Fighting on during my first visit to Viterbi

In high school, you often don’t hear about Industrial and Systems Engineering. You hear about civil, mechanical, biomedical, and maybe chemical engineering. However, Industrial and Systems Engineering is rapidly becoming a very popular major. At USC, it is the most transferred-into major in Viterbi. But what really is Industrial and Systems Engineering, you ask?

The typical answer is that Industrial and Systems Engineering focuses on processes, improving the efficiency and productivity at a micro and macro level. This could include anything from eliminating waste to reducing costs to cutting down on the resources necessary. Industrial and Systems Engineers also focus on creating and implementing new, innovative designs and solutions in a system.

Ever since I completed an engineering exploration internship my junior year of high school, I knew I wanted to be an Industrial and Systems Engineer. I really liked the idea of combining important elements of business as well as engineering and problem solving, which Industrial and Systems Engineering definitely does. I also liked the idea of a more team-oriented field of engineering. While all fields of engineering can involve working with people in a hands-on way, Industrial and Systems Engineering offers many different opportunities for interacting in a setting with many different people.

To give an example of what an Industrial and Systems Engineer might do, I’ll explain what I do at my internship. Currently, I am interning at White Memorial Medical Center in downtown Los Angeles. (A side note about USC Viterbi – it’s very possible to be an intern even as a freshman, and the experience is invaluable!) My team is working with the case manager of the Emergency Department, and our aim is to reduce the delays in the process that starts with admitting the patient and ends with transfer or discharge. We mainly use the online system for tracking how long each step in the process takes, observing different days and times in order to identify what kinds of factors may cause slowdowns. We also communicate with doctors and hospital staff to hear from their perspective what aspects of the system could be improved upon. Overall, it’s been an amazing experience and I have loved getting a sneak peak into something I could possibly do as a future job!

My experience at my internship is just one way that Industrial and Systems Engineering can be applied in the real world. There are many opportunities in healthcare, but just as many in fields ranging from transportation to product production to music industry. Industrial and Systems Engineering is a great major, and I have not looked back since choosing this is what I wanted my future career to be! If you come to USC knowing you want to be an engineer, but don’t have idea what kind, there is a class called Engineering 101 that explores all different kinds of engineering!

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