BESTies Andrew Sanchez, Chemical Engineering, Hao Pan, Molecular Biology and Genetics, Rick Wang and Yuying Zhang, Biomedical Engineering, completed the Online Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification.
"It was a really rewarding training course to learn the methodology to improve efficiency and reduce variation in a process. From the case studies addressed in this course, I learned how to use the lean six sigma strategies to solve real problems. This course is very valuable and the skills I have adopted would be a great add-on to my career development in the biotech industry." H. Pan
"Lean and Six Sigma are useful skills for any STEM researcher. Not only are these marketable certifications, but they instill certified users with a problem-solving mindset geared towards efficiency and efficacy. It's useful to consider many ways to solve a problem, no matter the final application. Culling experience from the business world only serves to diversify our skill sets and perspectives.
Binghamton's manner of teaching the course, unfortunately, is not very effective. The lectures are unnecessarily long and slow. The instructional videos can be played at 2x speed, which makes most speakers sound high pitched and unintelligible, but brings the BU instructor to a normal speaking rate. Further, he belabors points scientists, engineers, and business people should already know (e.g., this is how you drag a formula in Excel), but totally skips past any of the case studies, which undoubtedly could have provided more useful insights. The exam itself is quite tedious, though not very difficult.
A note on the statistics portion: you can skip it. I've never taken an official statistics course, so I was worried/thought the crash course would be useful. However, 75% of it is exceedingly basic, and it ultimately isn't necessary for completing the final exam.
Ultimately, I'm very appreciative that BEST provided funding for this, as it provided some useful tools and things to think about. However, it might be in the program's and students' best interest to see if another university has a similar opportunity." A. Sanchez
BEST Program response: Thank you for your considered and honest feedback; we post all responses so other potential attendees can weigh the evidence for themselves. We indeed recommend BESTies skip the statistics portion of the course, as it is designed for individuals will much less scientific training. Over the years we have investigated other training options at state-wide or national organizations. Unfortunately almost all have costs that do not fit most PhD or postdoc budgets (see the Lean Six Sigma website), and the BEST Program cannot afford to pay those tuition rates (for example IASSC charges $295 just for the exam, without any instruction). Most of them also require students to be on site, which might be less practical for busy trainees. However, we encourage you to look into them, especially if you are considering continuing for a black belt certification. We are open to trainees wishing to try Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certifications from other universities, but we have not vetted any.
"The course provided a comprehensive overview of lean and six sigma concepts for eliminating waste, reducing variation, and improving operational efficiency. Awareness of these concepts is definitely a plus for those interested in pursuing a career in industry or consulting. The course also provided a great review of statistics, with emphasis on application of methods to analyze real world data." R. Wang
"The Lean Six Sigma Green Belt training started with fundamental tools of doing brainstorming and making flowcharts, then moved on to key concepts in lean and sigma. From an engineering perspective, lean six sigma not only improves efficiency on idea generation, but also introduces manufacturing processes so that engineers can design with scalability in mind. Furthermore, this course provides several tools on project management and can be applied in a wide range of job positions such as project managers and consultants. In my opinion, this course is valuable for anybody who wants to work beyond an R&D engineer in industry." Y. Zhang
See more feedback from BESTies who took completed this certification in July 2017