E/SEC 103, Spring 2020

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Management of Technology


  • Richard Murray (CDS/BE), murray@cds.caltech.edu
  • Ken Pickar (EAS), kpickar@caltech.edu
  • Lectures: MW 1:30-3 pm, online

Teaching Assistants

  • Betty Wang
  • Office hours: Fri, 1-2 pm (via Slack)

This is the public homepage for E/SEC 103, Spring 2020.

Access information

  • Lectures (Zoom): Mon/Wed, 1:30-3 pm. See Caltech Moodle for Zoom link (registered students only)
  • Course materials (Google Drive): lecture slides, recorded class sessions, and other information (registered students only)
  • Class discussion (Slack): See Caltech Moodle for Slack link (registered students only)

Catalog Description

This course is intended for students interested in learning how rapidly evolving technologies are harnessed to produce useful products or fertile new area for research. Students will work through Harvard Business School case studies, supplemented by lectures to elucidate the key issues. There will be a term project where students predict the future evolution of an exciting technology. The course is team-based and designed for students considering choosing an exciting research area, working in companies (any size, including start-ups) or eventually going to business school. Topics include technology as a growth agent, financial fundamentals, integration into other business processes, product development pipeline and portfolio management, learning curves, risk assessment, technology trend methodologies (scenarios, projections), motivation, rewards and recognition. Industries considered will include electronics (hardware and software), aerospace, medical, biotech, etc. Students will perform both primary and secondary research and through analysis present defensible projections.

Lecture Schedule

Date Topic HW/Reading
30 Mar (M) Class organization and logistics
1 Apr (W) Introduction to team formation, project choice
6 Apr (M) Class objectives, intros, project discussion Student introductions
8 Apr (W) Lecture: Teams and Results Team formation
13 Apr (M) Guest lecture: Caltech Library Resources Teams present their action plan (10 min each)
15 Apr (W) Lecture: Interviewing 101, Moore’s Law and Technology Evolution
20 Apr (M) Guest lecture Team updates
22 Apr (W) Lecture: Technology Evolution History Team updates
27 Apr (M) Guest lecture Team updates
29 Apr (W) Midterm presentations: 20 min/team
4 May (M) Midterm presentations: 20 min/team
6 May (W) Lecture: Technology and the Other Stuff
11 May (M) Guest lecture Team updates
13 May (W) Guest lecture Team updates
18 May (M) Case study
20 May (W) Guest lecture
25 May (M) Memorial Day - no class
27 May (W) Lecture: Management of Yourself
1 Jun (M) Project discussion (preparation for finals)
3 Jun (W) Final presentations (Sr, Gr)
8 Jun (M) Final presentations (UG)


  • 30% - Case preparation and homework
  • 10% - Midterm presentation
  • 15% - Class participation (via Zoom or Slack)
  • 45% - Term assignment and final presentation

Collaboration Policy

This is a team-based class. Full collaboration is allowed and students are encouraged to discuss course materials, homework assignments, and projects with anyone that they choose. Course homework assignments are designed to be done as a group, but reports should reflect your individual understanding of the topic and/or your team's joint efforts, as appropriate.

Course Text and References

  1. [SMTI] Strategic Management of Technology and Innovation, 5th Edition, by Robert Burgelman, Clayton Christensen, Steven Wheelwright. McGraw-Hill, 2008.
  2. [FMT] Forecasting and Management of Technology, 2nd Edition, by Alan L. Porter, Scott W. Cunningham, Jerry Banks, A. Thomas Roper, Thomas W. Mason, Frederick A. Rossini. Wiley, 2011.