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Mizzou’s Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering program is a typical engineering program: 4 years of calculus and physics. But beyond that there’s a lot of probability, statistics and optimization that enable students to become strong, quantitative thinkers in order to address both the micro and macro levels of our society’s most basic and complex systems.  Basically engineering is about problem solving, math and physics. Industrial engineering is all of these and more.

A Mizzou Engineering Degree

Have you ever thought about a career in health care? What about transport logistics? Or manufacturing? You may not know what all of these career paths have to offer just yet, but they’re among the numerous possibilities that a degree in industrial engineering opens up for you. We’ll give you the framework, the mindset and the knowledge to go into any field, well prepared for the task at hand. With a degree in Industrial Engineering, you’ll be exposed to all different areas. We’ll give you the vocabulary and experience to understand the challenges, and to work with experienced engineers to be a part of a solution.   

A true interdisciplinary experience

How does a student fit in to 25,000 other undergraduate students? Pretty well. This chart shows how students are divided into smaller communities called FIGS (Freshmen Interest Groups).

An industrial engineering degree at MU is more than statistics, physics, ergonomics and thermodynamicscourses. At MU you get a true, interdisciplinary experience. You get to be a part of a huge campus –so big that it actually has its own zip code (65211) –but you can still get that more personal feel within your own department. MU offers special Freshman Interest Groups (FIGs) for incoming freshmen.  Share classes, a dorm and all of your experiences with a smaller community during your first semesters at MU. There’s nothing like a little community support to help you make it through.

Students will also get a chance to work with students from other areas: business, medicine, law, veterinary, just to name a few. MU is one of the few campuses in the nation that offers all of these disciplines on one campus, at one location. And these interdisciplinary opportunities mirror what work will be like in the real world.

It’s all what you make of your time here at MU.

  • Vice President Marketing Strategy
  • Hallmark Cards Inc.
  • B.S., M.S. IMSE 1980

How has your IMSE degree helped you?

My degrees in Industrial Engineering (B.S., M.S., PhD) helped establish a foundation for problem solving that has been a central part of every job assignment throughout my career. While I may not have used every optimization skill I learned, I have applied the approach to problem solving across a wide variety of problems at Hallmark.

What has your career path been like since you graduate?

I started at Hallmark out of graduate school in 1980 and have been there ever since … 31 years. I spent my early years at Hallmark in the Business Research area where I learned and began to appreciate working on problems involved with understanding our consumers and the broader business environment versus, say, working more in a manufacturing capacity. I was fortunate to grow my career through a more technical, analytical path until progressing to management roles including Vice-President positions in Consumer Research, 1-to-1 Marketing, and Marketing Strategy. I have seen IEs working successfully in a variety of areas at Hallmark over the years reflecting the flexibility of the degree program.

Anything you wish you had known as an undergrad?

 While any engineering discipline demands a focus and understanding of the various technical aspects, business and career success also puts a premium on interpersonal and communication skills. You have to be effective in teams and need to be able to be persuasive in both verbal and written communication. I know this is emphasized today perhaps more than when I was in college, but it is a critical part of being effective in the business world. I’m not sure all students appreciate and understand this need, as well as mastering the basics of their core engineering classes.

How did Mizzou help prepare you for life after college?

College life at Mizzou and my experience with the IMSE program could not have better prepared me for entering the business world. I believe my education was top-notch and gave me the credibility I needed to be viewed as a “good hire” for major companies. What I learned about life and people helped me cope with and develop a work style that has served me well in interacting with people both on the job and in my personal life. I will always look at my time at Mizzou as foundational to who I am and the career success I have achieved over the years.

Anything prospective students should know about IMSE?

I believe the IMSE degree and training provides one the very best foundations for a person’s career among all the various choices. You have to be smart and capable to handle the curriculum, but you also have to be practical, with good interpersonal skills to be successful in going through the program. Once accomplished, the IMSE degree is very flexible and allows entry into companies in a variety of areas … something of increasing importance in today’s tough job market. IMSE is a great degree. Be proud of it and be confident; it will serve you well for a lifetime!

In general, anything else that you’d like to share.

Some things in life are worth working for which one realizes more and more as the years go by. The college years are special ones, a time of learning and a period of personal growth and maturity. I believe that the decision to pursue an IMSE degree naturally puts an individual on a path to future success through the required hard work, ongoing focus on goals, the facing of adversity and having some fun along the way. I’m glad I had the experience at Ol’ Mizzou and will always appreciate the role of the IMSE program in shaping my life.

On top of the knowledge you’ll gain here, you also have a chance to put some of it into practice. With 9 different competitive teams, you can start to put the  theory you’ve learned to work early by combining your efforts with fellow engineering members and students from other majors. This is the interdisciplinary experience that’s part of a great degree from MU.

Within the College of Engineering you’ll have access to the tools and technology that put you above the rest of the competition. We now have about 51,000 square feet of dedicated undergraduate lab space, all of which is available to you if you choose to use it. You can also choose an emphasis area to make your degree that much more applicable. Not to mention the chance to do undergraduate research with faculty and graduate students.

Opportunities outside the classroom

Industrial Engineering also encourages internships within the field. Students can take advantage of internships and co-ops and receive credit toward their degree. Another unique opportunity within the major is the senior capstone. The capstone project for industrial engineering takes place out in the field. Students have the opportunity to work with different companies as engineering consultants. This industry-based project gives students a look at potential careers early on, putting them ahead in regards to experience. Just one more way that MU helps to prepare you.

The big picture

  • Executive Vice President, Consumer Services Division
  • UMB Bank

How has your IMSE degree helped you?

Industrial Engineering is a fabulous baseline degree for so many career paths. At the centerpiece of IMSE are all of the systems and processes that serve any industry and any profession. Since my career path has included a myriad of functions it has worked out beautifully for my career. I have leveraged these fundamentals in every role I have held.

What has your career path been like since you graduate?

  • AT&T  – Microelectronics & Telecommunications (19 years)
  • Operations Research (Manufacturing)
  • Human Factors Development (IT Systems)
  • Systems Engineering (IT Systems)
  • Critical Issues Manager (Exec Office)
  • New Product Introduction (Bell Labs)
  • Engineering & Operations Manager (Semiconductors)
  • Product Manager (P&L)
  • Field Marketing Manager (Promotions & Contracts)
  • Business Development (Energy Utility Start-up)
  • Contract Negotiations (Legal)
  • Solutions (Consulting)
  • Business Services (Sales)
  • Bayer Healthcare – Pharmaceuticals  (5 years)
  • Division Function Head (Commercial Business)
  • UMB Financial Corporation – Banking  (1 year)
  • Division Head (Consumer & Small Business Banking)

Anything you wished you had known as an undergrad?

I wish I would have known how flexible the IMSE degree is in business. It would have made me more sure that it was the degree for me!

How did Mizzou help prepare you for life after college?

Mizzou was filled with great basic training for life after college. Aside from the tremendous credentials the Universities’ academic- and specifically an engineering degree – brings to the working world, as a Student Athlete (T&F) I learned many lessons that prepared me for life professionally and personally. The lessons I hold in highest regard include time management, resiliency, teamwork, leadership camaraderie and competitive spirit. All necessary critical skills for life.

Anything prospective students should know about IMSE?

The IMSE staff and students are wonderful people and IMSE students will form terrific bonds with the department. I have stayed involved as an Advisor and know first-hand it is a world-class program.

Combining natural sciences, engineering science, mathematics and business, this degree offers the tools to set you up for a “big picture” career. Industrial engineering at MU will teach you how to learn for the rest of your life, an incredibly valuable aspect out in the field. A degree in industrial engineering equips you with a set of tools that can help you design a hospital ER room or a production system at a car factory. From the technical side to management, MU Industrial Engineering provides the training that leads to these opportunities and more.

Employers look to hire people that will continue to advance, progress and grow during their time with a company. Careers are about continuously working toward goals with ideas that are fresh. Your education at MU is about working toward a degree, to set you up for some similar career goals. And we want you to be well prepared.

MU Engineering will prepare you all the way up to actually getting that job. And once we’ve done that, we’ll go one step further. Our Career Services aids in the job search with our career fairs, bringing prospective employers directly to the campus to meet you. We also offer etiquette workshops and advice for things like salary negotiation.

Most engineering departments focus on “widget” performance specs, but the key performance specs for industrial engineering are cost, quality and time with respect to making systems work better. The creative side of industrial engineering looks at the big picture, as systems integrators. Engineers make things; then industrial engineers make those things work most effectively in the larger system context.