• Master Black Belt in Operational Excellence

Earn Your Master Black Belt from the University of Michigan 

Develop a critical blend of core skills in program management and technical problem solving required to be an effective Master Black Belt instructor and Continuous Improvement Leader.

Project Management for Knowledge-Based Projects

Effective MBBs also must have a solid foundation in project management skills including an understanding of how to lead and teach others to lead knowledge-based projects. In Lean Six Sigma problem solving, the solution and sometimes even the project goal often are unknown at project start. As such, DMAIC project management requirements a deeper understanding of adaptive project managements techniques versus a more traditional Project Management approach.

Teaching, Coaching, and Mentoring

Another important, though often underappreciated skill, is teaching effectiveness, coaching, and mentoring. The University of Michigan has significant experience teaching and fostering adult learning. Throughout this course, we will work with you to improve your capabilities to design instructional material, prepare for teaching and potential student questions, and explore different ways to effectively teach Black Belt level content. In doing so, we recognize that there is no single best instruction method. Thus, we will discuss different learning styles and present a range of methods to help you develop the right approach for your organization.

During the course, you will be required to deliver three course lectures. You will also be expected to lead a student exercise review session and classroom simulation. During these activities, you will be reviewed by Lean Six Sigma Professional Trainers and instructional design professionals.

Another key role for MBBs is coaching and mentoring Lean Six Sigma projects and continuous improvement events such as Kaizen Events. Many Green/Black projects must overcome challenges such as team member conflicts, scope creep, non-supportive managers, and lack of data availability, so MBBs must be able to effectively guide resources through these non-technical issues. Throughout this course, we will discuss various scenarios and explore different strategies to address these challenges. Among these is to help you recognize the difference between providing guidance for Green/Black Belts versus solving the problem for them. Here, Toyota Kata provides a useful framework for establishing a desired target condition and vision as well as guidelines to effectively coach and engage resources toward a solution.

Of course, mentoring involves more than just dealing with Green/Black Belt resources. MBBs must provide mentoring for managers and non-belt employees to help them see the need for continuous improvement projects and understand the benefits of taking a comprehensive data-drive approach.

Program Management and Deployment

A core competency of a Master Black Belt is the ability to manage a continuous improvement program. This course will examine various deployment strategies and provide a roadmap for developing an appropriate deployment strategy to drive change through an organization. We discuss ways to work with company leadership to establish and sustain a culture of continuous improvement.

Advanced Data Analysis Skills

As subject matter experts, MBBs also must possess a deeper understanding of Lean Six Sigma Green/Black Belt tools as well as be competent using more advanced techniques. This course builds upon the rigorous University of Michigan Black Belt curriculum, going deeper into the following topic areas:

  • Advanced Lean Productivity Modeling and Analysis
  • Advanced Statistical Process Control (SPC)
  • Advanced Process Capability
  • Desirability Index for Multiple Requirements
  • Advanced Measurement Systems Analysis
  • Advanced Hypothesis Testing (Bartlett/Levene Test, Post Hoc Mean Comparisons)
  • Categorical Data Analysis Methods (Measures of Association)
  • Advance Regression / General Linear Model
  • Advanced Design of Experiments (Fold Over Fractional Designs, RSM, Taguchi DOE)
  • Introduction to Time Series Analysis and Forecasting
  • Overview of Design for Six Sigma
  • Reliability Analysis
  • Survey Methods and Analysis
  • Advanced Power and Sample Size Planning

Learning Objectives

  • Identify process improvement opportunities for process owners and Six Sigma belts
  • Develop ability to teach Lean Six Sigma statistical analysis tools and methods
  • Develop a deeper knowledge of the theory and key concepts of the Lean Six Sigma Body of Knowledge
  • Develop advanced data collection plans and design experiments to test hypotheses
  • Assess the effectiveness of a process improvement program
  • Apply project management skills toward process improvement projects and Lean Six Sigma program deployment
  • Integrate statistical analysis tools, software, and problem solving methodologies
  • Coach and mentor others on the application of Lean Six Sigma methods
Detailed Overview

Master Black Belt Program Overview

This unique hybrid program starts with a one-week classroom session in Ann Arbor followed by a second classroom session around eight weeks later. Between the two classroom sessions, you must complete 8 online modules with exercises.

You will begin the MBB certification process when you demonstrate your teaching skills with a final presentation. Upon successful completion of this session, you must take a certification exam. You will then have six months to develop and present a portfolio for final certification.

2020 Schedule

Before Course
Pre-Course Preparation Online May 18 - June 21
Classroom Week 1 Ann Arbor June 22-26
8 Online Modules with Exercises (~20 hours) Online June 27 - August 9
Classroom Week 2 Ann Arbor August 10-14
Final Candidate Presentation (WebEx) Online September
Certification Exam Online September
Portfolio Review Online Completed by June 2021

Master Black Belt Certification

A Master Black Belt in Operational Excellence certificate from the University of Michigan College of Engineering will be awarded upon successfully meeting the following requirements.

  • Successfully complete the pre-course assignment
  • Participate in all course training days and successfully complete all in-class and online exercises and case studies
  • Successfully prepare and deliver at least two training modules from Black Belt Course Material (modules to be selected for each candidate by MBB Course Instructors)
  • Meet all progress improvement objectives identified in weekly evaluations by MBB Instructors
  • Obtain an 80% or above on MBB Certification Exam
  • Successfully mentor at least three Green or Black Belt candidates through their projects 
  • Provide evidence of teaching effectiveness (e.g., teaching evaluation from a course taught or from a simulated instructional event at the University)