A Purdue Industrial Engineering degree is
extremely versatile – and can help you accomplish your dreams. Industrial Engineering – or IEs – integrates
people, information, machines and materials. IEs use information to help companies and
organizations make better business decisions. We apply engineering, mathematics, science
and business principles to improve and simplify complex systems and operations – using a systems
perspective. I chose Industrial Engineering because I really
liked how it was a mix of business and engineering, and I didn’t know exactly what I wanted
to do after college but I knew with an industrial engineering degree I would have a ton of amazing
choices. I chose industrial Engineering because it
closely brings together the empirical side of engineering with more soft skills, people
side – it’s a holistic view of a lot of things and I really enjoyed that. IEs might streamline a hospital operating
room, re-design the layout of an automotive manufacturing plant, reduce waste in a production
process, improve cockpit design, shorten the wait time in amusement park lines, improve
food service in a restaurant, or simplify worldwide product distribution. We are the only engineering professionals
trained specifically to specialize in productivity and quality improvement. Industrial Engineering has given me a way
to not only learn how to think logically and strategize but also mix in the communication
skills that were my strengths in high school. With the problem-solving you learned in IE,
the tasks that you’ve got that were seemingly daunting, whether it was in classes or on
tests, you learn to break them apart, take in all the information that you received,
and then use that information to solve little piece by little piece to eventually break
down a complex problem. Purdue IE courses – taught by our world-class
faculty – focus on four areas: Human factors courses provide an “above
the neck” understanding of cognition and decision making and a “below the neck”
knowledge base of ergonomic principles. Operations research education gives the students
the computational tools and information engineering principles to optimize the performance of
diverse systems. Manufacturing courses give the students exposure
to real-world processes, so that IEs can recommend practical designs and decisions to implement. Production systems training give the students
the skills to design, plan, and schedule complex systems & networks. Students’ senior year culminates with a
Capstone project, solving a real-world problem for one of our many corporate partners – including
some global opportunities in places like Colombia and Jordan, and in other states. One of the highlights in my educational experience
was getting to travel to Los Angeles for my senior design project – we got to go there
for a weekend…That was a really great opportunity this school provided me. [insert Hollywood photo over cut] Purdue IE also offers many “beyond the classroom”
activities: study abroad, internships, co-ops (where students work 3- or 5-semesters to
gain work experience prior to graduation), student organizations such as the Institute
of Industrial & Systems Engineers (IISE], and undergraduate research opportunities. Today’s world is becoming increasingly interconnected
and us as industrial engineers need to know how engineers from different parts of the
world operate in order to bring them and technology together to solve problems in the most efficient
way possible. I’ve done three internships – two in Ghana
and one in Argentina this last summer, working in plants all three times. It’s been a great opportunity to showcase
what IE is and the real-world applications of IE. Co-op is a program here at Purdue that you
switch between school and work every semester, and you can do either up to five sessions
or three sessions of work. I had the great opportunity of working with
both the General Motors Corporation and the Walt Disney Company. With those opportunities I’ve been able
to learn what industrial engineers do in industry, and it’s helped me to understand what I
specifically want to do when I graduate. I’ve been a member of the National Society
of Black Engineers for two years and I’ve been the president of the National Pan-Hellenic
Council for two years as well. I’m currently the Ambassador Director for
the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers, where I get to work closely with both IISE
and the School of Industrial Engineering to promote IE to future and current students. For me personally this was a great opportunity
for me to either find out what I really enjoy in research and what I didn’t enjoy within
research, and that helps change me to be a better industrial engineer as I know what
I want to pursue further and areas that didn’t interest me as much. This summer for my research project I’ve
been focusing on minimizing the time people are in front of the coffee machine by using
task analysis and graph theory. With that I’ve been able to find the most
efficient times and efficient ways for people to get their drinks. You probably WON’T be called an industrial
engineer – you’ll have some other job title because of the broad spectrum of what
IEs do. After graduation, our alumni choose from a
wide variety of careers with domestic and international companies, and some go on to
pursue graduate degrees. Some may work as industrial engineers. Others are called manufacturing engineers,
systems analysts and engineers, operations engineers and managers, supply chain analysts,
and onward – to Directors; VPs for Supply Chain, Worldwide Sales, and Continuous Improvement;
COOs; CIOs; company presidents; CEOs; and some even become entrepreneurs. Over 210 corporations annually recruit Purdue
industrial engineering grads. These companies are involved with our students
in many ways: sponsoring senior design Capstone Projects and undergraduate research, recruiting
at our semi-annual career fairs, speaking in classes, serving as engineers-in-residence
and mentors, and so on. The lessons that stood out the most were what
I learned outside of the classroom – just interacting with different people from different
cultures, totally different backgrounds, and those are skills I’m gonna use the rest
of my life. I chose Purdue Industrial Engineering because
it has an exceptional reputation in the field of Industrial Engineering, and because it
has given me opportunities that have helped me accomplish dreams I didn’t even know
I had.