Product managers have been around for a while now. They are the people that companies put in control of launching a new product, which includes identifying good ideas, developing these ideas into actual products or services, and then putting them out into the world in such a way that they become successful and profitable.
But though people have been acting as product managers for decades, it is only recently that institutions have begun offering degree programs specifically designed for these very important positions. Because of this, there are relatively few programs out there. Instead of getting a degree in Product Management, students would complete a degree in Business, Management, or Marketing – often with focuses on more than one of these – and work their way up to a product manager position over time by gaining real-world experience on the job.
Today’s companies want more, though. They not only expect you to pay your dues by working your way up the corporate ladder – at least at the larger companies – many want you to come into their organization having the specific skills and knowledge that you can only get by studying product management in school.
Luckily for you, the relative scarcity of these programs means that if you do get a degree specific to product management, your resume will stand out for companies looking to hire people with that skill set!
Here are some of the best programs currently out there:
1. The University of Wisconsin’s Center for Brand and Product Management.
The first and still one of the only universities in the United States to not only offer certificates in Product Management, but also devote an MBA curriculum to it – you can earn a Master of Science in New Product Management. This Center was opened in 2002 by the creator of Quicken and TurboTax, and it blends typical classroom curriculum with applied learning. Lots of product management companies are on their Advisory Board, so getting a Product Management MBA here is sure to make companies take notice.
2. The University of Washington.
Though they do not have a degree in Product Management, the University of Washington has certificate programs that teach you similar skills and knowledge that most of today’s companies will find invaluable. Product Design and Development has a focus on how deliverables, engineering processes, design, and market opportunities are interrelated. This helps students to create products that are valuable and sustainable. Their programs also show students how they can work with and lead a team in a business environment that is beholden to deadlines and budgetary constraints.
3. The University of Southampton’s Winchester School of Art.
This UK school offers a one-year MA program in Luxury Brand Management. It’s primarily focused on the fashion world, and explores not only the design and development of a single product but an entire brand. Students learn how to make the best and most successful luxury goods in terms of materials, design, and marketing.
4. The University of Dublin School of Business.
Earn an M.Sc. in just one year – without even needing significant business studies as a part of your undergraduate degree. This program at the University of Dublin will provide you with a general business overview as well as focusing on several aspects of product management such as working with a team, managing resources, and knowing how to market your product.
5. Regents College London’s Department of Business.
An MA that can be earned in 12 to 16 months, Luxury Brand Management at Regents College will teach you how to define and implement product and brand strategy for companies on a regional and international level. Employing both a practical and theoretical approach, students will learn how to define consumer desires on a cultural level and use market research to help design and develop appropriate products while working in a team.
6. The University of Queensland, Australia.
Want to know how to organize and manage your resources so that you can create a new product and get it out onto shelves in time and on budget? Then you should look into getting a master’s degree from Queensland. Their 24-unit program lasts a year and a half and will provide you with membership and accreditation professional Australian business organizations.
About the author: Mathew Ellis is a renowned writer with years covering education and collegiate topics. When he’s not writing, you can find him covering Jobs in sales or crafting his own sailboat that he hopes to have in the water by the end of the year.