Engineering Management Courses—Online Program


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 lecture 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. (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. (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. (Fall Semester)

540: Management of High-Tech Industries

Management of High Tech Industries is a case-based course that focuses on managerial decision making and organization building. With an emphasis on professional service firms and high tech companies, students learn the skills to coordinate and leverage human capital. Tactical, operational, and strategic leadership is explored. Other topics include entrepreneurial decision making, performance measures, managerial control, product strategies, management of strategic change, and competitive analysis. 3 credits. (Spring Semester)


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512: Product Management in High Tech Companies

3 credits. (Fall Semester)

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 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 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 product 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.

532: Advanced Finance

3 credits. (Spring Semester)

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. Prerequisites: enrollment in the Master of Engineering Management Program.

534: Quantitative Financial Analysis

3 credits. (Fall Semester)

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.

542: Competitive Strategies

3 credits. Fall and Spring semesters. 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.

560: Project Management

3 credits. (Fall Semester)

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.

562: Operations Management

3 credits. (Fall Semester)

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 to 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.

563: Supply Chain Management

3 credits. (Spring Semester)

A firm's supply chain encompasses all of those processes involving the design, manufacturing, and delivery of a product to the 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 to understand alternative contract structures and other responses that can help mitigate this effect.

572: Innovation Management

3 credits. (Spring Semester)

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: i) understanding the different processes related to innovation in a technology-based firm, ii) how to create a culture of innovation in an organization, iii) the critical role of champions, and iv) key concepts of innovation strategy.

574: Commercializing Technology Innovations

3 credits. (Fall Semester)

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 (e.g., individuals, companies, universities, governments) and many vehicles for commercialization (e.g., 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.

575: Software Quality Management

3 credits. (Fall Semester)

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.

576: Design Thinking and Innovation

3 credits. (Fall Semester)

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-engaged 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.

578: Designing Customer Experiences

3 credits. (Fall Semester)

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 Computer, 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.

580: Decision Models

3 credits. (Spring Semester)

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.

585: Fundamentals of Data Science

3 credits. (Fall Semester)

In this course, students will first learn the fundamentals of data science, including core technical vocabulary and mathematical concepts, through lectures and class discussion. This will include topics such as; (i) Probability through Bayesian inverse probability and maximum likelihood for parameter estimation, (ii) Binary classification, the ROC Curve and Area Under the Curve, the confusion matrix and choice of proper metrics for evaluating and optimizing classifier performance, (iii) Linear regression for forecasting, separating signal from Gaussian noise, (iv) Information measures used in data science, including mutual information, relative entropy (KL divergence), and log loss (cross-entropy), (v) Experimental design, p-values and power calculations (vi) 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. Prior to Fall 2017, this course was listed as "Data Mining."

586: New Opportunities in Big Data

3 credits. (Spring Semester)

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.

Prerequisites: 585: Fundamentals of Data Science, or with prior approval of the instructor.

587: Data Visualization

3 credits. (Spring Semester)

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 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.

588: Machine Learning Principles and Applications

3 credits. (Spring Semester)

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.

590: Managing Product Development

3 credits. (Fall Semester)

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-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.


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The Duke Master of Engineering Management Online program (Duke MEM Online) was previously known as the Distributed Master of Engineering Management program (d-MEMP).