June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
12.473.1 - 12.473.5
Designing Tracks for Industrial and Systems Engineering Majors
The breadth of potential employers for graduating industrial engineers is staggering these days. Traditional avenues of manufacturing, production, and consulting jobs are being supplemented by those in logistics, energy, health care, finance, information technology, and government sectors. According to employers, industrial engineers are sought for problem solving skills, quantitative abilities, and business skills, but it is clear that some exposure to work in that area before graduation – either in or out of the classroom – is appreciated. This has led our department to define tracks of courses tailored to possible careers, such as logistics and supply chain management or financial engineering, for students in their junior and senior years. This enables students to market themselves according to their career objectives, as they can identify a degree (Industrial Engineering (IE) or Information and Systems Engineering (ISE)) and an area of specialty, if they so choose. In addition to defining the different tracks and envisioned careers paths, we identify ways in which to facilitate this increase in course offerings through partnering with industries and other departments, often in other colleges.
Industrial engineering has evolved greatly as a profession over time, moving from strictly applying methods in manufacturing to working heavily in the service industry as evidenced by industrial engineers (IEs) now routinely being hired by logistics firms, health care agencies, and even Wall Street firms. In our meetings with potential recruiters, including major consulting firms, transportation companies, financial firms, health care providers, and manufacturers, it is clear that employers seek out IEs for their quantitative tools (probability, statistics, operations research tools), technology skills (databases, computing), general IE knowledge (process mapping, IE methods, human factors) and exposure to business skills (accounting, engineering economics). However, it has also been made clear that if students want to move into a particular application area, such as finance, then it is advantageous for them to acquire some aptitude in that area. For example, a recent recruiting team from Lehman Brothers told us that they are extremely interested in IEs that have taken courses in finance or at a minimum, are members of the student finance club. We have received similar input from health care providers.
Thus, as a department, we have taken a close look at our curriculum to ensure that it provides the solid foundation that every graduating IE requires to be successful but also provides enough breadth and flexibility such that a student can tailor a career path if they so desire. We have enabled this vision through two steps: 1. Increasing the number of electives. The main intent of this was to allow students to seek further education outside of our department, such as pursuing a minor in economics or international relations, for example. 2. Defining career tracks with suggested courses to be completed with in-department electives and/or technical out-fo-department electives. It should be noted here that a student is not required to define a track and complete courses in a given area. Rather, our curriculum only requires that a student take 4 elective courses at the 300
Hartman, J., & Tonkay, G. (2007, June), Designing Tracks For Industrial And Systems Engineering Majors Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/2460
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