I love my major!  I consider myself a very efficient and organized person who enjoys math and solving problems very logically and strategically.  This is why I feel like Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE) is the best choice of major for me.  ISE is an integrated discipline that connects the business world with the technical world.  You are essentially an engineer wearing a business cap, and I’ve heard from many ISE’s in the workforce right now that this field is increasing exponentially in the past couple of years.  Many times managers only see the business impact of their decisions, while the engineers only see the scope of their project. Which is where the job of an ISE pops in.

A company’s success is dependent on communication between all sectors of the industry.

The study of ISE optimizes integrated systems and processes to make them more efficient.  These systems can be anything from a company’s supply chain to an inefficient and poorly designed corporate structure.  It incorporates linear programming and modeling, economics, technological platforms, and logistical planning to ultimately save on wasted time, money, manpower, and resources.

A simplified supply chain.

Some of the more general ISE track classes I’m taking are Operations Research (Linear Programming) and Engineering Economics.  I transferred into ISE recently so I don’t have a whole lot of major classes under my belt.  But the concepts I learn in these classes will for sure prove useful in the working world once I graduate.  In my Operations Research class, we learn how to formulate linear programs to optimize a process.  That may mean either maximizing revenues, or minimizing cost.  Most recently we learned how to use the simplex algorithm to determine the optimal solution out of many feasible solutions.

What I’m learning in my Engineering Economics class is totally applicable to my future career and everyday life (once I start buying expensive things like a house and nice car).  I’m learning in this class what types of investments at what rates of interest are best, considering your down payment, and how much the value of the investment is going to depreciate over time.  The concepts aren’t too hard, but they are definitely useful skills.

At USC, you can take several specialized paths within ISE.  I’m on the Information Systems track, which exposes me to technical platforms and programs, most notably SAP and other ERP systems.  These skills are very useful in technology consulting companies.  In addition, I’m learning about digitally enabled strategic initiatives which are designed to shoot a company ahead of its competition.  In conjunction with that, I’m also learning how to formulate management design decisions to ensure those strategic initiatives are as effective as possible.

Information Systems

What’s nice about ISE is that you can work in a multitude of companies within a variety of industries.  There are always processes that need to be improved upon within a company’s infrastructure, and so many ways to implement new technology to make things within a company run smoother.  I am very interested in technology consulting companies, and I am fairly confident that the skills in my classes will prepare me for that.

Let me know if you have any questions about Industrial and Systems Engineering, I’d be happy to answer them!


  • Ashley Hensel says:

    Hello! I’m currently trying to determine the difference between ISE info system and ISE operations at Viterbi. I’m definitely interested in ISE but I’d like to know what the difference between the tracks is so that I can determine my path as quickly as possible. Please let me know if you can! Thank you 🙂