Fung Institute launches three new summer courses

On technology leadership, commercializing deep tech innovations, and agile product development


The Fung Institute’s vision is to deliver the best and most inclusive technical engineering leadership education around the world. In pursuit of that vision, the Institute is expanding its courses to all UC Berkeley and visiting students with three brand new summer course offerings intended to cultivate the next generation of engineering leaders.

Leveraging the Institute’s expertise, these courses will both prepare leaders to work across disciplines as well as use cutting-edge technology and methodology to address not only industry and market needs, but the world’s most pressing problems.

Home of one of the top engineering master’s programs in the country, the Fung Institute is excited to welcome students of all backgrounds, disciplines, and career aspirations to enter a classroom unlike any other.

“The Fung Institute’s ability to offer summer session courses, opens our incredible, industry-leading curriculum to more students both here on campus and to some of the best minds from around the world,” said Fung Institute Executive Director John Robichaux. “It allows students well beyond the engineering space to be thinking about issues in technology leadership, which touches so many disciplines in the world today.”

Leaders in the technology space arise from all disciplines, not just engineering. “To solve the monumental challenges we face in today’s world, we are going to need everyone’s help,” said Robichaux. Not only does cross-discipline collaboration make for some of the most interesting and creative spaces within universities, but it brings together a range of problem solvers and results in more people at the table to make decisions that the future depends upon.

Summer sessions and the learning environment that comes with them, give students the opportunity to make a “powerful, positive impact on the world,” Robichaux concluded.

Learn more about the courses below and be a part of that change today.

ENGIN 170A: Technology Leadership

(Jul. 1 — Aug. 9 | M, W 2:00pm — 4:59pm | Cory 241)

Students in ENGIN 170A will have the rare opportunity to peel back the layers of technology firms to reveal how they decide to structure their organizations and optimize their technology strategy and operations. The course will then pivot from management to innovation, teaching students how these now-optimally organized firms create innovation programs and corporate incubators. Students will hear from an assortment of subject matter experts to give them an in-depth look at how technology strategy, organizational models, de-siloing techniques, and other concepts add to an organization.

The course will span six weeks under the instruction of Nima Shomali, the Fung Institute’s resident expert in technology strategy and organizational behavior. As Managing Partner for Acceleration Technology Partners — an organization and innovation advisory firm — Shomali specializes in creating high-performance corporate cultures, building elite technology strategy, and leading large-scale corporate turnarounds.

Holding a Masters of Business Administration Degree from the New York University Stern School of Business, Nima has worked in various capacities at Yahoo Inc., IBM, the Goldman Sachs Group, and countless other institutions. If given the opportunity, his achievements and accolades would fill up this entire article. Read his full bio here.

ENGIN 170B: Commercializing Deep Tech Innovations

(June 17 — Aug. 9 | M, TH 1:00pm — 3:29pm | Social Sciences Building 110)

Drawing from the Fung Institute’s interdisciplinary approach, this 8-week course will explore deep technology commercialization at the intersection of business, technology, and intellectual property. In partnership with leading research institutions, students will work on a real-world technology and gain hands-on experience as they explore technology landscapes, analyze intellectual property, and develop comprehensive business models and market entry strategies.

“The course connects academic studies to the realities of the professional innovation environment,” Professor Matthew Rappaport said. “This prepares them for a range of careers, from consulting to working in large companies or even building their own startup.”

In this professional life, Matthew has managed hundreds of engagements and advised large and small corporate clients, start-ups and investors on IP strategy. He co-founded IP Checkups in 2004 to help companies align their patent strategy with their R&D and business objectives and the Center for Intellectual Property (CIP)-Berkeley, an academic and executive-education program focused similarly at the intersection of business, R&D, and intellectual property. Since 2010, Matthew has been selected by his peers as a member of the IAM Strategy 300, a list of the world’s leading IP strategists.

ENGIN 170C: Agile Product Development

(June 17 — Aug. 9 |W, TH 10:00am — 11:59am and 1:00pm — 1:59pm | Evans 9)

Spanning eight weeks, this course emerges students in a full cycle of product development in which they will create and refine a series of prototypes to deliver a functioning Minimally Viable Product. In line with the Fung Institute’s mission, students will work in interdisciplinary teams to apply the product development processes and approaches they learn in class to a real-world problem.

The course will also allow students to develop a number of ‘soft’ skills such as leadership, team development, conflict resolution, stakeholder management and project management in an intensive, experiential learning environment that includes regular pitches and feedback from mentors. All will culminate in a presentation of their prototype to both their classmates and real prospective users, solidifying their ability to successfully pitch a product.

The goal of this course, Dr. Bülent Erbilgin said, is to address the reality that less than half of products leave stakeholders satisfied. Erbilgin, who will be teaching the summer course, added that one of the reasons for these failures are that projects fail to be “fit-for-use.”

“No matter how much time you spend empathizing with customers and interviewing them about their needs, all you will have is a perceived understanding of what the customer wants,” Erbilgin noted. “You won’t know whether you’ve got fit-for-use until you deliver the final product for the user acceptance test.”

Instead, Erbilgin said, the best approach is to test fit-for-use very early in the development process and keep testing frequently in ever-increasing fidelity of a series of prototypes. In taking this course, students will not only learn this approach, but get to act on it.

Dr. Bülent Erbilgin, the course instructor who holds a PhD in Electrical Engineering (Computer Architecture) and a MS in Computer Science from Stanford University, has spent over 20 years in executive leadership. Most recently Dr. Erbilgin led the Security Software Development effort at Workday.

In seven startups and several public companies, he successfully released products ranging from cyber-security, network security, and web applications to big data, machine learning and network intelligence. In addition, Dr. Erbilgin has mentored founders and students in various entrepreneurship classes to identify startup opportunities, develop business plans, and VC presentations.

Find the courses on Berkeley Academic Guide below:

Written by Veronica Roseborough.



Berkeley Master of Engineering
Berkeley Master of Engineering

Master of Engineering at UC Berkeley with a focus on leadership. Learn more about the program through our publication.