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IMSE graduate chooses to pursue master’s degree

Steven Beattie decided to pursue a master's degree because of the opportunities it offered him.

Steven Beattie decided to pursue a master’s degree in industrial and manufacturing systems engineering because he believes it will be an advantage when he starts looking for a job.

“You can do great things with a bachelor’s but a master’s is a piece of paper that really opens doors in the job market,” Beattie said.

Beattie spent his first two years pursuing an undergraduate engineering degree at the Rochester Institute of Technology before coming to the University of Missouri. He said that RIT is a really great institution but just wasn’t right for him.

“MU as an institution is a great place to be. The atmosphere, overall, is just great,” Beattie said. “Here, people understand that while college is about getting a great education, it’s also about growing as a person.”

As an undergraduate, Beattie was a member of the industrial engineering honor society, Alpha Pi Mu. He was also involved with the Engineering Student Council and a member of the Institute of Industrial Engineers.

While Beattie said that graduate school has a different pace then undergraduate, “it takes more discipline due to the other requirements outside the classroom.” He predicts long hours working on his thesis topic in the future. His project involves working with the Veterans’ Hospital to find and eliminate waste in how they send out mail order prescriptions.

The offer to work as a research assistant on that project was one reason Beattie decided to stay at the University of Missouri for his master’s rather than going back home to the Boston area where he was accepted into Northeastern University. Another was the position as a teaching assistant. Beattie said he enjoyed being the TA for an ergonomics class last semester.

“With the class still fresh in my mind, I was able to remember aspects of the class I really enjoyed and things that could have been improved,” Beattie said. “Making adjustments to assignments and exams gives you an insight of how hard teachers work.”

Linsey Steege, an assistant professor of industrial and manufacturing systems engineering, taught the class. She’s also working with Beattie on his thesis project along side Wooseung Jang.

“He was a fantastic, fantastic TA,” Steege said. “I had to be convinced to give him up.”

Steege said that Beattie went above and beyond when he took the ergonomics course in his undergraduate studies. In addition to completing an assigned problem, he used techniques he learned in other courses to create an Excel form to solve it even more quickly.

“It’s certainly above and beyond. I’ve never seen a student do that before,” Steege said. “He has that brain that connects things.”

Beattie said none of his graduate level classes have had more than 10 people, which means he’s gotten to know his professors very well. He’s also enjoying his classes in operations research, which is his concentration area.

“When you go to grad school you only want to take classes you like. You don’t have to take a lot of prerequisites,” Beattie said. “At times, it can be very difficult, but you are here because you really enjoy what you’re studying. If you don’t like it, then you are in the wrong place.”

“He’s certainly passionate about industrial engineering,” Steege said. “It’s fun to work with someone who’s excited.”

At Textron Defense Systems, where Beattie served one of his three undergraduate internships, he noticed that employees with Master of Science degrees started with a better job and more options for career paths.

He also saw people taking night classes to get their master’s. “I didn’t want to do that. I’ll get it done right now,” Beattie said.

“My goal is to find a job that makes me think on my feet and is different every day I walk in and I think the master’s of science will help with that,” he said.