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Press Release

UNM’S MANAGEMENT OF TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM HELPS BRING HIGH-TECH JOBS TO STATE

January 31, 2005

In economic development, strategic advantage is a necessary ingredient for success. New Mexico’s federal labs and research universities form the strategic advantage the state can leverage for job and wealth creation but needs business knowledge and risk-taking entrepreneurs to do the leveraging.

That’s how Sul Kassicieh, co-founder of the Management of Technology or MoT program at the Anderson Schools of Management, describes why the program is important for New Mexico. From the number of students who have graduated and moved on to work in the high-tech industry and a recent ranking of sixth in the nation by the International Association of Management of Technology, the program has succeeded beyond anyone’s imagination.

UNM was also ranked 13th in entrepreneurial campuses nationwide last year based partly on the activities of MoT in supporting technology startups in New Mexico.

The program originated from a grant secured by Professor Ray Radosevich provided by the National Science Foundation in the 1980s. ASM had MoT courses, but at the time, it was called the Technology Innovation Program (TIP).

Radosevich, a professor emeritus and a partner at the New Mexico venture capital firm Verge, said, “TIP worked with Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories assisting technologists from both labs to start companies. Semiconductor Bridge and Cell Robotics are but two examples of companies supported by TIP.”

In 1993, Radosevich and Kassicieh brought more than 300 participants from industry, government and academia to discuss the challenges of public-sector technology commercialization. The following year, the MoT program was started as a result of the conference.

“Our intention has always been to bring high-technology jobs to New Mexico through the creation of new companies built around technologies at our universities and federal laboratories,” said Kassicieh, director and professor in the MoT program.

Their book, “From lab to market,” captures the success factors in working with the public sector in technology commercialization. The program offers courses mixing theories with a clinical hands-on approach where students work with real-life technology firms on business planning and market competitive analysis.

The MoT program has performed nearly 200 of these studies for many New Mexico, national and international firms under the direction of Kassicieh and Associate Professor Steve Walsh, who joined the program in 1998.

The program has graduated more than 80 MBA students from 1996-2003. Former students work at Sandia, Los Alamos, UNM, venture capital firms, small technology startups, large manufacturing and consulting firms, locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.

Robert Haak, who graduated in 2001 with a dual concentration in MoT and Finance, says the MoT experience has paid dividends for his career, which has taken him to Tokyo, Japan.

“First and foremost, I liked the fact that the professors (Kassicieh and Walsh) running the program were out in the world making money as consultants practicing what they preach,” said Haak. “That was a vital element in choosing which professors to take classes with in a business school. I looked into it in detail and they had good reputations outside of the school.

“They offered me a graduate assistantship. I withdrew my applications to other business schools after the graduate assistantship was offered because I simply could not beat the deal UNM had to offer. Even without the graduate assistantship, UNM was a fantastic deal compared to other schools.”

Haak’s MoT professors introduced him to his current boss, which was the impetus for the move to Tokyo. But more importantly than that Haak says, was the education he received in the MoT program really helped him take his past work experience, move it forward and expand on it.

“I had quite a bit of experience before I went back to school and it was a big decision for me to quit my job and go back to school,” said Haak. “I was living in Taiwan at the time and after I had quit and was getting ready to move to New Mexico I started having second thoughts like ‘am I doing the right thing?’ and ‘maybe I know enough already.’

“After the first couple of weeks in school, I quickly realized that I found the right place to be. Analytical tools that I learned in the MoT program are used daily. Technology forecasting is a large part of what we do and my MoT coursework was directly related to this type of forecasting.”

Haak has nothing but good things to say about the program from the professors who teach in the program to the “real-world” experience he gained.

“First, the old adage holds true that ‘you get out of it what you put into it,’” said Haak. “The professors will help you in any way they can to offer you the opportunity to take away from the program as much as you can possibly give to it. But you have to be willing to work very hard.

“Second, as part of the MoT program you will get real world experience, which is much different from most other concentrations in the business school. Third, it’s an incredible deal in terms of tuition and other costs compared with the education and other things you take away when you complete the program.”

The MoT program offers real-world experience by working with local companies, technologists, and entrepreneurs to write their business plans, marketing plans and strategies among other things.

“There is a close relationship between the program and Sandia National Labs (SNL) so there was plenty of opportunity to work on technology commercialization strategies with scientists and engineers from SNL,” said Haak.

“I also liked the fact the department was connected internally with the Finance and International Business professors. I knew that I wanted to explore finance, marketing and accounting more. The program is very flexible because you can take some courses that are ‘code share’ and cover multiple disciplines.”

“We live in a highly technological world, so understanding how to make the best use of technology is now more important than ever,” added Kelly Cowan, a current student in the MoT program. “It’s a fairly new field, but one that is rapidly gaining popularity at schools throughout the world, as well as in the business community. Many different careers paths are available to MoT graduates, specifically in areas such as business intelligence, intellectual property management, technology commercialization and a wide variety of other fields.

Cowan says one of the most interesting things for her about the MoT program is the diverse range of projects and topics that you often get to work on.

“I currently work for Sandia National Laboratories doing business intelligence for the Licensing and Intellectual Property Management division,” she said. “I frequently get to work with exciting, new technologies and help find ways to commercialize them. You don’t have to be a scientist or an engineer to do this kind of work, although a good understanding of science does help. You just have to be creative and understand how to use concepts such as technological assessment, forecasting, road mapping and various others, depending on the situation.

“The program gives you real world experience working on actual projects that are making a difference to the technological and economic development of our state, the country, and possibly even the world. I have personally seen projects I have worked on result in millions of dollars of funding for UNM and others organizations. The MoT program has received approximately $1 million in outside support in the past eight years and has worked with more than 100 companies which we have helped position for success in venture capital markets,” she added.

Cowan earned a bachelor’s in Management Information Systems from the Anderson Schools and is a second-year MBA student who will graduate in May 2005. In addition to the concentration in the MoT program, she is also pursuing marketing.

“I have found the MoT program to be tremendously interesting because you get to work on things that give you a glimpse into what the future may be like,” said Cowan. “Some decisions or recommendations may even influence the future course of development in a certain area. One of the things that really draws me to MoT is that it is a kind of real life counterpart to the things people only dream of in science fiction. It is science fact and science future.”

Kassicieh says there is still lots of work to do.

“We need to get many of our startups into the manufacturing phase because that is where the long-term benefit accrues to the economy of the state. This is not a short-term activity. We are in it for the long haul,” says Kassicieh.

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The Anderson School of Management at the University of New Mexico is dedicated to excellence in professional management education. At the Anderson School, faculty, staff, and students are committed to shaping the intellect and character of the next generation of business leaders, advancing the knowledge and practice of management, promoting economic development, and building a vibrant intellectual community that serves the highest and best interests of all our stakeholders.

The School was founded in 1947 and now offers more than a dozen concentrations at the BBA and MBA levels and is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business in the top 20% of business schools in the nation. The School is funded by the State of New Mexico and further support is generated by The Anderson School of Management Foundation. For more information, the public can visit www.mgt.unm.edu, email info@mgt.unm.edu, or call (505) 277-6471.

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