Skip to main content

Five Frequently Asked Questions About MPD2

The program's leadership team provides answers about the application process, the course structure, and the capstone course.

The leadership team of Northwestern Engineering's Master of Product Design and Development Management (MPD2) program enjoys connecting with prospective students through online and in-person information sessions and hearing what questions they have about the application process. 

With the application deadline approaching, the MPD2 team collected the five most frequently asked questions they've heard recently and provided answers to each query.

How does the MPD2 program differ from a traditional MBA program? 

The MPD2 program takes material from a traditional MBA and combines it with professional courses devoted to product design and development. The faculty have modified standard MBA courses and specially designed them to focus on product development. Most courses are offered in five-week modules. 

The application includes a portfolio section. What should I include in my portfolio? 

Your portfolio should represent your interests, past experiences, approach to problem framing, and demonstrate your capabilities as they relate to product design, development, and/or business. Your portfolio should focus on work completed in a business context, but we are also interested in seeing personal work that may help communicate your creativity, leadership, or executional prowess.

We recognize that applicants’ portfolio materials may take different forms and that not all disciplines lend themselves to traditional design or engineering portfolio formats.  Please feel free to include a variety of curated materials that convey your unique skills and point of view, whether that's through case studies, photographs, blogs, videos, or a different but relevant medium.

Portfolio submissions should be uploaded through the online application system either as a website link or a PDF. 

Beyond an application, what are the requirements for application? 

Applicants normally have an undergraduate degree in design, engineering, business, or a related discipline, but it is not a requirement. Applicants must have appropriate work experience and/or quantitatively-based degrees. The undergraduate degree is not as important as work experience. Applicants must have at least three years of work experience related to product development.

There is no GRE requirement. International students must submit their TOEFL scores with the code D223. 

I've heard a lot about the capstone course. What exactly is involved? 

Capstone is the culminating activity in the MPD2 program. Over three quarters, students dive deeply into a topic of personal interest to design a product or service that answers an unaddressed customer need. The goal is to develop a compelling product informed by qualitative and quantitative research that is financially viable as judged by faculty, venture capital guests, and industry leaders. 

Learn about the 2023 capstone presentations 

Northwestern is on the quarter system, so does that mean all courses are 10 weeks long? 

Most MPD2 courses meet for five weeks. There are a few exceptions that are 10-week courses, most of which occur during the second year of the program. Those exceptions are Product Management, Customer-Driven Opportunities, Creativity and Product Design Sprints, and Business Model Design. Part-time students usually take two courses at a time for a total of four courses per quarter. 

Back to top