After eight years of planning, UCSB’s Technology Management Program has finally achieved full academic program status, meaning that as of fall 2014 students can earn a business degree for the first time in university history.
TMP is an academic curriculum at UCSB that teaches students the organizational and entrepreneurial processes of business so that they can be used for the economically successful marketing of new discoveries in science and engineering. This will be the first professional degree program offered at UCSB.
Entrepreneur, investor and UCSB alumnus Steve Cooper said TMP gives students a competitive edge in utilizing technical knowledge in science and engineering and applying it to fruitful business ventures.
“Individuals who’ve gone through this program got jobs that they wouldn’t have gotten if not for TMP,” Cooper said. “Scientists and engineers are not so savvy on business programs. TMP gives them that ability, to have both technology background and an understanding of the business process.”
According to Cooper, TMP stemmed from the Center for Entrepreneurship and Engineering Management in 1998. Since its transformation to the TMP, the program has looked to recruit professors who are venture capitalists, have business backgrounds, are involved in a company and are recognized by the academic community.
“In the engineering area, many are not used to business people being in the academic community. You have to publish works to be a recognized academic, and it’s different in business. So it takes a long time to recruit someone that the academic community will accept,” Cooper said. “But because of the success of professors in business, we’ve gained the backing of the academic community, the Academic Senate, as well as faculty and administration.”
Patrick Dietzen, a UCSB alum who co-founded biotechnology start-up Sirigen for the TMP New Venture Competition, said the new accreditation will significantly advance the program’s mission.
“I believe having the full academic program status will provide TMP much more resources, which will benefit UCSB students in a major way,” Dietzen said in an email. “This professional degree program will make UCSB even better than it already is as a top university, and many companies will be very eager to hire UCSB students who have completed the TMP program. In today’s complex world, it is important for students to be well rounded academically and have professional credentials. UCSB now provides students with both.”
Cooper said 30 percent of professors in the College of Engineering have either started a company or are part of a start-up. Along with forging a unique interdisciplinary curriculum that prepares students for creating and managing breakthrough scientific and technological ventures, TMP also operates a prestigious entrepreneurship lecture series, leadership events and the New Venture Competition, according to Cooper.
“Lectures are extremely popular; most lectures are overfilled,” Cooper said. “The President of NASDAQ and the founder of Quicksilver, for instance, have given lectures, talking about their experience — what worked and what didn’t work.”
The NVC is a TMP-hosted program in which students work in multidisciplinary teams and with qualified advisors and mentors, learning the key components of creating a successful, sustainable business.
A version of this article appeared on page 4 of January 14th, 2013’s print edition of the Nexus.