ours pop up,”experience design and management professor Mat Duerden said.

Experience design and management is the study of the design, delivery and management of experiences. The BYU program has an 89% acceptance rate.

According to the experience design and management website, students within the program can choose to pursue careers within the experience industries including community events, recreation, tourism and hospitality. They can also specialize in experience management such as customer experience, employee experience and product management. 

BYU senior Lilly Moore said since she was a teenager, she has always loved gathering people together. Experience design and management was a way for her to use “need-finding and design thinking” to make people’s lives better through planning events. 

“My biggest goal with event-planning is to create wholesome, classy and themed events for college students. I strive to create an atmosphere where clean and fun can survive together,” Moore said. 

College students dress as characters from Harry Potter at BYU student Lilly Moore’s recent Yule Ball dance on Nov. 12 and 13. The dance was an immersive experience with escape-room style adventures, treats and drinks. (Photo courtesy of Alix Hess)

In one of Moore’s experience design and management classes, she was asked to create Lilly Events Co., which hosts college dances for Utah County. Even though she knew it would be difficult, she felt the best way for her to internalize the concepts she was learning in class was through her dance events. 

“I believe that people love to dress up and be fancy. In the modern world, we don’t get as many opportunities to do that in real life as we see on TV and in movies, so I want to provide normal people like me with an opportunity to feel like royalty for a night,” Moore said. 

Experience design and management student Lilly Moore (far right) hosted a Yule Ball celebration for her business. Moore said this event was a lifelong dream come true.(Photo courtesy of Katie Seaman)

Experience design and management aligns with Moore’s personal mission of making a positive impact in the world. Moore said she believes her major is helping companies such as her own to become more experience-centric through empathy, emotional intelligence and innovation.

Duerden estimates almost one-third of students go into the experience industry while the other students choose to take a different route.

BYU experience design and management alumni Lauren Schultz is attending Utah State University to get her master’s degree in instructional design. Schultz got a job her freshman year as an instructional design assistant designing BYU online courses. It had never occurred to her before that creating online experiences was a career field she could choose to pursue.  

“I wanted to design learning experiences for people online. It’s very applicable and growing today, especially with COVID and everything being online for a period of time,” Schultz said. “I found experience design and I thought, this will be good and broad enough to get me a lot of good skills I can use in this career.”

These skills are taught throughout students’ time in the major.Duerden’s goal in his class is to increase the overall number of intentionally designed experiences of the world.He said the best way to do that is teaching students to be “more empathetic, more curious and more creative” when creating intentional experiences.

Schultz said she believes experience design and management opens a lot of doors and although students might think the major is a “piece of cake,” her program is hard work. This major is designed for people with an interest in design, people and improving experiences, she said. She invites those people to come and see what the program has to offer. 

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