Contact Jocelyn Weber ( for more information about how you and your company can participate in UC Berkeley’s Engineering Leadership Professional Program.

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What is ELPP?

UC Berkeley’s ELPP prepares engineering leaders for higher levels of responsibility within technology firms. For firms, the program helps engineering leaders align technology innovation with business objectives. The program helps leaders avoid expensive mistakes, resolve disagreement between technical and business groups, and fix misaligned processes. For the candidates, the program provides critical skills for career development. Unlike an MBA, ELPP is more focused on technology firms and condensed into 4 1/2 months. The program is offered in the evenings in Silicon Valley.

Who Participates:

  • Candidates are often recommended by the executive leadership within their firms.
  • Firms may contact the program to establish an institutional relationship.
  • Candidate may also apply directly, approximately 20% of seats are reserved for independent candidates.

Current participating firms include Altera, Applied Materials, Cloudera, Ericsson, GE Software, Google, Juniper, Kaiser Permanente, Lam Research, Mentor Graphics, NetApp, EMC-Pivitol, Qualcomm, SanDisk, Samsung, Synopsys, VMware, and Yahoo.


Engineering Director, Juniper Networks – “I would like to thank Dr. Ikhlaq Sidhu and the UC Berkeley CET team to have come up with a course that caters to Engineering Leaders / Professionals….Ikhlaq’s insights and insights from the expert speakers, a few whom (have experienced) it from a personal standpoint as they were involved with the cases, were eye-opening and educational. All the chosen speakers were domain experts and could impart a lot of knowledge in the short timeslots and were very engaging, right from Charles Giancarlo to Steve Blank to the Negotiation and Accounting professors from UC Berkeley.

Sr Engineer, Google – “ELPP provided a unique opportunity for me to expand and practice the knowledge of engineering leadership. I really liked the compressed curriculum covering the broad range of topics that are critical to my job function (and thus my career growth). Many of the topics such as accounting…I did not have direct exposure or visibility [to]. The program also offers a real life practice in case study and practice. e.g. the negotiation exercise is a great example for learning and reflecting from specific scenarios. I also enjoyed the program as a forum of networking with peer students from different companies, and leads from my own company, from whom I learn many interesting perspective of other industries including semiconductor, healthcare and automobile. Last but certainly not the least, the faculty and staff team for this series are real stars. The guest speakers gave passionate and interesting talks each with their own unique styles, yet sharing the same high standard in delivering the key insights and inspiring the discussion and actions. I’d recommend this program to my colleagues at Google or anyone who’d like to expand their leadership skills. For closing, I’d really like to thank Prof Sidhu for this wonderful program!

Engineering Director, Yahoo! – “Perhaps one of the most important points I have come away with is the appreciation for the different periods in a company’s growth and maturity and how this requires change to both its processes and its executives’ skill set to become, and continue to be, successful across these periods….I was really incredibly impressed with the [two] accounting sessions and took a moment after the 2nd talk to tell the speaker that I have never had a learning experience so densely informative and yet, also so engaging, and even entertaining. That was time well spent.   [Another] highlight [was] how absolutely clearly the point was driven home to “shadow negotiate” [with] everyone, when I found myself completely blind-sided in the swimming suits exercise. It’s really an opportunity to have a lesson like that learned in a “practice” environment, rather than “real life”.

 My thanks…Prof. Sidhu….for this terrific experience. Prof. Sidhu’s genuine passion and desire to teach and share his knowledge and analysis really came through on every night. It’s really been a privilege to be able to attend and have access to this very practical and yet condensed course.

Project Leader, Samsung Research America – “I believe that this course was equivalent to an Executive MBA building a strong foundation for entrepreneurs. I benefited a lot by learning various industry and business models, best practices, financial and accounting policies, geographical influences, lean methods for project management and much, much more.

Chief Product Architect, Synopsys – “Steve Blank’s lean startup session was a blast. I really loved this session. We already use most of the concept mentioned in our company already but seeing the basic concepts and having the ability to connect them to customized steps was very helpful.

Sr. Staff Software Engineer, Google – “I think this course helped me in several ways:
– Helped me move from “not knowing what I don’t know” to “knowing what I don’t know” across a broad spectrum of areas relevant to the technical entrepreneur: management, negotiation, sales, marketing, accounting, etc.
– Through the case studies and excellent speakers, helped me understand what sorts of strategic issues executives at technology firms have to deal with, and broadened my perspective on these sorts of issues.

Engineering Director, Synopsys – “I greatly enjoyed this program. It was well structured and packed with useful topics. All the speakers were experts in their subject matter, and facilitated good class interaction. There was a good mix of students from a plethora of companies, which helped address one of the main objectives I had when signing up for this course, to network with technical leaders from other technology companies with diverse perspectives. The case studies were very insightful and helped me develop new perspective about the role of strategy, business model, and operations in the innovation (and disruption) process, and the corresponding evolution of companies from startup phase to profitable enterprises, and the fight for survival by established companies in the face of rapidly changing technology and competitive landscape. It was enlightening to meet and interact with successful entrepreneurs and experts with practical industry experience. The learning about the approach of “a lean startup” was particularly interesting. Likewise, lectures on dissecting the financial statements, negotiation skills, and career development were also very rewarding. All in all, it was a wonderful learning environment and I would highly recommend this course to others.

Director of Engineering, VMware – “This course has been very valuable to me. The topics are highly relevant to my goal and I have gained significant insights into how companies make strategic decision and execute on the strategies. …VMware is at an interesting crossroad, where our core business and key customers are being disrupted. Through the project, we could understand what our executives are going through and we can start anticipating changes coming down the pipe. This course has better prepared us to understand the industry and market trends to be able to pick up the skills to stay ahead of the game.

Overall I enjoyed the course tremendously and I will definitely recommend it to my colleagues and my company.

R&D Director of Software, Synopsys – “ELPP course had a very well thought out curriculum. Prof. Sidhu brought the best possible speakers to guide the thought process in each of the case studies and experts in various topics like accounting and negotiating. Key areas of technology strategy, operational innovation, leadership and communication were reflected in very thought provoking way of reading, answering questions and discussion sessions led by experts or industry leaders directly involved, e.g. Steve Blanc or Charles Giancarlo, with specific companies, to provide very insightful and unique perspectives.

Director of R&D, Synopsys – “The cases that covered disruptions were the most memorable as they are sobering reminders that in our line of work it takes a lot of attention and effort to stay ahead. The class was also dynamic and well participated and a lot of different perspectives were shared. I learned the most from the sessions that had the least to do with engineering.

Sr. Manager, Altera – “The case studies on NetFlix and Zappos open up my eyes on how important customer service [is]. They have built very successful business[es] on making customer service [a] competitive advantage. In my current role, where I develop methodology for teams, now I am more open about listening to customers, who are using methodologies developed by my team. Customer service is not just a lip service, but to provide better customer service, we need to create proper system to address customer needs.

Sr. Director of Engineering, Yahoo! – “I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the ELPP program. I gained so much more knowledge from this semester and certainly appreciated the program much more than when I was in MBA School early in my career. This course could not have come timelier for me. The areas of my career where I wish to excel are in strategic business decision making, learning how to read the market, analyze the competition, making crucial decisions to excel or save the company while rallying your employees to be engaged, hopeful and follow in your vision.” “The case studies are interesting covering areas where I’m unfamiliar – E-Ink, Kodak, Dr. John’s, Intel, Cisco and Medtronic. The best part of the course is the analysis and discussion, covering strategies and viewpoints that I missed. I’m very aware of Lean Principals and am currently practicing and mentoring many teams across Yahoo. It was nice to hear from Steve Blank himself and getting his perspective on the practice. I have been very successful at Yahoo the last three years due to managing my organizations in Agile Principals.

The negotiation session was quite an eye opener for me. I have taken several courses in this area as it’s definitely a weak area for me. The negotiation exercises were not only fun but very relevant so it was easy to grasp and understand. Sessions on presentations and design principals were highly valuable as well. I have been working and taking Dynamic Business Presentations to continue to polish my skills so having an additional session only further strengthens presentation skills for me, an area that I do not enjoy doing. As I have an Accounting degree but never practiced it, the accounting session, especially the podcasts, was a very nice, thorough review. The professor did a great job in presenting a very dry topic.  

The first group project did not start out as what I expected. We didn’t realize that our chosen topics had to be voted in the class. I was quite happy that my topic, Food Chain, was chosen by my table then voted as one of the top 8 topics for our class. Each class session, I purposely did not sit at a table where another Yahoo employee was so that I could meet people. I was delighted that when I presented my topic of Food Chain to my table that others thought my ideas and the possibilities of the topic was relevant and everyone at the table decided to stay and work on the topic together with me. As usual in group projects, some people did more than others. I was just telling my VP last Friday about our group project where I told him no one wanted to get started so I downloaded the project template, created the outline, assign our team members to topics of research and areas to write with regular reminders of action items and next steps. He busted up laughing and told me that he wasn’t surprised and now that class will be over, he will have many more projects for me to work on.

The second project was our Yahoo project and it turned out better than all of us expected. We had so many areas of possibilities but with limited time for research we had a hard time focusing. As it turned out, our original topic was the final one selected. My team and I won the Mozilla deal for Yahoo, the biggest deal Yahoo has in the past 5 years, our project topic turned out to be related to this deal so I was able to contribute quite a bit of content to our paper. Our team of five was ideal as we represented a cross section of Yahoo’s organizations – Search, Mail, Platforms, Media and Advertising. Each of us brought our product’s perspectives and challenges to the project along with potential solutions. Meeting and working on the project with my co-workers, most of whom I met for the first time will bring valuable relationships that could not have otherwise happened.”

Sr. Software Architect, Yahoo! – “When I came for the first class I was a little intimidated by the amount of the work that the course would require in addition to my day job which is often very demanding. As time progressed I realized that the course is very well structured and balanced in terms of reading and homework. I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of the course. My favorite part was reading the case studies, analysing them and the discussions in the class. Every case study that was covered brought a new perspective and exposed me to topics that I do not deal with on a day-to-day basis. It gave me an opportunity to explore new areas such as startup strategies, methodologies to analyse successful turnarounds, accounting and so on. My personal favorites were the Zappos and Dr Johns case studies – both brought out some very interesting topics. Another highlight were the guest speakers – I thoroughly enjoyed Steve Blank’s presentation on lean startup, and Michael Marks. The presentation on how to build an innovative teams by Nir Merry was very informative as well.

One of the surprises was the section on negotiations – I absolutely loved it. It was very practical and the very next week I was able to use some of the techniques covered at work. I was in a meeting at work where another team was pushing us to make changes in the system which would result in us maintaining a hack for a long time. Some of the other team members had met with this team before and were not able to come to a mutually agreeable solution. A second meeting was schedule and I was invited. I was able to apply the negotiation techniques from the class and negotiate an approach that worked for both parties. It was totally amazing.

After I listened to the accounting podcasts I was not very excited about the accounting classes but I have to give Kudos to Suneel Udpa – he made accounting so interesting that I went home and spent time analysing some quarterly results. He has total command of the topic and he was able to answer all kinds of questions that came up. I really look forward to using some of this knowledge the next time I am involved in M&A discussions.

I feel that ELPP totally delivered on what I was expecting from the classes. It has helped me get a better understanding various aspects of business, accounting as well as develop soft skills like negotiations and crucial communications.

Sr. Director of Engineering, Juniper Networks – “This course was a true refresher of principles learnt over the last two decades of my career and gave me an opportunity to learn new principles, often neglected or not directly exposed to, which help to advance my leadership career and opportunity to examine business models and business principles of and challenges faced by great companies and many a successful companies. Lean start-up concept was one of the highlights of the course dealing with newer methods of making projects and companies successful by iterating with idea validation and execution.

I thoroughly enjoyed the course format especially liked the presentations from and interactions with industry leaders on case studies and special topics including negotiations, accounting classes. Working on EL1 project gave an insight into new technology trends and EL2 project gave a start to apply many of the leant principles into action.

As Prof. Sidhu said entire cohort of the ELP program will definitely miss the fun filled insightful course on Monday evenings.

Engineering Director, Yahoo! – “Nothing could better prepare me for my future leadership responsibility than this short but rigorous ELPP program that offers a one of a kind learning experience. In addition to in-depth analysis of real business cases presented by subject matter experts in the industry on topics such as opportunity recognition, strategies for effective R&D, marketing innovation, disruption, product management, and others, the program also includes group exercises, projects, and role plays. The learning complemented my professional experience and enhanced my work capacity in ways such as, using the lean method canvas in proposing new projects, negotiating with mutual purpose, leading through rapport, understanding the business landscape in emerging markets like China, and other business concepts.

However, what makes this program truly unique and rare is the opportunity to collaborate with the other students, who are themselves executives from top Silicon Valley companies, in projects, class exercises and discussions. It not only expanded my scope of thinking but also provided me with rare insights into the challenges that they face in their worlds. Especially valuable for me was the opportunity to work with others on the cross firm project to identify an industry trend, and provide a detailed analysis on the effects of this trend. The team met multiple times on weekends and after work on weekdays to collaborate on the written report and presentation slides, and in the process, was not only able to provide an insightful analysis of that industry trend, but also build a strong bond and spirit of camaraderie.

While the program is coming to an end, the last six months have been an exhilarating ride that has equipped me with the necessary business acumen to prepare me for the next leg of my career, that is to lead my organization toward the next phase of transformation and come up with innovative ideas to take on newer and bigger challenges.


Sr. Engineering Manager, Mentor Graphics – “I signed up for this course as I had recently stepped into an engineering management role. I had envisioned learning about the principles of leadership. The course study based approach of the program provided a deep learning experience and really help assimilate the material. From the very first case on E-Ink through to the second part of the program which focused on soft skills, every class provided a great learning opportunity.

 Steve Blanks lean startup approach was a real eye opener. Most of my experience has been in the research and development of new technologies and learning how to be agile and change course based on the customer feedback was really useful. Another practical approach that will remain with me was how to develop excitement around a particular project or venture by creating excitement with the stakeholders and creating a positive feedback loop.

 I also learnt a lot from the negotiations class and the in-class exercise was really helpful in providing a practical experience. I believe it is difficult to learn negotiations through just theory and the class exercise bridged the gap by providing valuable insights.

 Overall, the quality of all the invited speakers was truly top-notch. They provided a unique perspective for each case study which was not straightforward just from reading the case. I would also like to mention that It was an extremely good learning experience to interact with a high quality cohort during the preparation for the class project and get their perspective during the case study discussions.

 In the end, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Prof. Sidhu for putting such a rich program together. His commentary along with deep probing questions and insights are what has made this program an extremely rewarding experience.

Sr. R&D Director, VMware – “This course was excellent!

 The most valuable elements of the class for me was the exploration into key aspects of businesses that were unfamiliar to me, including sales, marketing, negotiation, business models and technology strategy. It was enlightening to find that I could apply my background and experience to larger business challenges and come away with valuable insights. I also feel I learned a lot about leadership.

 I feel I now have a much better and well rounded perspective that I can apply to my current job and future endeavors, and I have confidence that I can be an agent of change in the future.“”

Sr. Staff Quantitative Analyst, Google – “This is eye opening for me….I love reading and discussing the cases…I felt I learned a lot over the last 4 months!“”