Because I’m planning on serving in the Air Force, I wanted an engineering focus that would allow me to be flexible and versatile. When I start on active duty, I might not get the exact job I’m interested in, so I need to be adaptable and ready for a variety of careers all over the world. Industrial and Systems engineering was the perfect choice!
Likewise, if you’re unsure of your future career but interested in ISE, you’ll be happy to hear you can use the main concepts that ISE teaches in a broad spectrum of occupations. Its general focus is integrating different systems within an organization and making that organization as efficient as possible. No matter whom you work for, wouldn’t you want to be able to tell your boss that you found a faster or cheaper way of doing something? That’s how Industrial and Systems Engineers are trained to think.
More specifically, ISE is concerned with improving and developing such systems as equipment, energy, people, technology, and more. Within ISE, there’s a strong emphasis on people and communication skills, which I love. In many careers, it will be important to explain the concepts behind your projects to your managers, who may not have technical backgrounds. In my ISE classes, we frequently have presentations or projects that explain difficult concepts, so I’ve definitely had some good practice in that area.
Because I enjoy working with people so much, I chose to major with an Information Systems emphasis in Operations Management. This focuses on the business and managerial side of the systems I described earlier. I get to take classes in the business school, which are always super interesting! One of my current favorites is Managing the Digital Revolution for your Business (IOM 431), where we discuss current technologies and how to integrate them successfully into an organization. We examine multiple design decisions for these technologies, such as how to train employees to use it, how it will make the business more competitive, etc. We’ve had speakers from IBM, Disney, and even the FBI to discuss current technologies and how they’re shaping the business world.
If you’re wondering where the math comes in, don’t worry—there’s plenty of it. I’ve taken courses in probability and statistics, and am currently in one about operations research. These help me understand the mathematical side of how Industrial and Systems engineers make processes as efficient as possible.
I can’t wait to take more upper division courses in my major. I have several more to go in the business school, and a Senior Design Project class that I’m really excited about. Stay tuned for more updates throughout the year of the cool classes I get to take as an ISE major!