When clinical professor and former Google product manager Sara Torti joined Tuck last fall, she envisioned creating a course that complements Tuck’s rigorous curriculum with practical hands-on knowledge that students can bring to their post-graduate careers. Tuck into the ever-changing and ever-popular tech industry. . Product Management for Technology, a mini-course taught by Torti this spring, seeks to demystify product management for students.
“I want to bring some of my 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 previously COO of Google Operations. Center, led the creation and launch of the Nest app and subscription service, and spearheaded the development of “stocks” features in Google Maps and local search that drove transactions across the platforms of zero to millions per month. “I hope students gain a solid understanding of key product development strategies so they can spot and anticipate problems, recognize opportunities for growth, and excel as future leaders in the field.”
Being a product manager requires curiosity, diplomacy and a lot of courage. There is this very real feeling at Tuck that our students can and aspire to change the world. 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’m excited to help our students meet this challenge.
Many students entering tech 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 continuous product innovation and scale – how to optimize existing products, develop a base of users and diversify into adjacent markets. The course combines pre-course assignments with case studies drawn from real-world product managers at high-tech companies such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Slack, Uber, Robinhood and Netflix. Questions the course will address include “What are some of the common strategy, growth, and management challenges that project managers face in technology companies?” and “When and how should I run a product pivot?”
“To be a product manager, you need curiosity, diplomacy and a lot of courage,” says Torti. “There is this very real feeling at Tuck that our students can and aspire to change the world. 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’m excited to help our students meet this challenge.
Another new mini-course at Tuck this spring is AI for Managers taught by visiting professor Dean Alderucci, director of research for Carnegie Mellon University’s Center for Artificial Intelligence and Patent Analytics. His course aims to equip students with a working knowledge of a technology that is becoming an integral part of doing business in the global economy: artificial intelligence.
I want students to come away understanding how, when and why AI techniques should be used in industries and businesses. You don’t need a degree in computer science to understand AI.
“I want students to come away understanding how, when and why AI techniques should be used in industries and businesses,” 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 think about new AI solutions and talk with the technicians who will be responsible for the 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 that Alderucci says is common in the field of AI – AI software tools and techniques. The course ends with a final project in which students will be tasked with extracting relevant information from a highly technical document. The results will be judged by a panel of experts in the field of AI.
Product Management for Technology and AI for Managers are just two of many new electives sophomores can explore at Tuck this year. From the future of capitalism to sustainable marketing, here’s a look at Tuck’s new courses this spring.