Only at UIC Liautaud | New Product Development MBA Mock Class

If you're thinking about applying to University of Illinois at Chicago for graduate school, we invite you to a special product development mock class designed for prospective students to see what our grads have called "the best class offered within the MBA program..."

Interdisciplinary Product Development (IPD) is a two-semester curriculum that integrates the latest technologies and best practices for innovative product development. The course combines Industrial Design, Engineering, and MBA/Marketing students from all three colleges to work together in cross-functional teams to research and develop new product concepts. 

The course focuses on the early stages of the product development process, from identifying market opportunities through initial prototyping. Eschewing the old sequential model of product development, in which a design idea originates in a business unit, is given visual form by industrial design, and then passed off to engineering, this course teaches current best practices of true integration of all three disciplines from the very earliest stages of product development.

Visit our Innovation Center on October 29 and find out what sets UIC Liautaud apart from other MBA programs. Professor Jelena Spanjol will introduce UIC's groundbreaking IPD program through "New Product Development: Research, Ideation, and Prototyping." Get the inside scoop from UIC MBAs about our Innovation Incubator student organization and other hands-on learning opportunities that take students well beyond the typical classroom experience.

UIC Liautaud MBA Mock Class:

New Product Development: Research, Ideation, and Prototyping

Tuesday, October 29 from 6:00- 7:30pm | UIC Innovation Center, 1240 West Harrison, Chicago

Here's what Professor Spanjol has to say about our cutting-edge IPD program and state-of-the-art learning facilities: 

Student testimonials from IPD graduates: 

Marisa Randle


IPD (Cobra Electronics)

Current Position:Market Manager, Walgreens


The Interdisciplinary Product Development experience at UIC Liautaud is beyond textbook, and that is what really sets it apart. Not to mention, the Innovation Center is definitely my favorite space on campus! More importantly, we had the opportunity to make a real impact on a real brand and business. Students who take this class get a truly functional business experience that they can eventually talk about in front of prospective employers. IPD directly had an impact on my career path and that of many of my peers who also took the class.

Also, I think almost every job description I ran across in my post-MBA search called for cross-functional leadership, which is one of the most exciting skills that you will pick up in IPD. Getting to work with fellow students from different professional backgrounds and educational levels in order to innovate and produce is what its all about. If you are planning a career in marketing, business strategy, or innovation, I would say this is one of the highest value courses you could take during your MBA investment at Liautaud.

Ahmed Mujovic


IPD (Cobra Electronics)

Current Position:Senior Consultant, Protiviti


The IPD program, along with Tech Ventures, was the highlight of my MBA studies. IPD provided me the opportunity to lead and collaborate with a true multidisciplinary team, working on an actual concept - from analysis of market opportunities to design and prototyping - I lived the Liautaud motto 'where theory meets practice' for a year and can honestly say I earned the MBA inside the Innovation Center.

Dena Nejad


IPD (Cobra Electronics)

Current Position:Product Manager, Robert Bosch Tool Corporation



I joined the MBA program at UIC with the hope that I would come across a path that would make it clear for me what I would like to do with my career. While an Engineer I was not happy and desperately wanted a change but I was not sure what that change may look like. To be honest with you the IPD program was my light bulb. It was the class that really cleared up for me what my path should be and what I wanted to do next with my career. I really appreciated the richness of the class, the quality of talent amongst the students, the available resources and the freedom to push the limits and to enhance the experience the way we felt best fit. The program demonstrated a real world experience.

What I learned in IPD helped me tremendously with my career transition. Once I started at Bosch I realized how much I have learned during IPD. I was not lost at all and I felt that the learning was directly applicable. IPD also created great networking opportunities for me. I met my current colleague at Bosch at my IPD final presentation which lead to my interviews with them and my current position. I was also offered a position by the company we worked with during IPD.

Once again, the best class offered within the MBA program.



Megan Sparks


IPD (Cobra Electronics)

Current Position:Associate Brand Manager, Kraft Foods Group



IPD is a course I would highly recommend to any student. The ability to take ownership of a project from ideation to commercialization provided an environment to develop cross functional skills and execute against them. The interaction with industry experts combined with the engagement level of sponsoring companies intrinsically provides meaningful networking opportunities to increase points of connections within the professional world.

The open structure of the course allows students the freedom to creatively conceptualize ideas while providing the necessary support to ensure success. Maybe one of the best takeaways is the lasting relationships you will build not only with your professors and mentors but with those on your team.




Adrienne Nadeau


IPD (Coinstar/Redbox)

Current Position: Research Analyst, Technomic, Inc.


There were several important take-aways from the class. It gave me an opportunity to participate in the development of a project from beginning to end and really take ownership of an idea. I got a LOT of practice negotiating team relationships and, since I was one of the MBAs, leadership experience as well. While college students can be a difficult demographic, it was pointed out to me that there was a very good chance that in my first job out of grad school I would likely be supervising 20-something college grads, so IPD was valuable hands-on learning. Also, it gave me the opportunity to create and build on an idea in a very "safe" environment (no multi million dollar R&D or marketing initiatives to worry about here) and that allowed me and my team to take risks and try new things. A very rare opportunity indeed. I also loved getting my hands dirty with field work -- something that business people don't always get to do!

I think the experience would be particularly valuable for students who are recently out of college or who have never really done project management before or who are switching careers. Since I was coming from the artistic/non-profit world, I didn't have a lot of corporate experience. In every interview I went on, I mentioned IPD. No matter what the question was about -- marketing projects, project management, team work, leadership, field work, research, conflict resolution -- I always had some anecdote about working for CoinStar/Red Box.

Since my current job is as a market research analyst/consultant for the foodservice industry (I actually just finished a project for Morningstar), I am constantly drawing on experiences from IPD. Regular responsibilities at Technomic include secondary research, understanding the competitive landscape, I even did grocery store intercepts for a project on grab-and-go food, which is something Scott and I did while looking at the possibility of a snack kiosk. IPD is an experience that I am consistently drawing from.


Dominic Blank


IPD (Coinstar/Redbox)

Current Position:Cofounder & Chief Customer Developer, savvo digital sommelier solutions


I strongly believe that among the most valuable things a business school can do is to equip their students with the tools and concepts necessary to have maximum success in the workplace. Interdisciplinary Product Development (IPD) teaches students how to effectively approach, discover, execute and manage product development opportunities and challenges using a hands-on, team based approach. What stands out about the program is that it does not simulate real life scenarios but assigns real life projects with real life companies (corporate sponsors), people (team members and mentors) and expectations (deliverables). This provides for a highly complete and relevant learning opportunity acting as perfect preparation for students' professional careers. Today, I am working on two startups of which I cofounded one. Tools and concepts first taught in IPD including problem and solutions interviews, lean startup, agile product development, insight-driven iterations and team building (!!) do not only find daily application in my professional career but are critical necessities.

Thanks to the lessons learned from IPD my startup steered away from a "not so good idea" to one that has now enabled us to gain considerable market traction and paying customers within only a few months. Not only has the program given me a jump-start on being a more successful entrepreneur, but it has revealed my passion for team-building, design and product development. Influenced by my experiences during IPD my startup is now in the same industry as the program's corporate sponsor (at the time, Redbox) causing my mentor from back then to join my company as a key adviser and door opener! I strongly encourage those interested in anything involving entrepreneurship, innovation, product engineering and team building to take this class; anything else would be a missed opportunity.



Scott Green


IPD (Coinstar/Redbox)

Current Position:Manager of Business Operations, LOQUUS 


From an MBA perspective, the IPD program provided me tremendous experiences in team-oriented projects. Realistic professional environments include working with colleagues with different skill sets and training; IPD captures this by teaming business, designing, and engineering students.

Learning how to effectively communicate and understand each other’s skill sets required time, but was essential to achieving our goals.  These challenges and accomplishments we’re significant experiences that have made me a better project manager.