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Development Of An Engineering Masters Degree In Enterprise Systems Innovation & Management

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

IE and EM Program Innovation

Tagged Division

Engineering Management

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.523.1 - 12.523.12



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Paper Authors

author page

Thomas Duening Arizona State University

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


This short paper describes efforts within the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering at Arizona State University to develop and deliver a trans-disciplinary engineering degree in Enterprise Systems Innovation & Management. The degree program was created as a result of repeated requests from a number of corporate partners and sponsors to deliver an engineering degree that enables diverse technically oriented middle management staff to advance in their abilities to lead and manage the enterprise.

Suggestions to provide such managers with standard master of business administration degrees were met with skepticism and doubt. Leaders of technology centric corporations were unconvinced that the standard MBA curriculum included the competencies they were seeking to develop. For example, one corporate partner mentioned that the MBA would not help the sales and marketing people better communicate with engineers and other technical staff. They wanted an engineering based degree that would provide engineers and non-engineers alike with a high level understanding of technology, enterprise systems, and the application of technical analytics to achieve high performance. Most importantly, they repeatedly stressed the need to provide degree participants with a thorough background in enterprise innovation. This is defined as a comprehensive view of the processes, tools, and disciplines essential to the creation of a thoroughgoing culture of innovation.

The problems with standard MBA curricula are legion and have been well documented in the scholarly literature.1 In general, the standard MBA curriculum focuses on discrete business functional units, normally in isolation from the enterprise systems. Thus, students are sequentially taught finance, accounting, management, marketing, and so on. Little time is spent attempting to harmonize the theoretical language across the disciplines, and none is spent on understanding how these business functions inter-relate within the operating enterprise.

The degree that is being requested by corporate partners to the Fulton School professional development programs is one that would be appropriate to mid-tier managers and executives who have responsibility that requires inter-functional as well as intra-functional skills. Clients and partners alike were clear about the desired learning outcomes they were seeking. In particular, they told us that they wanted to achieve the following objectives within the enterprise:

• Effective cross-functional communication and team building • Information systems that provide relevant decision and knowledge support • Human resources systems that lead to high performance • Financial and accounting systems that highlight cost and profit centers • Strategy systems that enable firms to compete in an ever changing global economy • New product development systems that enhance innovation • Production and operation systems that manage costs without inhibiting innovation • Supply chain and vendor management systems that balance insourcing with outsourcing

These are the unique challenges that can only be discovered by looking at the enterprise as a series of interconnected systems rather than discontinuous divisions or departments. The systems view of the enterprise is unique to engineering, yet it requires humility as the

Duening, T. (2007, June), Development Of An Engineering Masters Degree In Enterprise Systems Innovation & Management Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1930

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