When Carnegie Mellon University began its Master of Product Development (MPD) degree program a decade ago, it was the first of its kind, combining instruction and expertise from three world-class schools on campus. The Tepper School of Business has now officially joined the School of Design and the Department of Mechanical Engineering as a third partner in oversight of this interdisciplinary degree, underscoring growing interest in the program by traditional business professionals.
“The Master of Product Development program was one of the first of its kind when it began a decade ago, and by merging with Tepper, it’s now the only program of its type to be represented by three highly-esteemed colleges,” said Professor Jonathan Cagan, Master of Integrated Innovation for Products & Services co-director and the George Tallman and Florence Barrett Ladd Professor of Mechanical Engineering.
Hands-on experience in the realm of product development is key to the MII-PS (formerly called MPD) program, which features the Integrated Product Development course to provide students the valuable experience of its custom-designed four-module structure. Working with industry sponsors throughout the duration of the course, students focus on “identifying, understanding, conceptualizing and realizing new product opportunities” under the guidance of instructors from the three foundation disciplines of engineering, design, and business.Joining Cagan as co-directors of the MII-PS program are Eric Anderson, associate professor in the School of Design and associate dean of Carnegie Mellon’s College of Fine Arts, and Peter Boatwright, the Carnegie Bosch Associate Professor at the Tepper School of Business. In addition to interdisciplinary research conducted in the program, Cagan and Boatwright also have collaborated on two books, “The Design of Things to Come” and “Built to Love: Creating Products that Captivate Customers,” which introduced the concept of “product emotions” and detailed the scientific process by which design teams can build the emotions into products that their customers desire. Cagan also co-authored “Creating Breakthrough Products,” a prominent text and trade book that developed from the IPD class.
Currently, the class consists of approximately 20 students, annually. With increased interest from students with business backgrounds and new opportunities for capstone projects supplied by industry sponsors, the program is expected to grow to 30-40 students in the near future.