Industrial Management

Among the first of its kind, Krannert's undergraduate program in industrial management was introduced at Purdue in 1961 and remains one of only a handful of such programs in the U.S. It is specially designed for technically oriented students who want to master analytical business concepts. (Image by iStock)

Industrial Management Redefined

BSIM program renews its STEM focus

“Industrial management graduates are the most highly sought after of all the Krannert undergraduate alums,” says Charlene Sullivan, the school’s associate dean of undergraduate programs. “They also attract higher starting salaries and historically have had very interesting and challenging career paths.”

Given those facts, you’d expect students to be flocking to the Bachelor of Science in Industrial Management (BSIM) program. But BSIM enrollment is lower than that in all the other non-management Krannert undergraduate majors, just 6 percent in 2012 compared with 27 percent for accounting and 17 percent for economics. To improve those numbers, Sullivan and colleagues are revamping the program to increase its visibility and attractiveness to students.

“The BSIM program is difficult, especially with the required math and science, so it is attractive to students interested in the STEM disciplines,” she notes, referring to science, technology, engineering and math. ”But we need to dispel some misconceptions that today’s students and parents might have.”

Among the first of its kind, the BSIM was introduced at Purdue in 1961 and remains one of only a handful of such programs in the U.S. It is specially designed for technically oriented students who want to master analytical business concepts. The plan of study includes all the courses required for the management major, but with a focus on STEM. Students may choose a concentration within management or complete a concentration or minor from the College of Science, College of Technology or College of Engineering.

Sullivan says the number of students in the program has been dropping for a decade.

Daniel Ward, a senior, was unaware the BSIM program even existed until after his freshman year. “I was in mechanical engineering, but always knew that someday I would enter the business world,” he says. “I had an internship with Cummins and met another intern who was a BSIM student. I realized that was where I needed to be.” Ward, whose concentration is multidisciplinary engineering, plans to work for a small, technical company with strong values and an entrepreneurial spirit.

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