MIT Sloan School of Management Announces New Digital Product Management Certificate

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., March 10, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — MIT Sloan School of Management today announced the launch of its new Digital Product Management Certificate program, created in response to growing demand from students and employers. The certificate is available to students enrolled in MIT Sloan graduate programs.

Product managers perform a number of important and complex roles, overseeing the design, engineering, marketing and launching processes of a product. Research from McKinsey & Company indicates that the role of the product manager is growing and evolving, with an increased emphasis on understanding the customer and using machine learning tools designed to augment decision making. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of global tech leaders surveyed in the IEEE’s Impact of Technology 2022 and Beyond survey say recruiting for open tech roles, requiring technology, business and leadership skills, will be difficult.

“The field of product management has changed dramatically, largely because of the need to bring value to software,” says Vivek Farias, Patrick J. McGovern (1959) Professor at MIT Sloan and responsible for the faculty of this certificate program. “It’s not just an engineering task, and often the types of problems solved with software can’t be defined right away. It’s an art to be able to manage a complex, iterative process and “learn from the market, while not spending too much time or money. Good product managers are experts in this art.”

Farias describes this certificate as “very MIT programme”, in that it reflects from MIT motto of lie and manus (“mind and hand”). Students begin the program with a month of work on an actual product team at one of approximately fifty MIT Sloan partner companies, which span a wide range of sizes. After that, students start classes in which they acquire a wide variety of skills and understanding. For example, students can undertake a project in which they create a functional URL shortener on Google Cloud, as part of an exercise to better understand the challenges faced by those who actually create the software product.

“We are seeing phenomenal growth in product management careers,” says Mark NewhallDirector of Employer Relations and Recruitment at MIT Sloan’s Office of Career Development.

“Employers are looking for product managers who possess both strong tactical execution and leadership skills. This new certificate will allow students to differentiate themselves as having a serious interest in pursuing a career in product management.”

Newhall notes that product management (related to finance) is now the second most popular job function for MIT Sloan graduates. For those entering the tech sector – which accounted for about a quarter of the school’s MBA ’21 graduates – it’s the most popular career function. Between 2012 and 2020, the number of MIT Sloan graduates in full-time product management positions more than doubled. MIT Sloan’s Digital Product Management Lab (PM-Lab), one of MIT Sloan’s action-learning labs that enables students to integrate classroom learning with real-world management challenges , has seen the number of student applications increase by 7.5 times between 2018 and 2021. Most PM Lab participants then recruit for product management roles during the summer and full-time.

The new Digital Product Management Certificate consists of 12 required course units, including the DPM Lab and Digital Product Management Core Class, and the 27 subject area elective course units, which include Operations and Product Development , product strategy, marketing and sales, and finance.

Steve Dada serial entrepreneur who has built B2B products and businesses creating $100 billion of maximum market cap, and who regularly lectures in MIT Sloan’s digital product management class with Farias, highlights the outsized role that product managers now play in the success of tech companies. “Product managers are the backbone of a technology company’s success to a much greater extent than the historic role of the CEO in the last century,” he says.

“MIT Sloan is excited to offer this new certificate program, which builds on our already popular product management offerings,” says Jake Cohen, Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate and Masters Programs at MIT Sloan. “This certificate positions our students for success in product management roles.”

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