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MPD2 Welcomes New Advisory Board

Director Jim Wicks explained what excites him about the program's new board and how he hopes they can help students differentiate themselves in the marketplace.

Jim Wicks has seen advisory boards develop in a variety of ways. Some organizations look to fill their boards with experts from their chosen field, while others focus on incorporating high-profile thought leaders into advisory positions. 

As for Wicks, director of Northwestern Engineering's Master of Product Design and Development (MDP2) program, he values a combination of those two approaches. As he went about developing the MPD2 advisory board, he looked for experts from the worlds of product design and development as well as leaders from innovative, forward-thinking companies. He also felt it was critical for recent alumni to be included. 

The result of his search is a collection of 10 individuals charged with helping shape the program's direction, as well as helping to expand the MPD2 community. Wicks plans on growing the board with a few more additions in the coming months. 

"We have the opportunity to exponentially grow the MPD2 network thanks to our advisory board," Wicks said. "That will help impact career opportunities for our students and forge insights that we can leverage in class."

The MPD2 advisory board met for the first time earlier this summer. Advisory board members include:

Wicks said it was exciting to have the collection of diverse talent come together to think broadly about the program’s shape and future.

"I think when boards get together in person, they really enjoy feeding off each other and understanding perspectives of leaders from industries they are less familiar with," Wicks said. "That's just what happened for us. We have leaders from tech, nutrition, food, insurance, and they all found commonalities around what they're challenged with. We're then able to take that knowledge and those realizations about what is needed and help communicate that to our students, and prepare our students to be the ones who can solve those challenges."

As industry trends shift and new needs arise, Wicks is optimistic the advisory board will encourage the program to adapt to best prepare students for those needs — both present and future. 

"There is not always the same pressure to change in academia as there is in industry work," Wicks said. "I'm looking forward to the board keeping us informed of what they're seeing, hearing, and experiencing in their work so that we can in turn better position our students to make a difference in the world."

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