Carnegie Mellon University

Management of Innovation and Product Development MBA Track

It is the most important business topic of all: identifying and fulfilling the unmet opportunity. Few business schools teach how to do it. Fewer still give you the experience of doing it.

The Management of Innovation and Product Development track teaches a rigorous and analytical process that structures the work involved in innovation, a process that allows innovation to be ongoing and replicable. Students gain not only knowledge and skills relevant to innovation, but gain experience in an innovation project.

The initial phase of the innovation process is to identify problems to solve, which is to elicit what the target market wants even when they don’t yet know it. Middle phases focus on translating research findings into product specifications. The latter phase focuses on conceptualization and refinement of the solutions, both of the product prototype and of the resulting business plan. Students learn and experience the process in a capstone course.

Who Should Apply

Students enrolling in the track should have a rigorous focus on understanding and documenting marketplace needs as well as company technologies, capabilities, and skills. They should be willing to shoulder risk to achieve what they find will be profitable for the company and customers alike.

Students should also want to work in environments where they provide their own structure to their work, maybe even writing their own job description. In sum, applicants should exhibit not only intellectual achievement but also motivation, responsibility, perception, and an open mind.

At the end of this track, graduates will have learned:

  • Not just how to solve problems, but how to define them.
  • How to systematize transformative innovation to create a portfolio of new product innovations.
  • How to find opportunities in white space, not just document the known world.
  • How to collect and integrate varied perspectives into a unified valued product, service, system, or brand.
  • How to structure proposals to C-suite management based on early research output, to gain buy-in and budgets.

Innovation and Product Development Track Courses

Download our overview of the Management of Innovation and Product Development track curriculum [pdf] for specifics about course requirements and electives.

Faculty may revise the curriculum and course offerings at any time.

Innovation and Product Development Capstone Course

Students choosing this track complete their required capstone course within the track. The capstone course for the Management of Innovation and Product Development track is the Integrated Product Development (IPD) course.

Carnegie Mellon pioneered the field of integrated product development, setting the standard for courses of its kind. Originating nearly 30 years ago, the course continues to grow and give students an opportunity to tackle the evolving needs of industry. Taught in collaboration with our Integrated Innovation Institute, the emphasis of the IPD course is on the early, "fuzzy, front-end" stage of product development. The course gives structure and clarity to this stage as well as to the ones that follow and helps direct the product development process to be more efficient and effective downstream.

Visit the Integrated Innovation Institute site for more information on this project course.