When clinical professor and former Google product executive Sara Torti joined Tuck last fall, she envisioned building a course that complements Tuck’s rigorous curriculum with hands-on practical knowledge students can bring to their post-Tuck careers in the continuously evolving and ever-popular technology industry. Product Management for Technology, a minicourse being taught by Torti this spring, seeks to demystify product management for students.
“I want to bring some of my own industry knowledge to the classroom to help students understand the role of a product manager and how to build, scale, and launch products,” says Torti, an industry executive who was formerly COO of the Google Operations Center, led the creation and launch of the Nest app and subscription service, and led the development of “actions” features in Google Maps and Local Search that grew transactions on the platforms from zero to millions per month. “My hope is that students gain a solid knowledge of key product development strategies so they can spot and anticipate problems, recognize growth opportunities, and excel as future leaders in the field.”
To be a product manager takes curiosity, diplomacy, and a lot of grit. There is this very real feeling at Tuck that our students can change the world and aspire to do so. Product management is a role where you can have a profound impact by solving a problem in a very real and tangible way, and I am excited to help our students meet that challenge.
Many students entering technology after Tuck will join companies looking for growth opportunities for existing products, says Torti. Product Management for Technology is unique from other entrepreneurship-focused courses in that it will focus on continued product innovation and scale—how to optimize existing products, grow a userbase, and diversify into adjacent markets. The course blends pre-class assignments with case studies taken from real-world product executives at top tech companies including Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Slack, Uber, Robinhood, and Netflix. Questions the course will address include “What are some of the common strategic, growth, and management challenges PMs face at technology companies?” and “When and how should I execute a product pivot?”
“To be a product manager takes curiosity, diplomacy, and a lot of grit,” says Torti. “There is this very real feeling at Tuck that our students can change the world and aspire to do so. Product management is a role where you can have a profound impact by solving a problem in a very real and tangible way, and I am excited to help our students meet that challenge.”
Another new minicourse at Tuck this spring is AI for Managers taught by visiting professor Dean Alderucci, director of research for the Center for Artificial Intelligence and Patent Analysis at Carnegie Mellon University. His course seeks to arm students with a working knowledge of a technology becoming an integral part of business in the world economy: Artificial Intelligence.
I want students to walk away understanding how, when, and why AI techniques should be used in industries and firms. You don’t need a degree in computer science to understand AI.
“I want students to walk away understanding how, when, and why AI techniques should be used in industries and firms,” says Alderucci. “You don’t need a degree in computer science to understand AI. But future managers need to understand the fundamentals so they can brainstorm new AI solutions and speak with the technical people who will be responsible for implementation.”
Students will also be expected to demonstrate basic programming skills as part of the course. They will have the opportunity to “play with”—a term Alderucci says is common in the AI field—AI software tools and techniques. The course culminates in a final project in which students will be tasked with extracting relevant information from a highly technical paper. Results will be judged by a panel of AI field experts.
Product Management for Technology and AI for Managers are just two of the many new elective courses second-year students can explore at Tuck this year. From the Future of Capitalism to Sustainability Marketing, here’s a closer look at new courses at Tuck this spring.