EE204: Business Management for
Electrical Engineers and Computer Scientists

Spring 2015

Time and Place: Tuesday and Thursday 9:00am-10:50am, Huang 018


Syllabus/class schedule

Spring 2015


EE204 now offered through SCPD as EE204S.
I am... Enroll in
A Stanford student EE204
An HCP student who would like to attend all classes in person EE204
An HCP student who would like take the class completely online EE204S
An SCPD NDO student (including students enrolled in SCPD certificate program) EE204S


EE204 is a highly interactive classroom experience designed to provide students with the opportunity to see and experience the fundamental activities of businesses. EE204 explores five major activities of business which are central to formation,survival and growth

Identifying new markets

Developing successful products

Creating and Executing the business plan

Measuring results

Managing teams

Learning how to see and understand these activities is accomplished through case studies . The Case Method of Instruction is the heart of the class and is used to present specific issues faced by real companies. Students are asked to analyze these issues, make decisions, plan future actions, and discuss their reasoning in class. The companies are chosen from the technology sector including consumer electronics, semiconductor, software, consulting services, and e-commerce. A case is chosen to highlight one or more management challenges faced by the company. Case studies are supplemented by frameworks and tools (see marketing example) and background readings by thought leaders

Understanding the activities of business can provide engineers, scientists, and educators with a broader perspective on how to contribute to their organizations and achieve their career objectives. The curriculum is designed to build business skills and introduce a critical questioning and thinking process. The classroom discussion format is designed for a student centered learning experience. The course is fast paced, requiring extensive reading preparation and participation (see Stanford University course review and student comments)

Course Point of View

The course point of view is operational effectiveness. The course is taught from the perspectives of the decision maker and those responsible for implementing the decisions. Students are asked to gather all relevant information, weigh the alternatives, make a decision, and explain “what they would do” to implement their decision through their own actions and the leadership of others.

Team Focus

Each class is conducted as a business team meeting. Our objective is to determine the best course of action and its implementation for the assigned case study. Students are the team members and the instructor is the facilitator. The case method is used. The case method of management instruction is based upon the belief that management is a skill. The best way to learn this skill is to experience it through a team simulation as opposed to a traditional lecture format. The collective knowledge and reasoning of the team determines the outcome of each class. The students decide “the right decision and course of action” in the heat of their deliberations, debate, and discussion.

Communications skills

The class offers students an opportunity to practice and develop communications skills. Individuals present their points of view and their decisions through oral classroom participation. Students should expect to be challenged by their classmates to defend their analysis, decisions, and implementation plans. We recommended students form a study group for all classes but it is required for one written team paper. Students for whom English is a second language have had excellent success in this class.

For interested students, there are additional communication-skill-building opportunities in which they may participate for extra credit:

Distance Learning EE204S

One of the objectives of EE204 is to share the learning experience with the broadest base of students possible. EE204 will be recorded and offered to distance-learning SCPD students as a separate parallel course, EE204S, which will incorporate online platform tools for collaboration and peer review. The course material is chosen to reflect the global interdependence of 21st-century business and enhance the relevance to our students around the world. Please contact the Stanford Center for Professional Development program for information on enrollment. In the future.

Continuing Education

The evolution of business activities and companies covered in EE204 are updated frequently on the class Twitter feed. Also included are interesting articles and news. Please continue to follow the class as a student, alumnus, or interested person on the class Twitter feed:




EE204 Course Information

Learning contract and class culture


Case method of instruction

Classroom discussion guidelines

Written assignment guidelines

Study groups


Stanford University course reviews

Excerpts from student comments

EE204 course design and position paper

EE204S SCPD additionalCourse Information

Class participation and team building

SCPD Resource Page

Study question write ups, submission, and evaluation


Faculty Background and Contact Information

Fred Gibbons

Charles Flint

Office hours & contact information


Registration and course reader information

Waiting list information


Business Association for Stanford Engineering Students (BASES)