“Most MBA programs offer a concentration, but a technology concentration is a few courses at best.
I think EMTM is a unique program and it was really the top choice for what
I want to do.”
Ying Xu, MS, EMTM’10
Principal Engineer Team Leader
Becton, Dickinson and Company
Franklin Lakes, NJ
Ying Xu, MS, EMTM’10
Ying’s two engineering Master’s degrees from the University of Illinois, in materials science and electrical engineering, served her well in her technical work in product development and emerging technology in the medical device arena. But she realized that having a great technology background was not always enough to ensure successful development. “A lot of great technologies end up in failure and can’t be commercialized. Understanding the business side of technology is very important,” she says. As a principal engineer team leader, she decided to enroll in EMTM to shore up her business skills. During her first year of the program, her responsibilities at Becton, Dickinson and Company were expanded. Ying is now more involved in strategic planning and assessing emerging markets such as China, and, with her newly acquired skills from EMTM, she plans to continue moving toward the strategic side of the company.
Ying looked at traditional MBA programs and visited a few schools, but she quickly determined that this kind of traditional program was too limited for her needs. “Most MBA programs offer a concentration, but a technology concentration is a few courses at best. I think EMTM is a unique program and it was really the top choice for what I want to do. Not only does it create tight links between business and technology, but it emphasizes the commercial aspects of getting a good idea off the ground which is really the difference between invention and innovation.” The relatively easy commute from New Jersey and the prestige of Penn and Wharton’s reputation made her decision to attend an easy one.
Through her classmates and EMTM’s experienced and accomplished faculty, Ying has gained insight into how different industries approach disciplines such as marketing, R&D management and operations, and through a New Ventures seminar she has also developed an appreciation for the entrepreneurial aspects of R&D. “Whether I ever have my own company, these are important fundamentals for branching out with a new technology and they’re very relevant to the work I do today.”
In both the core curriculum and her electives, Ying has found a multitude of applications to her day-to-day responsibilities. “Operations helped me understand, from a product development standpoint, how to make a new product manufacture-able. I have a better grasp on the economics.”
Classes like Decision Models and Finance have given Ying the tools to quantitatively analyze her company’s R&D portfolio and make projections about its value in the future. “There is always risk involved but with these tools you can make some informed assumptions. Our products are constantly under review and we set priorities each year about short term and longer-term projects. I feel more prepared to participate in that discussion.”
Though she is still heavily involved in new technology development, Ying sees increased responsibilities and an emerging role in the company’s strategic side. “I can now understand the senior management perspective, and that allows me to provide input on business models. Overall, EMTM has been very valuable. I now look at things at a higher level.”