Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Online Student Spotlight: Matthew Sheaffer

March 15, 2023

by Cj Pettus

After returning to school and earning his master’s degree from the University of Michigan online, Matthew Sheaffer decided that he wasn’t ready to quit learning. Matthew was focused on his personal growth and wanted more. So, he chose to further explore topics he had worked with in his degree program, including statistical process control and the DMAIC process. He registered to continue his education by earning his Lean Six Sigma Black Belt in Manufacturing online from the University of Michigan.


Matthew, a manufacturing process engineer for Hankook Tire, knew that the quality management and Six Sigma tools he learned in his master’s program were already proving useful in his job. By pursuing his Black Belt, he could grow in this area and apply his new knowledge to challenges in his daily work. 

He believes that two things from the course have already been incredibly impactful. He said, “Refining my mathematics and statistics as a whole, and becoming a way better analyzer of data by helping me build more of a thought process. With Six Sigma, I now have a structured format to analyze issues.”

Although Matthew’s coworkers did not join him in his pursuit of Six Sigma knowledge, others in his company have benefited. He said, “I’ve shared with my managers, and we now have a formatted problem-solving structure throughout the plant. We’re seeing other engineers using that format that they’ve never seen before.”


Overall, his experience in the course has been positive. Matthew believes that his online learning knowledge from his graduate program has helped him succeed in the Six Sigma program. His biggest recommendation is to simply come prepared, especially by considering discussion points and questions for scheduled meeting times with instructors.

Although the Six Sigma program is online and self paced, learners have the opportunity to meet with instructors to discuss course content and its applications. According to Matthew, “The recorded sessions and then talking with Nicole Friedberg were helpful. As long as I came prepared with questions and walked through what I needed further information on, it was very simple.”

So far, Matthew has found his experience in the class very rewarding. He says, “I would recommend Six Sigma to anybody who works in the manufacturing industry, especially manufacturing engineers and people going into industrial engineering.”
If you are considering earning your Six Sigma certification, the University of Michigan offers a variety of flexible options. You can choose to learn online like Matthew or in a blended format with in-person meeting weeks.

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