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A Simulation Recruitment Tool For Engineering Management

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.41.1 - 4.41.5

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Halvard E. Nystrom

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2642

A Simulation Recruitment Tool for Engineering Management Halvard E. Nystrom University of Missouri – Rolla


This article summarizes the application of the Palmtop Simulation Program within the “Introduction to Engineering ‘98” a summer program for high school juniors and seniors offered at the University of Missouri-Rolla. The simulation model provides an enjoyable experience for young students without business background to make decisions related to the new product innovation process and highlights the usefulness of business skills for engineers. It also summarizes the results of a survey given to the students after their simulation experience. The survey represents the students’ perception of how much they learned about the importance of business related skills.


One of the recruiting challenges for the undergraduate program in Engineering Management is the lack of awareness of high school students of our discipline and the value that it provides. Many students visualize engineers working in isolation creating technologically innovative products. However much of the real work of engineers is based on interactions with others, product costs, customer needs, communication, motivation of others, trade-off's in resource allocation, and interdisciplinary teams. The Engineering Management program prepares the students for these roles, but it is difficult for high school or early undergraduate students who have no industrial experience to recognize this need.

The Palmtop Simulation Program © is created to allow students to experience the real issues of decision making in a high technology company. They experience the importance of business issues such as marketing, management, finance and engineering economics within a team environment. The students are formed into teams that compete with each other to make the most profitable palmtop computer business. As they allocate resources to design and produce the palmtop computer they learn the importance of designing a product line that meets customer needs and makes a profit. They work in teams to make these decisions, compare their results, and reflect on their performance and how it could have been improved. As a result, they better understand how Engineering Management helps them become more effective engineers who can deal in the world of business and help their firms focus on the most important problems. The simulation allows them to visualize how the degree will allow them to function as an engineer and use marketing, finance, engineering economics, accounting, management information systems, management, manufacturing and production, to become more effective and successful. The simulation is handled with a Microsoft Excel worksheet that is intended for use with

Nystrom, H. E. (1999, June), A Simulation Recruitment Tool For Engineering Management Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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