Penn State Great Valley launches Six Sigma Black Belt certification

MALVERN, Pa. — Penn State Great Valley has announced the introduction of the Six Sigma Black Belt certification

Six Sigma is a group of practices and perspectives that combine to optimize processes and eliminate waste in business practices. To recognize the different levels of experience and expertise, a “belt” designation is commonly used by the industry, ranging from an introductory “white belt” that outlines some basic concepts and terms to a “black belt” that expands on the technologies and tools of innovation, includes approaches to real-world challenges and integrates well into today’s world of project management, rapid change, and global demands. 

“In today’s business world, we encounter challenges that only a few years ago would have seemed impossible: inflation, pandemic, supply chain, global competition, remote work and more,” said program instructor Marc Hanlan. “The only constant may be change, but today even the rate of change is changing. Great Valley’s Six Sigma Black Belt Certification course uses Six Sigma technologies to address those challenges — and even leverage them for your competitive advantage.” 

The program consists of one course broken into four modules spanning the fall and spring semesters, culminating in a comprehensive Black Belt certification exam. Practice exams are given at the end of each module. Throughout the course, students conduct a Lean Six Sigma project that spans at least six months and are often sponsored through and directly impact students’ places of work. 

Many Six Sigma programs traditionally teach the DMAIC (define, measure, analyze, improve and control) methodology phase-by-phase, demonstrating key tools of each phase, but Great Valley’s program goes a step further, according to Hanlan. 

“Our program includes real-world versions of those technologies, skills and abilities, from integrating technical analysis and creativity, to engaging sponsors and stakeholders to support the change, to dealing with in-person, remote and hybrid workplaces, locally and globally,” Hanlan said. “These skills and perspectives are woven into the curriculum in ways that still showcase traditional Six Sigma concepts while understanding and applying modern, successful, sustainable, real-world projects and programs.” 

The program’s ability to bridge the gap between theory and practice is thanks in large part to instructors Marc Hanlan and Kyle Hanlan, who both teach in other Great Valley professional development programs as well. They have decades of relevant experience and have developed Six Sigma curricula locally and globally, providing a unique combination of real-world success with their “Master Black Belt” certifications and doctoral-level academic knowledge. The pair have developed, applied and improved Six Sigma tools and applications in a wide variety of industries and situations from government to services to manufacturing to distribution and more. 

Marc Hanlan has been supporting organizational change and transformation for more than 30 years. He is the holder of international patents and has held executive positions in manufacturing, computers, consulting, and services. He’s flown aerobatics, measured Earth-Moon orbits, designed part of the International Space Station, and started numerous companies along the way. The author of several books, he earned his doctorate in Organizational Development and Change from Fielding Graduate University.  Kyle Hanlan is the vice president of LLMC Partners and has professional experience ranging from management consulting for Fortune 500 companies to public service in the federal government to negotiations between the United States and foreign governments. He earned his doctorate in public policy and administration from Walden University. 

Great Valley’s Six Sigma Black Belt program is offered in a hybrid format, alternating between in-person and remote classes each week. The first module begins Sept. 26; course registration costs $3,200, but students who register before Sept. 19 will receive a $200 discount. 

For more information or to register for the Six Sigma Black Belt certification, click here