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"Best class offered within the MBA program"

MBA graduates speak out about their experiences in the IPD program and how it prepared them for their careers in product development.
Read the full Liautaud Loop article here.


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Some Basic Information for Prospective Clients of the IPD course

  • Overview: Teams of students from engineering, industrial design, and marketing work for two semesters on an area defined by a client company in consultation with the course faculty. Teams spend the first semester identifying a compelling product opportunity and the second semester developing and prototyping a product to meet that need.
  • Student team makeup: The typical class has five teams. Each team has two or three students from each discipline. Engineering and Industrial Design have undergraduate seniors, Marketing with MBA candidates or undergrads depending on the section. Past sections have had engineering students from MIE (Mechanical and Industrial Engineering) or ECE (Electrical and Computer Engineering) or both; other engineering disciplines may be involved as appropriate in future years.
  • Faculty team makeup: There are three dedicated faculty members for each IPD section, one each from engineering, industrial design, and marketing. There is often an extra part time faculty member as well (usually a design researcher from Art and Design).
  • IPD class meetings: IPD meets once a week for three hours of class, plus teams put in significant time on their own. The course extends over two fifteen-week semesters: late August to early December, and then early January to the end of April.
  • NDA/IP Issues: Students, faculty, and visitors approved by the client sign an NDA. The client owns any IP generated in the class. Prior agreement templates are available on request.
  • Client involvement: There are four presentations to the client, one at midterm and one at the end of each term. In addition, clients are asked to provide a point-of-contact mentor for each student team. One person may mentor more than one student team. The level of involvement with the student team is up to the client/mentor. Some mentors only answer questions by email, others come to campus twice a month to work with their teams. It is our experience that more involved clients are generally more satisfied with the results.
  • Problem statements: The IPD faculty will work with the client to craft a suitable problem statement. A good problem statement is open-ended, is directed towards moving a company into new areas, and is "back-burner" -- something of interest to the company, but not that they plan to develop on a short time horizon.
  • Other benefits: Most clients report that in addition to the products presented by the student teams at the end of the year, they find considerable value in two other things in particular: 1) the results and research that led to the final products, with all of the ideas that were not incorporated in the final prototype at the final presentation, and 2) the access to the student demographic that the course provides.