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Management for Scientists and Engineers

Facilitating the transition from scientific to commercialized research.

Our Origin

Successful researchers in engineering and the life and physical sciences face daily challenges: managing and leading teams and budgets, communicating with business-oriented colleagues, and surmounting the hurdles associated with the commercialization of research. But doctoral students in these fields are seldom exposed to these situations before entering academia or industry. To address this gap, The Graduate School has partnered with the Kellogg School of Management to offer a certificate program taught by Kellogg faculty that will equip promising post-candidacy doctoral students with the necessary business and leadership skills.

Our Mission

This intensive eight-week summer certificate program is designed to introduce doctoral students in science, engineering, and medicine to basic business and leadership skills and is a very condensed version of the Kellogg MBA curriculum. Current Northwestern TGS doctoral students who have completed their coursework and qualifying exams are eligible to apply. 

The program will provide the necessary skills to prepare science and engineering students for a variety of career fields including academia, industry, and non-profit and for-profit sectors. These skills include:

  • Applying learned skills immediately in the lab
  • Building connections with students outside of their disciplines
  • Raising awareness of the business side of science

I was really excited about the opportunity to come and try something that was a new way to add on to my education as a scientist that I could use to really drive my job search and to improve the opportunities that were available for me right out of graduate school.”

MSE Alum, Summer 2017

Course Information

The Management for Scientists and Engineers program is open to current doctoral students at the Feinberg School of Medicine, the McCormick School of Engineering, the Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences, and the School of Communication who are post-candidacy at the time of application. We will not accept applications from students attending other universities.

Classes will be held on Tuesdays during eight weeks of the Summer quarter. Students will be introduced to business concepts and specific frameworks for effective management relevant to both for-profit and nonprofit sectors. They will also gain a basic understanding of strategy, finance, risk and uncertainty, marketing, accounting, and leadership.

The academic program changes annually based on feedback from the previous class. This schedule and faculty listing is subject to change for 2024.

Course Calendar

Weekly calendar




Business Economics & Strategy: Students will be introduced to principles and conceptual frameworks for evaluating and formulating business strategy. Topics include the analysis and optimal decisions, consumer choice and the demand for products, market structures and strategic interactions, strategic positioning and competitive advantage, and the role of resources and capabilities in shaping and sustaining competitive advantages.


Accounting for Decision Making: The accounting sessions will cover fundamental accounting concepts and how they manifest themselves in the three primary statements—the balance sheet, the income statement, and the statement of cash flows.

The discussion of basic concepts will lead into some of the most important questions faced by the financial community today: accounting for intangible assets and contingent liabilities, when to recognize revenue, and the tension between cash-basis, accrual-basis, and fair value accounting.

Myriad high profile accounting scandals over the last decade brought into public view the importance of organizational governance and accounting’s central role in the governance process. The Sarbanes-Oxley reforms, fair disclosure regulations, and the role of auditors and audit committees will be discussed.


Entrepreneurship & Innovation: Launching a new venture requires the application of all of the previous topics to create a viable business model. While there's never a magic bullet to guarantee an idea can be successfully commercialized into a billion-dollar business, this session will teach students a framework for identifying, testing and measuring critical assumption in order to "fail fast" and iterate increasing the likelihood of commercial success.


Finance: These sessions will focus on cost of capital, forecasting cash flows and evaluation of investment projects. Firms make investments any time they spend money with the expectation of return in the future, not just when they invest in traditional instruments.

One of the key determinants of the value of an investment is the cost of capital. Just as firms consider the cost of raw materials and labor, they should also consider the cost of capital when making investment decisions. These sessions will help students understand how risk is measured by investors and the market and thus how it is priced.

Participants will learn how to estimate the future expected cash flows generated by the investment by valuing a product extension of a large food concern.


Management of Intellectual Property: These sessions will discuss the importance of intellectual capital for competitive advantage.

With globalization, intangible assets such as human capital, intellectual property, brands and relationships have become the dominant proportion of a firm's market capitalization. Yet most firms do a poor job of managing this intellectual capital strategically.

This course will adopt a "lifecycle" approach to the management of an intellectual asset, covering the creation of the intellectual asset, the codification of the asset in the form of intellectual property (IP), the valuation of intellectual assets, the protection of intellectual assets, and leveraging of intellectual assets into future markets for growth.


Strategies for Leading and Managing Organizations: A series of topics will be covered that will provide students with the social science tools needed to solve organizational problems and influence the actions of individuals, groups and organizations. They will be taught to understand how to best organize and motivate the human capital, manage social networks and alliances, and execute strategic change. This will be accomplished through knowledge of competitive decision making, reward system design, team building, negotiation, strategic organizational design and leadership, all of which will be covered in detail.


Marketing Management: Marketing is essential for success in any organization; the ability to turn ideas into products and services that people actually want to buy is a core skill for managers. The marketing sessions will focus on building marketing and marketing strategy skills. They will also cover critical fundamental concepts and apply them to a variety of situations, including customer advantage, differentiation, the 4Ps, segmentation, targeting, and positioning.



Operation Management: The goal of these sessions is to introduce a supply chain framework and highlight the importance of strategic fit. In particular, the focus will be on building supply chain capabilities for different stages of product life cycle. A simulation will be used to demonstrate the challenges in making operational decisions.



Risk and Uncertainty: These sessions will provide frameworks for reasoning about decisions in uncertain environments. Case studies will be used to motivate the importance of probabilistic reasoning to avoid the systematic biases that cloud decision making.

Formal probabilistic tools will be introduced and their relevance to modern business issues is conveyed. Some of the applications include inventory management with uncertain demand, selection bias, rare events, real options and risk. Statistical techniques will be used to analyze relationships.



The 2023 MSE certificate program will be held from June 13 – August 1, 2023. Applications for the summer 2023 MSE cohort are now closed. Participants will be notified of the acceptance results by May 12Applications for the summer 2024 cohort will launch in February 2024.