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COBE Success Story

Certificate of Business Excellence: Building Focused Skills

headshot of Apurv Kamath

COBE Alum: Apurv Kamath, Senior Director of Strategic Product Management, Dexcom

“When I joined Dexcom, a medical device manufacturer, in 2003, as an engineer, we were a startup of around 30 people. We were focused on developing a novel blood sugar monitor, called a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM), primarily for people with diabetes. I was brought into our R&D Department to develop our algorithms, the software that processes CGM data. From around 2010 to 2016, as we iterated on the product, I was tasked with orchestration roles related to product development. Then, in 2017, I was tasked with leading our Product Management team, within our Marketing Department.”

“I didn't have formal training in product management, so the first step I took was to find training that could close that gap. The most in-depth training I was able to find was the week-long Product Management Program at UC Berkeley. I brought one of my close colleagues with me, and we attended the class together. It provided such a broad and deep view of product management best practices that we have since sent all of our Product Management staff to the Program.”

“Our Product Management team uses the tools and techniques from the Berkeley Program to help define the right products for Dexcom to build, and how best to focus the organization’s brains and brawn. Our team is driving an evolution of Dexcom to become more market-pull and technology-push, as compared to our history of being largely technology-push.”

COBE Provides Opportunity for Focused Skill Set Building

“I discovered the Certificate of Business Excellence (COBE) Program while attending my first Berkeley Executive Education program. I've considered executive MBA programs including Berkeley's, but I thought the COBE offerings met my requirements and allowed me to be systematic and focus on select skills.”

“I am reluctant, given my work-life circumstances and a small child at home, to commit to an executive MBA program. The COBE Program for me has been ideal. In addition to the Product Management Program, I have benefited from the Berkeley Executive Leadership program, Financial Analysis for Leaders and Digital Transformation Strategy. Though I’ve completed the COBE, there remain programs that interest me, so I plan to return.”

Berkeley Offers Programs to Match Your Toolbox Needs

“After the Product Management Program, I looked into additional training that would fill the toolbox needed for my new role. Financial planning and analysis is a key skill for our Product Management team. Not having been trained in finance, but now having to work on project prioritization, I took the Financial Analysis for Leaders Program. It was excellent. Accounting and financial analysis would have been difficult for me to have self-taught. The Berkeley program was engaging, and the techniques were made immediately applicable.”

“My most recent class was the Digital Transformation Strategy Program. I found it especially valuable because it provided tools and vocabulary to describe how our organization can and must continue to deliver the most valuable offerings in our space. How do we articulate value? How do we measure value? How do we articulate innovation and measure innovation effectiveness? It was a very pragmatic class, and it resonated with my engineering training and background.”

Gaining a Common Vocabulary with a Diverse Team

“The Dexcom Product Management team is a very diverse group. It’s composed of people with MBAs and people with PhDs in engineering. Yet, we are consistent and coherent across the team. When we look at professional development, our team is looking for a shared experience, common training, a common vocabulary. The five-day program Product Management Program at Berkeley is a shared experience that enabled us to define a consistent approach. Not everyone has attended at the same time, but I recommend more than one person from a team attending the program at the same time because there is no substitute for being able to converse during training.”

“After experiencing programs at Berkeley Executive Education, our team now formats our presentations differently. We express ourselves in cross-functional meetings differently than we did previously. It doesn't matter who on our team represents the product perspective in a group setting. Each of us will present similarly. We're more consistent and coherent as a team. The value from the shared training shows in the team's increasing influence in driving strategy and execution.”

Gain Tools and Back It Up with Theory

“My suggestion to most students is to look for both the practical tools and look for the theory. Be ready to apply the tools as soon as you return to the office. Keep the theory ready at hand because you'll turn to it often.