MS in Product Management Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) is a program offered in the heart of the Tech kingdom – Silicon Valley, this program is the ideal way to announce your presence in the field of IT.
CMU – A strong presence
The MSPM (Master of Science Product Management) program was first offered by Carnegie Mellon University in 2018. While this program may be fairly new, the school is preferred when it comes to IT-related programs. The school hosts a large community of international students and boasts of a huge alumnus (15,000 worldwide). CMU ranks number 1 in the schools offering programs in Computer Science. Apart from this, the Carnegie Mellon graduates are highly sought after for their problem-solving skills.
Coming to the MSPM program at CMU, it is being offered by the school of Computer science in conjunction with the Tepper School of Business. This only means that it combines the best of both worlds- technology and management.
In simple words, it is a unique program offering maximum bang for your buck!
First and foremost, there are several MBA programs that offer product management as a specialization. However, these programs come with costs in terms of money and time. The tuition fees for a full-time MBA program (Tepper) is $ 136,000 approx. and it requires a two-year commitment. However, in comparison, the tuition fees for the MSPM program (12-month) is $ 60,000 approx. Further, this program is far more concentrated, promising to equip you with the skills and knowledge you need to come out swinging!
Secondly, 75% of the 2018 class in this program consisted of international students. What this means is that you not only gain the advantage of graduating from one of the best universities, but you also gain tremendously from a diverse cohort.
Finally, and most importantly, let’s talk about future prospects. There is a huge demand for engineers who understand the impact of the products they design.
According to Bob Monroe, the co-director of the MSPM program at CMU, the impetus to design this program came from employers. This program was designed and built according to what the employers sought in prospective product managers. So, as you graduate, there is a possibility of earning $127,000 on average with senior, associate or product manager positions up for grabs.
The idea behind the program is to help candidates to make the shift from being just a “technical expert” to becoming a skilled product manager. A product manager’s role is one that is strategic and tactical as well. This is one of the reasons why it is absolutely essential that you have enough experience handling these issues in the real world before you sign up for a program that allows you to expand in this role.
Greg Coticchia is the executive director of the Carnegie Mellon University’s MSPM program. He describes the criticality of a product manager’s function and role in any firm. They are held responsible for the success/failure of the product/service. What makes the job challenging is that they work at the cross-roads- manufacturing (engineering), marketing (sales), and C-suite (executive-level managers). It is a power triangle but one that can be extremely exciting and rewarding if the job is well done!
The program aims to give the students the tools- the technical know-how, soft skills to handle negotiations, lead and contribute productively. However, in order for this to succeed, the candidates need to display experience in the field.
Most candidates have the strongest technical background but lack the smarts that are needed to be the perfect conduit between user and business. The MS in Product Management Carnegie Mellon program has been structured to equip candidates with social, software skills and the perfect intelligence to influence and execute product development in an organization/startup.
This 12-month program is a perfect combination of business acumen, technical skills and leadership development that is required to be a product manager. Semesters are loaded with core product management and business courses along with an opportunity for an internship. As time progresses, a key project with the support of corporate sponsors precedes deeply technical courses and business electives.
The Accelerate Leadership Centre offers critical assistance in the form of expert coaches. The program features leadership workshops, recruitment programs, and one-to-one coaching to advance your leadership goals.
Further, since this program is structured as a STEM certified program, students can apply for an OPT-extension.
Vasishtha’s Success Story
Vasishtha’s journey started with an engineering degree in Information Systems. However, a close look at his journey will provide wonderful insights into how this can be a great inspiration for every prospective student. The MSPM program at CMU was a great fit for Vasishtha’s situation. He always dreamt of building world class products and revolutionize the way corporate work. Let’s look at his credentials and hard work that led him to gain admit into this prestigious program.
Vasishtha took the first steps towards a great career even as he was getting a degree in Information Systems at BITS Pilani. He was the founding member of HashLearn Now – an app-based tutoring startup. He developed the app, campaigned and marketed the same bringing with it tons of valuable experience. The app continues to be a success with high ratings and a huge number of users.
This was followed by Vasishtha’s expertise developed at Paysafe played a huge role in convincing the admissions committee. He spent a little over 3 years at the organization honing his craft and gathering the best experience. Among the numerous projects handled by him, the third-party data broker project, merchant onboarding, and the internal messaging services resulted in major revenue generation and cost savings for his organization. Apart from this, other experiences in the firm allowed him to develop a deep understanding of the business and the broad challenges facing businesses.
During his tenure, Vasishtha was responsible for one of the largest and most successful projects that were rolled out. A manual process taking teams 1-2 days was transformed into something that could be accomplished under a minute. The success of the project was such that it was not projected as an efficiency improving tool alone but was pitched as a product available for purchase (a revenue-generating one). So, as far as challenges were concerned, he not only overcame them but managed to hit them out of the park!
He played a strong and technical role in the firm but he knew he had the ability to scale up and explore the business side of things as well. It was at this time that he began to consider programs that will allow him to bridge the gap between a technical role and a managerial one. Vasishtha found the MSPM program at CMU to be unique and perfectly suited for his situation. This was based on numerous advantages-investment of time, money along with the promise of a great ROI
Vasishtha is on course to completing the MSPM program in 2021. We hope that he achieves his goal of building products that revolutionize and pave the way for a smart and safe future.