Master of Technology Management catapults you into leadership roles

Learn entrepreneur & intrapreneur skills from UC Santa Barbara’s Master of Technology Management

School:  University of California Santa Barbara

Program: Master of Technology Management


The Master of Technology Management at UC Santa Barbara is an intensive 9 month program designed to help engineers and scientists become leaders of technology ventures. The hands-on practicum based curriculum teaches the leadership skills needed to run projects, take on management roles, and become entrepreneurs or intrapreneurs.

Where is it:  Santa Barbara, CA

Format: On-Campus

Prerequisites:  STEM Undergrad, Masters, or experience in tech industry

Degree you get:  Master of Technology Management

Size of the Program: ~30 current students

Credit hours: 42

Thesis: Practicum

And that will take how long?  ~9 months

When to start: Fall Quarter

Tuition: $45,000 – $60,000

Minimum Admission Requirements:

  • Transcripts (GPA > 3.0)
  • TOEFL (+80)
  • Essay (statement of purpose & Personal Achievements)
  • Resume (1 year of experience)
  • 3 Letters of Reference
  • GRE

Not Required

  • N/A

Who should take it?

  • Those at the point where becoming a better engineer means taking non-engineering courses
  • Engineers and scientists with 1-5 years of professional experience

Claim to fame:

  • Experiential curriculum designed to catapult graduates into executive roles in less than 10 years
  • 9 month practicum designed to launch a new product as an entrepreneur or intrapreneur


On-campus learning that catapults a career

With the boom of online professional learning, the University of California Santa Barbara (UC Santa Barbara) is bucking the trend with the launch of an intensive on-campus Master of Technology Management (MTM). The program is designed to teach the skills people need to succeed in business and can’t learn from a computer.

The hands-on program is an “intense 9 month, full time master’s program designed to help early career engineers and scientists become leaders of tech ventures,” said Prof. Paul Leonardi, Endowed Chair & Director of the Master of Technology Management Program.

Prof. Paul Leonardi, Endowed Chair & Director of the Master of Technology Management Program

He added, “We’ve seen that large companies have no shortage of engineering talent. Unfortunately, there is a lack of engineers with leadership capabilities. This includes engineers that can run projects and take on management roles. Venture capitalists agree that there is no shortage of engineers with good tech, but it’s hard to find engineers that can build a business. This program, however, will launch your careers with these leadership skills.”

Prof. Leonardi feels that online education would be the wrong approach for the master’s degree program he has designed at UC Santa Barbara. Students will learn, in person, fundamental leadership skills from entrepreneurs, mentors, and faculty. They will also work in teams to launch new products for partnered companies, or inventors (from UC Santa Barbara or a fellow MTM student). This hands-on, in person approach is designed to foster the knowledge to run a company, get the contracts, and grow the business contacts.

Masters Discovery

“We are trying to teach students the fundamental leadership and management skills. I believe this requires a hands-on experience. We don’t just give the information and say ‘here are the skills go use them’. We use real in-depth pedagogical methods. Students will apply what they learn and apply the knowledge to their practicum in real-time, as opposed to at the work place when they can fit it in,” said Prof. Leonardi.

What’s unique about UC Santa Barbara’s Masters of Technology Management?

“I’ve taught at a number of schools with programs designed to teach engineers technology leadership skills. It usually looks like an MBA, frequently using non-technical company examples, or engineering management programs that send the students to the business school for general business content. These programs inevitably taught generic management skills to engineers. We wanted to teach management of engineers for engineers.” said Prof. Leonardi.

When designing the program, UC Santa Barbara consulted with over 50 technical companies and entrepreneurs from the California region. This research was executed in order to determine the skills engineers will need to become successful leaders within a technical company or as an entrepreneur. The study determined that there was plenty of overlap between these entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial skills.

This list of skills was used to design the program from the ground up. “Usually a school will say, ‘here is our faculty, these are their skills, now let’s design the program around these skills’. We did the opposite,” explained Prof. Leonardi. “We found the skills we needed to teach and designed tasks to teach these skills. We then found specialists, with experience in tech companies, which are best suited to teach the skills. This faculty also focuses their management research on tech companies. They study how leaders of tech teams can be more effective, or how entrepreneurs can develop new strategies for new products, and the role of social networks. The skills born from this research are the very skills our students must rely on.”

He added, “There is a great need for these skills in the workplace. A local company told me they will be hiring 100 new engineers in the next year. The executive mentioned that hiring these engineers didn’t scare him one bit; the pool is plentiful. What did scare him was the task of finding engineers that could take on the new leadership positions. Needless to say, that company is paying close attention to UC Santa Barbara’s MTM program.”

Renovation plans for the Executive Learning Center.

The program is custom designed down to the teaching location. UC Santa Barbara’s new Executive Learning Center, which will house the program, was planned to focus on non-traditional teaching techniques. The building includes state-of-the-art classrooms and breakout rooms allowing student teams to work in their small practicum groups.

Who should take a Masters of Technology Management from UC Santa Barbara

The University of California Santa Barbara is looking for a particular type of individual to take their MTM program. These aren’t typical design, test, or field engineers. These are the engineers that change the world by moving beyond their engineering training. They will typically have a technical background, STEM degree, and about one to five years of professional experience. However, they will have an entrepreneurial spark above and beyond their technical training.

“For our first offering, we’ll assemble a cohort of special engineers that have decided that the best way to become a better engineer is to not take more engineering courses. These will be like minded students focused on learning the skills to excel while leading the company as an entrepreneur or a linchpin intrepreneurial employee. These are also the type to move onto new projects as opportunities present themselves. This will allow the student to switch from entrepreneur to intrepreneur on a regular basis spinning off new products along the way,” said Prof. Leonardi.

What you get from a Masters of Technology Management from UC Santa Barbara

The UC Santa Barbara MTM program is rather intense. Students will be learning from a full time immersive nine month curriculum. Throughout the program, students will participate in hands-on, real world practicums. The teams will either partner with tech companies to launch new products, or work with an inventor (either on-campus or a fellow MTM student), to produce a new business.

“I advise students don’t take this Masters when they are currently employed. It is hard to step out of engineering product work to then think about leadership and development skills. Many students working full time are tired while in class. Through they learn a lot, they are unable to apply it in the real world. These practicums, however, will force our students to apply the skills they learn immediately,” said Prof. Leonardi.

 “Besides,” He added, “many of these students will graduate with a job at the partnered company or with a new start-up they will continue to build. Therefore, many of these students will not want to return to their old positions. The one exception of course is when an employer sponsored the student’s education.”

If none of those employment opportunities are favourable by the end of the program, however, the broad network of alumni, mentors, and investing companies will surely bring a connection for alternative employment. Students will also have access to employment assistance from those that have been looking before and can troubleshoot the process.

In short, “these students will be smart and will likely reach leadership on their own. However, for these students it will require another seven to nine years to get to a leadership role and eight to ten years on top of that to become an executive. We want to catapult these students into leadership positions in three years and management in another four to five years,” expressed Prof. Leonardi. An impressive goal to say the least.

Why wouldn’t you get a Masters of Technology Management from UC Santa Barbara:

  • You prefer to study online
  • You prefer to remain part time while in school
  • You prefer to take more engineering courses during your Masters

Requirements to complete the Masters of Technology Management from UCSB:

  • Fall Quarter
    • Opportunity Recognition in New Technology
    • Understanding Markets & Competition
    • Accounting and Financial Problem-Solving
    • Analysis for Business and Management Decisions
    • Individual, Group, and Organizational Effectiveness
  • Winter Quarter
    • Team and Leadership Practicum
    • Field Project and Business Planning
    • Creating and Managing Human Capital
    • Program, Project, and Operations Management
    • Market and Customer Research Under Uncertainty
    • Business Models in Technology-Driven Industries  
  • Spring Quarter
    • Team and Leadership Practicum
    • Field Project and Business Planning
    • Leading Technology Teams
    • Organizing for Innovation
    • New Product Launch
    • Special Issues in Technology Commercialization

UC Santa Barbara has sponsored promotion of their Master of Technology Management on They have no editorial input to this post – all opinions are mine. Shawn Wasserman

Written by

Shawn Wasserman

For over 10 years, Shawn Wasserman has informed, inspired and engaged the engineering community through online content. As a senior writer at WTWH media, he produces branded content to help engineers streamline their operations via new tools, technologies and software. While a senior editor at, Shawn wrote stories about CAE, simulation, PLM, CAD, IoT, AI and more. During his time as the blog manager at Ansys, Shawn produced content featuring stories, tips, tricks and interesting use cases for CAE technologies. Shawn holds a master’s degree in Bioengineering from the University of Guelph and an undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Waterloo.