Engineering Management Course Descriptions—Campus Program

Core Courses

510: Marketing

This course examines core concepts in marketing and marketing-oriented management. It develops competence in the use of modern marketing techniques and their application in the design, development, and commercialization of new products and services in rapidly changing markets. The class combines lectures and cases, many of which focus on technology-based products and services. Students learn the frameworks for analyzing market opportunities and product potential. Other topics include consumer behavior, product management, pricing strategies, direct and online selling, branding, channel management, and promotions. 3 credits.

  • Offered: Fall Semester

520: Intellectual Property, Business Law, and Entrepreneurship

Intellectual Property, Business Law, and Entrepreneurship provide students with the legal and fundamentals to protect their business ventures and intellectual property. The course is divided into three modules. The first module focuses on the implication of decisions made at the formation of business ventures. The second module focuses on the patent process in which students write their own patents. The third module focuses on the strengths and weaknesses of patents, copyrights, and trade secrets. Other topics include principle-agent relations, governance of small companies, mergers and acquisitions, contract law, patents in foreign countries, and corporate take-overs. 3 credits.

  • Offered: Spring Semester

530: Finance in High-Tech Industries

Review basic concepts of financial accounting and finance, with an emphasis on accounting needed for effective financial analysis. Focus on issues of finance in high-tech industries. Emphases will include project financing, notions of options as applied to internal financial analysis, allocation of costs and revenues for new high tech projects, valuing projects and valuing firms when intellectual assets are a significant portion of total level value; corporate control in high tech firms. Finance issues in mergers, acquisitions, and alliances. 3 credits.

  • Offered: Fall Semester

540: Management of High-Tech Industries

The purpose of this course is to empower students to become collaborative, ethical leaders in the globalized, 21st-century workplace. Students learn concepts and practice skills that will enable them to transition from being an engineering sole contributor to managing and leading others as a business professional. Students gain a sound understanding of management and leadership; increase awareness of their own management and leadership styles; build and practice competencies essential for team success (e.g., effective communication, collaboration, conflict resolution); and become ethical leaders above reproach. Emphasis is on leading teams in a volatile, complex and interdependent world. 3 credits.

  • Offered: Spring Semester


See elective tracks »

512: Product Management in High-Tech Companies

In today's international high-tech business environment, the Product Manager is considered the CEO of their company's particular product or service. Central to creating customer value are a firm's product innovations and its portfolio of products and services. It is essential that the Product Manager understands the need to identify and develop strategies that capitalize on the firm's unique capabilities and provide value to the customer.

In this course, we will explore the entire product management challenge in a way that goes beyond the typical MBA product marketing and brand management course with an emphasis on managing products & services in a high-tech environment. We believe that it is essential that our graduates understand all elements of product management including problem identification, market opportunity analysis, customer needs analysis, product strategy development, technology & product road mapping, product development, competitive analysis, product sales & marketing, brand management, financial management, and product life cycle management. The course places emphasis on developing specific strategies to support new and existing products and to help develop and manage a portfolio of products and services. This engineering management elective will provide an in-depth exposure to the analyses, decisions, and implementation issues relevant to a typical product manager in a high-tech company and help prepare you for your first industry product management opportunity. A successful product manager needs a broad set of skills and this course is the first step in helping you develop those skills. Your new skills will be developed using a mix of individual and team-based assignments, case analysis and presentations, computer simulations and projects.

By the end of this course, you should be able to:

  • Perform a wide range of analyses involved in managing products and services
  • Understand the essential elements of product management in a high-tech environment
  • Develop product plans, product strategies, and supporting tactical plans
  • Propose and justify marketing plans for a specific product or service
  • Understand the interface challenges between the marketing, sales, engineering, operations and management teams
  • Develop a strong understanding of the issues central to product management
  • Present coherent, concise analysis of business cases

3 credits.

Offered: Fall Semester

514: Negotiation/Consultative Sales

Success in business is dependent upon the ability to positively communicate with and influence others to accomplish a goal. To paraphrase a famous quote by Thomas Watson of IBM on this topic, nothing happens in business until a negotiation is successfully completed or a sale is made. Whether we realize it or not, we are all negotiating or selling in many aspects of our lives. From making a decision that affects internal operations within our company, presenting a proposal to our boss, or closing a sale with a major client, it is important to have a suite of skills that allow us to achieve our objectives. This course covers these two primary areas of influence and communication within a business—negotiations and consultative selling (working collaboratively with others to effectively meet the needs of a target customer). These are both highly dynamic areas of personal impact that focus on one's abilities to understand a situation and then construct the negotiation or sales process most needed for success in value creation and goal attainment. This course covers the structured processes, theoretical constructs, and practical applications that lead to success in both these areas. The course also explores ethical considerations in both disciplines. 3 credits.

  • Offered: Spring semester

532: Advanced Finance for Technology-Based Companies

The focus of this course will be on major financial decisions of established technology corporations as well as entrepreneurial ventures. Analytical models and theories will be covered via problems and cases. Specific areas will include asset management, short-term and long-term borrowing, advanced capital budgeting strategies, determination of capital structure, dividend policy, international issues, and mergers and other forms of restructuring. 3 credits.

  • Prerequisites: Enrollment in the Duke Master of Engineering Management Program
  • Offered: Spring Semester

534: Quantitative Financial Analysis

A beginner's introduction to the most important concepts used in quantitative finance. Students will learn to build practical financial models using MS Excel spreadsheets, and no prior knowledge of finance or of MS Excel is assumed. Investment banks, hedge funds, and money managers make buy and sell decisions based on computational models. Computers can and do execute buy and sell orders in a completely automated fashion based on pre-programmed parameters. This course starts with the most basic, and most important, portfolio and investment models used to evaluate risk and identify profit opportunities. Using Excel, students will learn how to build these models themselves, and to understand the decision-making inputs used by professional investors. The course has a practical focus: How to analyze prices of stocks, bonds, options and other financial instruments using the types of computationally sophisticated tools in wide use today. Prior to Fall 2020, this course was listed as "Computational Finance." 3 credits.

  • OfferedFall Semester

542: Competitive Strategies

Why do some ideas succeed in the marketplace, and others fail? The answer often boils down to strategy. This course is designed to teach the elements of competitive strategy with a focus on the special considerations of technology-based companies, with particular emphasis on innovation and entrepreneurial activities in ventures of all sizes. Students will gain an appreciation for the strategic considerations that affect the success of technology-based products in the marketplace through systematic exposure to key concepts in analysis, formulation, and execution of strategic options. The course is structured along the lines that a company or organization would likely follow in the development of a competitive strategy. 3 credits.

  • Offered: Fall and Spring Semesters

556: Consulting or Industrial Practicum

A practicum provides a real-life view of challenges faced by organizations. Projects at the intersection of engineering and business are chosen. Students work in teams and will conduct a mentored, semester-long project for an organization.

The learning objectives of this course include:

  1. Learn how engineering and technology impact organizations and how they are integrated into an organization to achieve desired results
  2. Understand, through an experiential environment, how organizations function and the difference between theory and implementation in an organizational setting; and
  3. Develop team-based skills in an applied environment and learn how to communicate technical issues to a variety of personnel in an organization.

Practicum topics are announced during the first week of classes and students must apply to be in the courses, with multiple sections covering various projects each semester.

3 credits.

  • Offered: Fall and Spring semesters

560: Project Management

Projects are one of the key mechanisms for achieving organizational goals and implementing change, whether it is the design and launch of a new product, the construction of a new building, or the development of a new information system. This course will focus on defining project scope, developing project plans, managing project execution, validating project performance and ensuring project control. Additional topics covered include decision making, project finance, project portfolio selection, and risk management. 3 credits.

  • Offered: Fall and Spring semesters

562: Operations Management

Operations management involves planning and controlling the processes used to produce the goods and services provided by an organization. In essence, it is the management of all activities related to doing the actual work of the organization. Managing these processes can be quite challenging—they are often very complex and can involve large numbers of people and facilities, huge volumes of materials and great distances.

Objectives of the course are to:

  1. Introduce students to the functional area of operations and increase their awareness of how a firm's operations interface with the other functional areas of the organization
  2. Familiarize students with the various issues and problems that traditionally arise in the management of operations within both manufacturing and service organizations
  3. Acquaint students with some of the terminology, modeling, and methodologies that often arise in the handling and resolution of operations issues and problems.

3 credits.

  • OfferedFall Semester

563: Supply Chain Management

A firm's supply chain encompasses all of those processes involving the design, manufacturing, and delivery of a product to end-customers. In the last 20 years, a combination of industry innovation, new technologies, and academic research has led to substantial growth in our knowledge and in our ability to manage supply chains. Companies in many sectors have realized both the synergies and the efficiencies that can be gained from solving supply chain problems, and have realized the competitive edge that effective supply chain management provides.

The objectives of this course are two-fold:

  1. To develop conceptual and modeling skills, and to provide practical problem-solving tools, applicable to the design and analysis of supply chains
  2. Identify how the existence of multiple (distinct) decision-makers in the supply chain can create misaligned incentives that harm supply chain performance, and then understand alternative contract structures and other responses that can help mitigate this effect

3 credits.

  • OfferedSpring Semester

572: Innovation Management

This course takes students through a variety of issues related to managing innovation in the context of a technology-based organization. This includes managing know-how and innovation processes as well as creating an organizational culture that fosters and supports innovation. Students study best practices and benchmarks but must develop their own approach to managing innovation given each unique situation, including the organizational strategy, the competitive landscape, the strengths/weaknesses of the employees involved, etc. Nonetheless, there are accepted practices and concepts that will help guide students in developing a deeper understanding of this area.

Learning objectives include:

  • Understanding the different processes related to innovation in a technology-based firm
  • How to create a culture of innovation in an organization
  • The critical role of champions
  • Key concepts of innovation strategy

3 credits.

  • Offered: Spring Semester

574: Commercializing Tech Innovations

This course is designed to demystify and unify the journey from idea creation to value extraction through the use of concrete tools and real-world exercises. Innovations have many sources (for example, individuals, companies, universities, governments) and many vehicles for commercialization (for example, licensing, new products, enhanced products, and new ventures). Through this course, students will learn to think more broadly about innovation and commercialization options and strategies. 3 credits.

  • OfferedFall Semester

575: Software Quality Management

This class will introduce students to five different business personas that play a key role in the software development lifecycle. These are customer, software engineer, software release/quality manager, customer support engineer, and general manager. The students will better appreciate the perspectives that each of these personas brings to their role and how that affects the "delivered" quality that customers actually experience. The course will also help students understand how to assess customer business outcomes, expectations and measure customer experience. Finally, the class will provide exposure to current industry practices and include guest speakers who can give real-world examples relevant to software quality management. 3 credits.

  • Offered: Fall Semester

576: Design Thinking and Innovation

The success of established companies and entrepreneurial ventures depends upon their ability to identify customer needs and then develop products and services that meet these needs in an affordable and effective manner. A disciplined design thinking process leads to successful innovations, particularly with regard to value creation and market impact. Starting with an understanding of empathy, ethnography, and interviewing techniques, moving on to the iterative process of defining, ideating, prototyping, and testing, and then developing final designs, this course is a highly engaging opportunity for students to develop a deep set of skills in design thinking and innovation and includes current approaches such as agile development, biodesign, and lean startup. 3 credits.

Offered: Fall Semester

578: Designing Customer Experiences

In a rapidly changing and competitive global market, businesses must address complex cross-discipline questions such as "how do I successfully distinguish my business from competitors?" to remain relevant. Increasingly, the quality of a business' “user experience" offerings provide the key to securing loyal customer relationships and sustainable market differentiation. Companies such as Apple, Starbucks and Amazon understand that compelling customer experience is contained not only in the physical products they create but also in a system of complementary interactions and services. Effective customer experiences are not created by chance - they are designed. This endeavor requires systematic observation, evaluation, visualization, planning, prototyping and principled iteration to be successful. In this course, students are introduced to foundational design techniques and use case study discussions, readings, and hands-on projects to form an action framework and ‘personal toolkit’ for designing compelling customer experiences. In addition, students flesh out this framework through project-based assignments and presentations applying the principles of design thinking, human factors, design for usability, and interaction design to analyze, create, and present effective customer experience solutions. 3 Credits

  • Offered: Fall semester

579: Using Real-Time Data to Improve Customer Quality Experience

Telemetry is the remote collection of data that is collected and analyzed to turn data into actional insights. For software quality, telemetry is important for its use to drive continuous improvements in product quality and customer experience. The real-time nature of the data and the advent of machine-learning algorithms have set the stage for a new era of adaptive customer experience. Telemetry is a by-product of today’s technology trends like digitization and the Internet of Things, and the class will cover the concepts behind these trends as they affect the global economy and drive changes in customer expectations, value delivery and business modes across industries. Leveraging telemetry requires a solid foundation on data. Therefore, this class will provide a strong understanding of basic concepts such as data structures, database types, big data, data quality, and data security. 3 credits.

Offered: Fall Semester

580: Decision Models

Successful management requires the ability to recognize a decision situation, understand its essential features, and make a choice. However, many of these situations—particularly those involving uncertainty and/or complex interactions - may be too difficult to grasp intuitively, and the stakes may be too high to learn by experience. This course introduces spreadsheet modeling, simulation, decision analysis, and optimization to represent and analyze such complex problems. The skills learned in this course are applicable in almost all aspects of business and should be helpful in future courses. 3 credits.

  • Offered: Fall and Spring semesters

585: Fundamentals of Data Science

In this course, students will first learn the fundamentals of data science, including core technical vocabulary and mathematical concepts, through lectures and class discussions. This will include topics such as:

  1. Probability through Bayesian inverse probability and maximum likelihood for parameter estimation
  2. Binary classification, the ROC Curve and Area Under the Curve, the confusion matrix and choice of proper metrics for evaluating and optimizing classifier performance
  3. Linear regression for forecasting, separating signal from Gaussian noise
  4. Information measures used in data science, including mutual information, relative entropy (KL divergence), and log loss (cross-entropy)
  5. Experimental design, p-values and power calculations
  6. The distinct roles of training and test data, using Hoeffding's inequality to forecast error rates on out-of-sample data

Students will have the opportunity to apply the above concepts to real-world data while developing their own models for probabilistic forecasting. 3 credits.

  • Offered: Fall Semester

586: New Opportunities in Big Data

This course is intended for students who have a strong interest in the IT infrastructure of Big Data.

Topics covered include:

  1. Advanced data-mining methods now possible in business and research
  2. Introduction to software for data-visualization and pattern recognition in Big Data
  3. Information Architecture of the Big Data Cloud—Introduction to the latest technologies for distributed data storage, indexing, search, retrieval, and analysis

Limited to a maximum of 20 students. 3 credits.

  • Prerequisites: 585: Fundamentals of Data Science, or with prior approval of the instructor
  • Offered: Spring Semester

587: Data Visualization

This course teaches how to use data visualizations to improve communication. We will learn best practices for presenting the kind of discoveries and “calls to action” that are the primary aims of business data analysis. Everyone who completes the course will be able to make beautiful and effective data visualizations.  

We will begin by learning about human visual perception, in particular, the science of how the choice of color, form and other design elements can assist in pre-attentive information processing. We will consider the origins of modern data visualization in the pre-computer age, starting with the use of overlay maps, and Galton’s Quincunx and Correlation Diagram.  

We will learn to recognize the 60 or so most commonly utilized types of data-visualization metaphor, as well as rules of thumb for which are the most appropriate and effective to apply to different types of data analysis.

Students will learn to create their own visualizations using publicly available data and free software tools. Students are not required or expected to have any prior software experience. The course has no prerequisites. 3 credits.

  • Offered: Spring semester

588: Machine Learning Principles and Applications

This course focuses on understanding how machine learning (ML) works, and case studies of its successful application to a wide range of problem types, from better forecasting customer behavior to playing Go, to responding appropriately to human speech. Students will learn the basic mathematical principles behind establishing reliable ML performance and have an opportunity to experiment with various ML algorithms and observe how they perform on real-world data. The course does not require any prior programming experience. 3 credits.

  • Offered: Spring semester

590.XX: AI in Practice

This course focuses on the implementation via programming of the end-to-end machine learning modeling process, taught in a case-based format where students gain deeper experience in applying the concepts learned in other introductory machine learning courses on real-world scenarios in industrial domains.  The course will be taught in Python, as the language used today by the vast majority of teams in industry working with data modeling.  The content will consist of case studies drawing on real-world, often messy datasets which will reinforce students’ programming skills in cleaning, exploring and visualizing data, applying machine learning algorithms, and interpreting and validating results in the context of solving business problems.  Programming assignments will expose students to several of the commonly used existing tools and libraries for implementing ML.

As pre-requisite requirements, students are expected to possess a foundational level of proficiency in Python programming, including numerical programming libraries such as Numpy and Pandas, and should have taken at least one prior machine learning introductory course.

This course is open to any graduate student from any department within the Pratt School of Engineering who meets prerequisite requirements.  Undergraduates who meet the prerequisite requirements may register for the course with instructor permission. 3 credits.

  • Offered: Fall semester

590.XX: Engineering Entrepreneurship

This highly interactive, team-based course (students, instructor, and guest lecturers) is centered on learning how to identify and analyze technology with credible commercial potential, develop the elements of a start-up business around the technology, understand the market opportunity, and explore the financial aspects of launching such a venture. Real ideas are sourced from university technology transfer offices, from existing companies, imported by a student or groups of students, or other sources. Past projects have included ones in IT, medical (drugs, drug delivery, devices, services), chemistry, consumer products, environmental, and needs in under-developed countries. A set (2 to 4) of potential technologies will be accessed by each Team (usually 3-4 students) and a process undertaken to decide which opportunity is the strongest. That opportunity will then be developed during the semester, ending with an investor-quality presentation, a concise business plan, and top-level financials. In short, the course will take you through the key, common steps of forming a technology-based business as well as the uncommon steps that may be unique to each opportunity. A strong emphasis is placed on real-world experiential teaching, involving people who have "been there/done that," and student participation from class Q&A, formal presentations, and cross-team critiques. 3 credits.

  • Offered: Spring semester

590.XX: Intellectual Asset Management

All major corporations, mid-sized firms, and small or start-up ventures including University efforts involved in any technology field have basic needs that include considering all forms of intangible assets. The field of intellectual property and the associated need to value that intellectual property has evolved to the point that all Merger and Acquisition (M&A), venture capital, and R&D activities should include a thorough understanding and review of patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, etc. to strategically determine how to proceed with these activities. A complete review of the US and international patent processes including writing and obtaining a patent, licensing and licensing negotiations, technology transfer, as well as a full understanding of valuation and valuation techniques to manage the intellectual property (IAM—Intellectual Asset Management) are the primary focal activities of this course. Students normally work in teams with existing technologies to develop an IP portfolio, which is valued and presented at the end of the semester. 3 credits.

  • Offered: Spring Semester

590.XX: Managing Product Design

Managing Product Design: Concept to Realization is an opportunity for students to gain practical experience creating a business and managing a design team that produces a real product under realistic cost, schedule, and performance constraints. Students will form a semester-long “company” that will create coherent business and technical strategies, and design, build, and demonstrate a functional product prototype. Teams will be assisted by managing external technical resources and receiving feedback and guidance from an advisory board.
Objectives: Provide students “a real-life as possible” end-to-end product design and development management experience with responsibilities in business operations and technical management, spanning conceptual design to detailed design, delivery, and presentation; Opportunity to gain realistic experience building a tangible and functional software and electro-mechanical consumer product under market, technical, schedule, and budgetary constraints; Offer project-based experience directly managing designers and other technical specialists; and Provide students with direct experience in considering and managing “Design-for-X” (DfX) tradeoffs including, cost, manufacturability, repair/reuse, and environmental factors.3 credits.

  • Offered: Spring Semester

590.XX: Managing Product Development

How do companies ensure innovative ideas are transformed into a product or service? Irrespective of their size, location, number of employees, revenue margin, or industry segment, all companies transform their innovative strategies into real-world products/services. Some companies have well-defined transformation steps that they call product/service development process; others simply just do whatever it takes without organized planning. But in general, they all go through major iterative phases such as discovery, definition, development, demonstration, qualification, deployment, and life cycle management. Furthermore, there are factors that impact all these phases such as the source of funding, people relations, supply chain, design/development tools, time constraints, internal/external regulations, etc. Adequate management of these factors enables the development process to be executed on time and on a budget in order to meet customer needs and stakeholders' expectations. This course intends to provide an understanding of the product/ service/development process elements and the factors influencing the execution of the process. 3 credits.

  • Offered: Fall Semester

590.XX: Marketing, Analytics & Research

This course is designed for students interested in pursuing a career as a marketing data analyst or marketing researcher. Upon taking the course, students will master key concepts and applications of marketing data analytics through hands-on practice and case studies. Students will gain exposure to different marketing data sources and learn how to use analytic techniques to segment markets, determine pricing strategy, forecast sales, find new customers, retain and target existing customers, recommend products, measure advertising effectiveness, and gain insights into surveys and social networks. This course is open to students who have taken at least one undergraduate statistics course or "Mastering Data Analysis in Excel" on Coursera. 3 credits.

  • Offered: Fall Semester

590.XX: Software Management Fundamentals

Students learn the application of a systematic, disciplined approach to the development, operation, and maintenance of software using the Agile manifesto principles. Software engineering management is the discipline that provides knowledge, tools, and methods for managing the software requirements, performing software design, development, test, and maintenance tasks. At the end of this course, students will be able to: Understand the software development life cycle (SDLC), Discern the different methods to manage the SDLC such as: Waterfall, Agile & DevOps, Software Development personas and tips for successful team management, Software Product definitions, Agile Software Development methods with focus: Scrum & Kanban, Build and manage an Agile Software release plan, Use DevOps code life cycle tool for code & version management, Incorporate a release plan within the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFE), and software solution metrics & risks. Understanding software management concepts will allow students to be ready to take on responsibilities such as software development team management, project management, Agile development team management, Software Product Manager, or other related job roles in the Information Technology industry. Most importantly, it will provide them with the basis for future senior executive management roles such as CIO, CTO given the critical thinking and decision-making skills in a technology-based setting learned in class. 3 credits.

  • Offered: Fall Semester

590.XX: Sourcing Data for Analytics

In practice within industry, one of the main activities, and challenges, in implementing machine learning applications is collecting data to use in modeling.  This course introduces students to the technical and also the non-technical (business, regulatory, ethical) aspects of collecting, cleaning, and preparing data for use in analytics applications.  Technical aspects covered will include types of data, methods of sourcing data via the web, APIs, and from domain-specific sensors and hardware (IoT devices), an increasingly common source of analytics data in technical industries.  The course also introduces methods and tools for evaluating the quality of data, performing exploratory data analysis, and pre-processing data for use in analytics.  Students will build skills in numerical programming via hands-on work with industry-standard Python libraries for cleaning and manipulating data.  Legal and ethical aspects covered include an introduction to data privacy, GDPR, regulatory issues, bias, and industry-specific concerns regarding data usage.

As a pre-requisite requirement, students are expected to possess a foundational level of proficiency in Python programming. 

This course is open to graduate students from any department within Pratt who meet the pre-requisite requirements.  Undergraduates who meet the pre-requisite requirements may register for the course with instructor permission.

3 credits.

  • Offered: Fall Semester

590.XX: Uncertainty, Design, and Optimization

Principles of design as a creative and iterative process involving problem statements, incomplete information, conservative assumptions, constraining regulations, and uncertain operating environments. Parameterization of costs and constraints and formulation of constrained optimization problems. Analytical and numerical solutions to constrained optimization problems. Evaluation of design solutions via sensitivity and risk analysis. Application to design problems in civil and environmental engineering. 3 credits.

Offered: Spring Semester

591: Independent Study

Students may set up an independent study for a topic of their choosing. It is the responsibility of the student to find a professor that is willing to lead the independent study. Some popular independent studies in the past have included Global Engineering Education, the Duke Smart Home, Duke Virtual Reality, and technology assessment with the Research Triangle Institute. 3 credits.

  • Offered: Fall and Spring semesters

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