I've tried by using the keyboard applications and shortcuts submenu by adding a command "matlab" and associating my desired key combination. This is based on the fact that if I run $ matlab from terminal it will open matlab as I have made the proper symbolic link in my /usr/local/bin folder.
However, when I try to use the keybind, it appears to work (matlab's loading window appears (the colorful one that is initializing matlab), but then disappears shortly after, and matlab never ends up opening.
I'm a fairly new linux user so I am sort of unsure why this wouldn't work. For example, I got the application name for the default xfce terminal (xfce4-terminal) and made a shortcut for that and it worked, but this didn't. If it matters, my distribution is debian.