Major Decisions… What in the World is ISE?

Jose Hernandez Industrial and Systems, Jose, Professional & Academic, Viterbi Class 0 Comments

Coming into USC, I thought for sure that I had decided on a major. I entered my first semester as a Mechanical Engineering major. In high school, I had taken classes in AutoCAD and SolidWorks, and I had participated in engineering design competitions. In college, I knew I wanted to be an engineer, but towards the end of the semester, I wasn’t sure that Mechanical Engineering was right for me.

I sought out my freshman advisor, Chrissy, and explained my dilemma. She then proceeded to ask me questions about my interests. I told her I was interested in math, I loved to figure out how things worked, that I was also interested in business, and that I wanted to be able to use my communication skills so I could work with people. To me, this seemed like a combination that would not fit well together, but Chrissy advised me to look into Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE), which applies a technical approach to business that includes applied statistics, economics, and management. I was overjoyed that there seemed to be a major that fit my interests, but I had never heard of ISE, so I definitely had to do some research.

In my search for answers, I looked online, questioned every ISE major I could find, and most importantly, I talked to Professor Meshkati, a faculty member in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. He was my professor for my Freshman Academy class, and he is very approachable, so I didn’t find it difficult to go to his office hours and find out all I could about ISE.

Professor Meshkati in my Freshman Academy class!

Professor Meshkati in my Freshman Academy class!

Professor Meshkati proved to be one of my most valuable resources, Essentially, I learned Industrial and Systems Engineers are problem solvers focused on improving efficiency in systems. A system can be everything from a factory or manufacturing plant to a line at a theme park. The coolest thing is that ISE’s are needed in a wide variety of companies, since everyone wants to save time and money, improve working conditions and safety, and optimize their company’s resources.

I was amazed at how smooth my transition from Mechanical Engineering was, and I’m happy to say that I’m also on track to minor in Business Finance. Although I’m still at the beginning of my USC career, I’m excited to continue to learn about my major, which will better prepare me to solve real-world problems from an ISE perspective.

Good luck in your own search, and thanks for reading!


Jose Hernandez

Jose Hernandez

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