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Best MBA and Master’s programs in Product Management

Product management involves not only creating products and brands, but also ensuring their success and longevity (A day in the life of a product manager).

The MBA curriculum with a specialization in product management familiarizes the students with the various roles in the life-cycle of a product.

The processes or the various stages involved would vary depending on the type of product. First comes the ideation where you’ll be responsible for gathering new ideas for the product. Then these ideas would be evaluated while touching upon various aspects including – what differentiates them from the ones already in the market and what the USP of this product would be.

Other aspects covered include product demand, targeted customers and how the new product would be able to survive competition and what the revenue-generating potential of this new product would be.

Each new product idea would also be evaluated based on its practicality. Does your company have the resources and expertise needed to develop the new product? What would the development and the associated operational costs be? What would the pricing be?  What would the profit margin be?

Product management also involves managing the marketing strategy and positioning, sales and advertising, getting insights from customer feedback and addressing various issues associated with the product and working towards improving user experience.

Best MBA and Master’s programs in Product Management

Best Masters & MBA programs in Product Management

Following are a few good MBA programs offering product management specialization.

1. NYU Stern

All NYU Stern students graduate with a general-management MBA. Product management is one of the specializations offered, and students can opt for up to three specializations.

Product management at Stern involves courses such as brand strategy, consumer behaviour, new product development, digital marketing, luxury/hi-tech-product marketing, and pricing strategy.

2. Tepper

At Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business, ‘New Product Management’ focuses on strategies for identifying opportunities for the introduction of new products and services into the market, strategize product design, evolve marketing plans for new products, and evaluate new products.

The MBA Track “Management of Innovation and Product Development” equips students with marketing insights and an understanding of innovation strategy and the process of innovation. The course concludes with a corporate-sponsored project where innovation on the part of the students gets a boost. Sponsors have applied for over 15 patents on the projects developed as part of the course.

The product and brand management course offers the student an opportunity to play roles from product assistant to group product manager or marketing VP. Class lectures, case studies, and coursework give the student an idea about the challenges that product managers face.

3. Harvard Business School

At HBS, product management is part of the FIELD (Field Immersion Experiences for Leadership Development) course. The FIELD method involves learning by thinking, doing, and reflecting.

This course is project-based and targeted for those with no prior work experience in this area and those wishing to take a plunge into product development with a start-up or a big tech company. During the term, students would work in groups of 2-3 under a mentor and present five end-products. The projects they’d work on would either be the brainchild of some student (startup ideas) or any application in the development phase by the HBS’s IT staff.

4. MIT Sloan

MIT Sloan’s MBA students can opt for Enterprise management MBA track under which Product/Innovation Management can be chosen as a career path. You’ll get valuable insights and training on managing the product line in an effective manner.

You’ll get familiar with the role a product manager plays in an organisation which not just includes innovation, strategy, and roadmap but also involves leading cross-functional teams from a product’s ideation through its launch.

5. University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business

‘Managing the New Product Development Process’ is one of the courses offered for the MBA students. This course uses various delivery techniques including case studies, student research, reading, guest speakers and applied projects to effectively cover the various phases involved and pick up the required skills for successful product development. As per the official website statistics, 20% of full-time MBA grads choose the marketing stream to become product managers and brand managers.

6. UCLA Anderson

UCLA Anderson MBA has as a part of its marketing courses both product management and the closely related brand management. Product management is about managing the process of developing new products as discussed. Brand management is about managing brand strategies and making branding-related important decisions.

7. University of Texas, at Austin, McCombs School of Business

This business school provides a concentration in brand and product management. The curriculum includes courses in market analysis, brand management, strategic marketing, consumer behaviour/strategy, marketing communications, product development, and corporate governance.

McCombs provides experiential opportunities that enrich the classroom curriculum. The Center for Customer Insight and Marketing Solutions is a forum for interaction between students, marketing faculty, and industry representatives.

At the 2015 McCombs Marketing Conference, a new model to ensure growth in the new dynamic business environment, “whole-brained marketing,” was pursued. Top officials from PepsiCo and Hershey and leaders of IT, analytics, and advertising companies put forth their ideas.

Following a discussion on data visualization and visualization tools, Prof. Art Markman of the UT-Austin Psychology Department observed that marketing experts could help improve creativity at the workplace by using group memory in the ideation process.

8. Northwestern University – Kellogg School of Management

Here, there are numerous course options for those interested in product management, start-ups, tech marketing including some recommended courses like customer analytics, technology for analytics, digital marketing analytics and others that they might consider.

Mohanbir S. Sawhney, a clinical professor of marketing at the Kellogg School of Management has this to say “The product manager must master the art of influence without authority—and that’s not easy”. He adds, “It’s hard for the product manager to get to either the people or the needed information, because so many interfaces are required, with sales, R&D, operations, advertising, finance, the supply chain, and executive management”.

It’s a fact that product management demands excellent leadership skills and team-building ability as the role requires excellent co-ordination with the various teams. The importance of the role in perfecting the central marketing strategy is reflected in the fact that expert brand managers often go on to become CEOs. Product and brand management degree holders are also seen as resourceful assets in advertising and communication consulting.
MBA’s are usually the top recruiter choice for product management jobs. A curriculum in product management prepares the student for key roles that determine the success of a product.

We can conclude that product management professionals need to develop strategic thinking and have a great vision as the success of a product and the future of the business ultimately depends to a great extent on their role in the decision-making process. Due to the nature of the job, product or brand management is recognized as the most valuable function of management across all industries.

Read these related articles on product management.
Resources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

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About Swati
After working for over a decade in technical and managerial roles in the corporate world, Swati now works as a freelancer and writes on a variety of topics including education, career guidance and self-improvement.

9 thoughts on “Best MBA and Master’s programs in Product Management”

  1. dear sameer ,
    Thank you for the useful information . I had done my postgrduation in science in 2006 and since then working in agricomodities trading companies . After almost 10 years of working including 6 years of working abroad I am not getting the growth and feel like going for one year MBA programme in India . Could you suggest good institutes ? Any institute without any entrance exams ?

  2. Hi Sameer,

    I have done diploma. Have work experience of 5yrs as sales & marketing engineer. I want to pursue Executive MBA in marketing. Is my educational criteria enough to apply for it. Also I would like to do it from Mumbai or Pune. Can you suggest best institute options ?

  3. @Rakesh: All the good MBA programs in India and abroad insist on competitive exam scores. This helps them keep the program selectivity and maintain the quality.

    Here’s a list of the top one year MBA programs in India:

    @Pawan: Yes, you should be able to apply to most of the reputed courses. Check the link above for the list.

    Additionally there’s SPJIMR in Mumbai. Here’s a student’s experience:

  4. Hello Mam,

    Really appreciate if you can also mention about the top ranked B-Schools outside US (Asia/ Europe mainly ), which offer the best in Product Management.
    If it helps, I have a 3 year work ex. and I am not looking for Executive MBA degrees.


  5. Hi,

    I have done engineering in CS from a reputed college of India and have work ex of one year in software development job. I am looking forward to roles of product management in the software industry. Could you please recommend MS courses for the same ? Also, at what stage should those courses be done ?

  6. Sameer / Swati: would like to know your thoughts on how several design schools are also pitching PM as a route? Would the career opportunities be very different?

    Personally I also feel it would be interesting to see how a few new programs by the above schools shape up. (Stern Tech MBA, Cornell Tech MBA, Tepper MSPM, Kellogg MMM*)

    *Kellogg MMM has been around but recently rebranded itself with a stronger focus on product management

  7. my daughter has done product design from NIFT mumbai.currently she is working in mnc.she wants to study mba with product design please give advice

  8. Hi,
    I had been doing government job Preparation but now I want to do MBA in marketing management from (Gems b school) university of American heritage University of California
    Is my decision correct?
    Some time I feel scared that if I would not be placed then 4 lac. Rupees is just wastege


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