Fundamentals of International Product Design and Development

Location of Program: Singapore      Year: 2017
Program Director(s): Mark Colton
Participating Major(s): Focused on Mechanical Engineering, open to all Engineering Majors


The International Product Design program centered on students developing a product to improve cleaning efficiency of public areas. Throughout the course, professors from Brigham Young University, Penn State University, and National University of Singapore instructed students in concept development, machinery and prototyping, and consumer behavior.

Recap of the Year:

Leadership Development 
Each team was led by a project manager as well as leaders for specific phases such as testing, adapting prototypes, and determining and meeting consumer needs. Throughout the project, students had opportunities to exercise initiative, learn to better communicate ideas, draw out and utilize one another’s strengths, and motivate each other.  

Global Agility
Students were placed in diverse teams of students from a variety of universities, countries, and backgrounds to design a product while immersed in a foreign environment. As students worked out their differences stemming from both cultural and individual points of view, a new spectrum of ideas and solutions emerged that added value to the final product and developed new skills needed to function on multi-cultural teams.

Technical Experience 
Students learned new techniques in modeling and manufacturing. The groups chose different types of mechanical engineering to design and create their product. Some projects had final products that had been built from pure mechatronics and coding, while others were tools manufactured from metal, steel, plastic, and 3D-printing materials. During lab hours, students worked with industrial machines in product development as well as CAD software. 

Student Experiences

“I learned in this trip that working with people from different countries can be very hard, but rewarding at the same time. I came to realize that a lot of the time there isn’t right and wrong ideas. They are just different.”-Chris Hoskins

"I felt that it really opened my eyes to the importance of developing soft skills like communication, leadership, planning, and building relationships in addition to strong technical skills. It also highlighted that cultural differences are real and should be appreciated—not just understood or simply acknowledged in engineering design."- Curtis Johnson