Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Training

components of SixSigma

Are you considering a career that will require process improvements? Many do, as these skills in continuous improvement are applicable to many fields. Careers Beyond Academia has partnered for six years with Binghamton University’s Watson School of Engineering to offer the opportunity to register at a reduced cost and complete the Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Training (online). Over 27 participants have benefitted from our sponsorship. Contact us via gradcareers@cornell.edu to find out how you can too!

Lean Six Sigma certification at the Green Belt level gives you valuable business tools to achieve process and operational excellence. The course content emphasizes why the implementation of Lean Six Sigma is vital to the continuous improvement of industry in today’s competitive world. Several case studies and applications of Lean Six Sigma concepts are presented throughout the course along with how it is used not only in the manufacturing context but other areas as well. The course helps you conceptually and practically analyze, break down and fix a problem to arrive at a more efficient solution for continuous process improvement. Specifically the course covers:

  • Continuous process improvement (CPI) with emphasis on both lean and six sigma concepts and methodologies
  • Lean concepts and its applications, such as 5s, waste reduction, value stream mapping, and error proofing
  • DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control) to solve issues and transition CPI projects from one phase to another
  • Basic statistical analysis methods, tools, and control charts used to determine key relationships between inputs and outputs
  • The integration of both lean and six sigma for achieving data-driven process improvement results
  • Team dynamics and leadership to provide effectively successful projects

We post testimonials from the now 30 Cornell Careers Beyond Academia participants who completed the certification and share what they got out of the training. This information might help you decide whether the Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certification is for you. In addition, we have had many Masters students benefit from the Cornell Careers Beyond Academia negotiated rate without reimbursement from our program.

Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification – summer 2022

Careers Beyond Academia supported three individuals who participated in the online training. Some reasons for taking advantage of this opportunity are shared below in their takeaways from the certification course for which they were reimbursed:

“My interest in Lean Six Sigma developed as I began investigating careers in the Biotechnology sector outside of academia. Lean Six Sigma is a process improvement methodology that aims for efficient and reliable outputs, which is important for those working in biotechnology and handling critical medicines, chemical reagents, gene synthesis, etc…I felt that understanding the fundamentals of these methodologies would help me to better approach my current work as a graduate student and prepare me for a transition to industry in the future. I learned about the broad scope of tools to use for process improvement, and through the final project I engaged deeply with a subset of these tools (SIPOC diagrams, Pareto Charts, Swim Lane Flow Charts, Takt Time, Repeatability and Reproducibility, and Control Charts) to understand process improvement from start to finish. Many of these tools are applicable to my current lab environment and I’m excited to see how they will aid my work going forward. It is a short course, but very intense! Be prepared to spend a significant amount of time watching the lectures, reviewing the notes, and learning the reasoning behind the tools in order to apply these tools to your work and receive the certification.” N. Scinto-Madonich, Plant Biology

“The Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification allowed me to learn and practice effective analysis and decision-making in a wide range of applications. The course has given me the confidence to approach efficiency and productivity problems with a set of tools that can be very useful for my research and future career.” B. Albert, PhD’23 Biomedical Engineering

“The LSSGB program is a big part of helping me bridge the gap between academia and industry. The concepts of DMAIC, VOC, and process efficiency will be useful to me now with my STEM research and Board work, and beyond in my career. I look forward to utilizing this training and continuing to build on my skills. Thank you to Careers Beyond Academia for providing this opportunity for the training and an industry recognized certification.” V. Shukla, Food Science and Technology

Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification – spring 2021

Careers Beyond Academia supported two individuals who participated in the online training. Some reasons for taking advantage of this opportunity are shared below in their takeaways from the certification course for which they were reimbursed:

“The LSSGB certification class was a great opportunity to become certified in an industry standard. The topics in the course covered a wide range of real-life scenarios of process improvement in healthcare, design improvement, supply chains, and even everyday life. The lectures focus on fundamentals and theory of the topics, while the final exam emphasizes application in a variety of scenarios to drive process improvement. Although some of the tools were intuitive or perhaps covered in other courses in a different context, I still found the course very beneficial for learning the technical vocabulary and visual aids that are used in the industry.”-M Chaterjee,  Biomedical Engineering

“I learned how one can reduce waste and variability in a process. We learned how we can apply this to our day-to-day life and also in companies on a large scale.”-J Badar, PhD’23 Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology

Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification – winter 2020

We supported two individuals to participate in the winter Dec. 16, 2019- Jan. 19, 2020 online training. Read what reasons they found for seeking out the training:

“This course would help me develop and understand the skill set that I think will help me to transition from a STEM PhD to a career management consulting. The exposure to the DMAIC method will formally bridge the gap between my technical academic/research experience and a career where I will need to apply my analytical skills in different fields. I am interested in this particular course because it offers self-paced flexibility and is compatible with my lab work schedule.” – R. Allison, PhD’21 Food Science and Technology

“I would like to take this class because I am extremely interested in pursuing a career in clinical research management as a clinical trials manager, where I would be involved in clinical trials at hospitals. Having the lean six sigma healthcare course is necessary to pursue this career path.” – B. Marks, PhD22 Biomedical and Biological Sciences

Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification – winter 2019

We supported one individual to participate in the Nov. 19, 2018-Jan. 20, 2019 online training. Here’s what they had to say about the experience:

“This course gave me a good overview of different lean and six sigma techniques. I learned to apply some statistical methods as well as learned about different ways to visualize and analyze processes. The course has videos of lectures, slides, and a lengthy final exam.” –E. Rey PhD’19 Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification – summer 2018

We supported three individuals to participate in the April 30-July 1, 2018 online training. Here’s what they had to say about the experience:

“This training is a good chance to learn some basic strategies in improving profit of certain processes. It works in both industrial and academic aspects. It needs some statistics to carry out some analysis but overall pretty straightforward. Not much effort is needed, but the outcome is very beneficial. It’s also a good certificate to get as a good add-on to your resume.”-Y. Zhang PhD’21 Fiber Science and Apparel Design

“I learned a lot in this Lean Six Sigma Program. It introduces a lot of methods and tools to improve performance by reducing waste. As a PhD student majoring in Biomedical Engineering, I like the way the course is structured by giving a lot of examples with the healthcare system. The course also provides ample tools for project management and workflow optimization. After all, I believe this course provides useful skills for researchers and it will be a great add-on in my career development.”-T. Mok PhD’22 Biomedical Engineering

“I have learned a lot through this Lean Six Sigma training program including advanced tools for problem solving and improvement methodologies used for projects. This training program is very useful in both academia and industry. I also learned a lot about improving efficiency, reducing variation, and problem-solving. I like the way the training is instructed and structured, we have more flexibility on the learning and the course has many examples to help us get a better understanding of those principles. The course also provides many statistics methods and tools which are helpful for our data analysis. I believe I can apply what I learned into my work and study, and it will be very beneficial to my career and professional development.”-D. Huang Food Science and Technology

Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification – winter 2018

We supported four individuals to participate in the Dec. 18, 2017-Jan. 21, 2018 online training. Here’s what they had to say about the experience:

“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 PhD’20 Molecular Biology and Genetics (Biophysics)

“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 PhD’22 Chemical Engineering

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 you skip the statistics portion of the course, as it is designed for individuals with 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 we 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 graduate students and postdoctoral scholars who have significant research and teaching obligations. However, we encourage you to look into them, especially if you are considering continuing for a black belt certification (but this is also offered on campus). We are open to trainees wishing to try Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certifications from other universities, but we have not vetted any at this time.

“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 PhD’20 Biomedical Engineering, incoming consultant at Boston Consulting Group

“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 PhD’20 Biomedical Engineering

Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification – summer 2017

We supported three individuals to participate in the May 30-June 30, 2017 online training. Here’s what they had to say about the experience:

“I’m an Industrial Microbiologist by training who generally seeks to diversify my skills in related disciplines. I had high expectations of this course because of its practicality and usefulness in a pharmaceutical industry setting, and potential application in a research laboratory. I have friends with Six Sigma training from other organizations whose fast and practical thinking I admire.  [but ] I will only recommend this course to a person who needs the Lean Six sigma certification to find a job in the health industry, with a solid statistical background and wiliness to teach themselves the Lean and Six sigma principles.”-M. Medina-Rivera PhD’20 Food Science and Technology

“The lean six sigma greenbelt class from Binghamton University gave me the opportunity to learn about Lean Six sigma processes at my own pace. The online lectures were excellent and regardless of your background you could learn and excel in this program.”F. Harnischfeger PhD’20 Food Science and Technology

“It was a very informative class that taught me strategies to improve consistency and speed of a process. I look forward to implementing some of these techniques throughout my PhD career.”-T. Tang PhD’21 Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification – winter 2017

We supported six individuals to participate in the December 19, 2016-January 1, 2017 online training. Here’s what they had to say about the experience:

“I was really excited to hear about this opportunity to take a course in Lean Six Sigma through the BEST program and Binghamton University. In my past experiences at industrial internships, both in the chemical and manufacturing industries, the Lean Six Sigma process plays a very integral role within the organizations to reduce organizational waste and improve process throughput.
Ultimately, the concepts and skills learned in this course will not only be useful in an industrial setting, but is also very useful in the lab setting in grad school (or even at home). Being able to develop a process flow map and identify critical players at each processing step has been useful in my research during device fabrication runs in the Cornell Nanoscale Science and Technology Facility (CNF). Even seemingly trivial tasks, like standardizing and scheduling maintenance work on lab equipment, has been streamlined using Lean Six Sigma techniques.
It was especially fortunate for me that this course was offered online. The timing of the course happened to fall in line with the holiday season complicated by traveling for job interviews. I felt very lucky to be able to take this course through the BEST program, even though I was not able to study on-campus with the other BESTies taking it.”-D. Lynch PhD’17 Materials Science and Engineering, now R&D Materials Scientist at Agilent Technologies

“Taking the lean six sigma course provided by Binghamton University is very rewarding even if it was not easy and took a long time. To successfully pass the course, you have to spend over 20 hours on the lectures (12 lectures total and each lecture is 90 min long) and for the final exam, I spent around 30 hours. Even if it’s a tough course and requires a lot of efforts, I still think it worth taking. Since I am interested in doing consulting after my graduation, this course is perfectly for that field. It teaches us two methodologies that are very important for the industry, the lean methodology and the six sigma methodology. The first one focuses on reducing the wastes and the second one focuses on reducing the variance. Those are the problems that most companies are faced with and since people in consulting are focused on problem solving for companies, the lean six sigma green belt certificate will be a great boost for my resume. Moreover, the methods and tools I learnt from this course will also get me well prepared for my future work.”-J. Wang PhD’19 Molecular Biology and Genetics (Biophysics), now data scientist at Earnin

“It was so fascinating to learn these concepts and tools and to see their power. I could learn the fundamental concepts as well as tools. This learning process was followed up with the final project/exam, which helped us to apply our new knowledge to real word problem. This training is very valuable and I recommend it to everyone.”-M. Haft-Javaherian PhD’19 Biomedical Engineering

“It’s a good course. The course covered varies aspects of process improvement and provided real life examples and case studies to assist with understanding. After completing the course, I feel more confident in applying the Lean Six Sigma principles to improve efficiency and reduce variation in a given process. I highly recommend it to PhD students or postdocs who have an interest in industrial jobs.”-Y. Cheng PhD’16 Food Science and Technology

“This certification involved lean six sigma basic training. The class taught you the techniques to make processes more effective and accurate, while giving you real life examples.”-O. Teran PhD’22 Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology

“This is an excellent certificate to have for those BESTies looking for jobs in industry. It really teaches you how to think about inefficiencies in everyday running of businesses and how to improve them.”-H. Xu PhD’17 Molecular Biology and Genetics, now consultant at Boston Consulting Group

Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification – 2016

We supported three individuals to participate in the May 31-July 1, 2016 online training. Here’s what they had to say about the experience:

“The Lean Six Sigma management is a commonly used technique to improve process efficiency and reduce waste in manufacturing and service areas. After taking this course, I have [a] better understanding of how to use statistical tools to do all the necessary analysis to improve efficiency. The online lecture videos are very clear and thorough. But in order to pass the exam, participant[s] have to have enough statistical knowledge otherwise [it] will be very challenging. My advice to the new participant is to study the pre-required statistic materials quickly so that you will have more time to study the actual course. The exam itself is very intensive, which requires at least 2 weeks of time to be able to finish it on time.
The knowledge of Lean Six Sigma can be used in management of manufacturing factories, healthcare facilities and other organizations. I think it will be benefit for BESTies who are interested in industry jobs. I like[d] it a lot and would recommend to others.”Z. Lu James A. Baker Institute for Animal Health

I completed the online Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certification course, a training that gave me experience measuring and quantifying improvements to production that can minimize product variability and control defects. I am interested in industry positions for product development and manufacturing and Lean Six Sigma is a well-recognized certification in many of the companies that I am interested [in] working at. As I pursue a position and career in industry, I hope that Lean Six Sigma certification would be beneficial for me and help set me apart from other job applicants.
The material covered a broad range of tools to help reduce waste in manufacturing and improve productivity. The course consisted of well-organized video lectures that introduced many quantitative and qualitative tools that could be used to define and improve a process. Most of the tools were very straightforward and intuitive. Examples from the course came from a broad range of fields, from reducing patient wait time in a healthcare setting to more traditional manufacturing problems like identifying the source of defects and eliminating them.
Overall, this course was a great introduction to Lean Six Sigma methodology. I would recommend it for graduate students that are planning on going into industry, especially if they are considering a manufacturing career path. This training gave me a good perspective on the types of problems that Lean Six Sigma is successful at solving. Although I will need more practice applying the methods, the extensive slide collection will be a valuable resource in the future.”-V. Sorg PhD’17 Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, now Module and Integration Yield Engineer at Intel

More and more companies are utilizing Lean Six Sigma, so if you’re wanting to go into industry like me, this is an excellent course to take. I believe having a green belt certification on my resume will really help me stand out to potential employers. This course does require a large time commitment. The duration of the course is short (1 month), but there is a lengthy final exam due at the end. It is necessary to not get behind on the lessons in order to complete everything in time. Some of the concepts are challenging if you haven’t been exposed to them before, and a basic statistics background is highly recommended. The TA for the course was very attentive and helpful with any questions that arose along the way.
One of my favorite aspects of the course is that a lot of the example scenarios presented were biomedical in nature. Since I want to go into the healthcare industry, I particularly liked seeing how Sigma principles can translate into settings such as a making a hospital waiting room more efficient. While challenging, the course was very comprehensive and helped me to picture how I can use Sigma principles in my future career. In my opinion, the benefits of the course far outweigh the amount of time and work that need to be put into it.“- M. Ledet PhD’18 Comparative Biomedical Sciences

Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification – 2015

We supported three individuals to participate in the January 3-26, 2015 online training. Here’s what they had to say about the experience:

“The information and the certificate will undoubtedly prove useful in my career. The knowledge gained will be important for streamlining processes, irrespective of career choice. The certificate will show a diverse skill base and a commitment towards gaining skills pertinent to careers outside academia. Work on the exam as you learn. The exam takes time. Do the Black Belt course too! Having grads/post-docs combine industry best-practices with their technical degree will assure competitive placement in leadership positions.” A. Coots PhD’16 Nutritional Sciences

“The course was very informative and the final exam helped reinforce the main concepts of the class. This course is a pretty good introduction to six sigma and lean methodology. Six sigma contains ideas that help reduce variability in processes while lean methodology is useful in reducing waste. Combining these two concepts can help make all processes very efficient.
This course was extremely worthwhile. As I did spend significant amounts of time on the final exam, I gained a lot through this course. I would recommend that people try to finish up the videos in the first two weeks and use the final two weeks to do the final exam. This is also recommended by the instructors. Additionally, I think it is useful for fellow participants to get together to watch the video and answer each questions/doubts if any. Also, I would definitely recommend that the participants contact the instructors and ask them any pertinent questions (I found the instructor staff to be very helpful).
Being an analytical chemist I find that most industrial positions require at least a basic understanding of six sigma concepts and hence I think this course will be of great use to me in the future. Please fell to quote me. Also if future BESTies have any questions regarding this course, I would be glad to talk with them. I can be reached at sc974@cornell.edu“- S. Chandrasekaran PhD’17 Chemistry and Chemical Biology

“Being in the bio field I was not aware of this material.  The course material was great, and it would be very helpful for a career in industry.”- P. Gadamsetty PhD’16 Biomedical Engineering, now Data Quality Scientist at Interpreta

From the time period Sept. 2013- Jun. 2019 the Cornell BEST Program.was supported by an NIH grant It is now a university-wide initiative, “Careers Beyond Academia”, encompassing all disciplines housed in the Graduate School.