Faculty Profile: Carol Overby, Strategic Design & Management


This fall Parsons Paris is looking forward to welcoming Carol Overby from the Parsons New York campus to serve as Interim Director for the BBA Strategic & Design Management program. We chatted with Carol to learn more about the program, and her.

How do you describe Strategic Design & Management to someone unfamiliar with the field?
Business leaders have embraced “design thinking” as an essential modality for 21st-century success and innovation, and some have suggested that Design School is the new Business School. The Strategic Design & Management program at Parsons is the ONLY undergraduate business program within a design school anywhere in the world. Our students graduate with a unique combination of critical thinking, management skills, and design skills and methodologies, and can apply these to find innovative solutions to the world’s most complex problems. They acquire the attributes most desired by employers—teamwork, problem-solving, multimodal communication—and enjoy success in entrepreneurship, marketing, consulting and diverse other fields.

What is your background, your area of interest or focus of study? 
I did an MBA specifically to help my creative friends develop and manage their businesses. This led to a professional practice in which I adapt financial and business concepts to the ways that creative people think and operate. After decades helping music and design firms, I came to the Parsons BBA program in 2004 to teach accounting, financial management, basic business, and business models & planning. I’ve also championed quantitative reasoning as a basic life skill, and serve on the board of directors of the National Numeracy Network. Two colleagues and I pursue research as The Visualizing Finance Lab, exploring ways that narrative visualization (visual storytelling) can help individuals understand and improve their financial behaviors.

Why is financial training important in the studies for BBA students?
Parsons BBA students develop wonderfully creative and innovative ideas, which need financing and management to bring them to life and to sustain them. Understanding financial concepts—and learning to use data to support an argument and test a prototype—are essential for moving from ideation to actualization. With good financial training, Parsons BBA students will leave the program with the ability to put their ideas into effective practice.

Often I hear creative individuals declare that they’re not good at math, or that they don’t do numbers. I am passionate about helping them use numbers to bring their creativity and innovations to successful practice.

What are your plans for the BBA moving forward?
The Parsons BBA has a strong new curriculum, which I’d like to support and refine by ensuring that students have a consistent and comprehensive experience, with courses building upon earlier work and coordinating across topics.


Learn more about the BBA Strategic Design & Management at Parsons Paris.