One of the most common questions I get is, “What is Industrial and Systems Engineering?” This is completely valid because “industrial” is a pretty general word in itself and then if you google “industrial engineering” you get something along the lines of “optimizing systems” which is just as vague.

I like to thinking of it as a degree in problem solving. The classes I have to take range from physics, to probability, to stats, to economics and the goal is to train us to look for solutions in large amounts of data. I recently went to a Disney Internship Info meeting where they were specifically looking for Industrial engineers. I asked what an example of a project would be and this was the response: Disney Park Management told the team that due to the drought they wanted to reduce water consumption in the park by 10%. That was the task. So the team went and compiled all of the water usage stats and collected information down to how much water each fountain used every hour and how much they spent every day watering the flowers and how often they power washed the sidewalks, etc. Then it was up to the team to determine where they could cut back and what the effects would be. To solve this task you need to be analytical and a creative problem solver and that is what Industrial and Systems Engineering will teach you.

In addition it is closely linked with management engineering so we learn the basics of most engineering disciplines (hence the physics, electrical engineering classes, chemistry) so we can communicate with engineers but we also take a couple business classes, creating a fantastic fusion. There are also specific tracks at USC. I happen to be on the computer science track where I take four computer science classes and a couple more tech electives but there is also an operational track which deals with the science behind manufacturing. Check out the class list for a better idea of the specifics!

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Industrial & Systems Engineering, Class of 2017, Learn more on her profile here!