Erik Props, Krannert’s associate director of undergraduate and alumni careers, says companies would be happy to recruit more BSIM graduates. “Our BSIM students really do lead the pack with placement,” he says. “Starting salaries averaged $52,000 last year, the highest of our majors. Companies would love for us to have more students to consider.”

Sarah Tanoury will be entering the job market in December, armed with her BSIM and internships with Leprino Foods and Nestle. “Both internships were in food manufacturing in plant settings,” she says. “I worked on operations projects dealing with process flow improvements as well as labor reduction.”

Tanoury says she chose the BSIM program because she wanted a balance between the technical side of industrial engineering and the people skills and business practices emphasized in the Krannert School. “I hope to work for a large manufacturing company in a managerial position, overlooking processes as well as people,” she says.

Job Fair

The School of Management Employers Forum (SMEF) is a popular recruiting event for companies seeking graduates with a both a business and technical background. (Photo by Mark Simons)

To continue to attract high-caliber students like Ward and Tanoury, Sullivan says the overall charge is to continually develop programs that effectively cross the boundaries of management and STEM disciplines.

“The challenge is to create a program that a student is able to complete in the 120-credit-hour limits for most plans of study,” she says. “And students who are willing to bridge the gap with an interdisciplinary program frequently have strong ideas about the precise skill set they want to have at graduation.”

Additionally, new types of job titles emerge from the intersection of two disciplines. An area of great interest is data science, an emerging global industry.

“Data science is like social media. It will keep on growing and expanding,” she adds. “But what do data scientists need to know? Can we create a concentration to prepare our graduates for data science — a job that requires sophisticated analytical skills coupled with a good background in marketing, product development and information systems? These are questions we need to ask.”

And asking now is timely. McKinsey and Company, a global management consulting firm, projects a need for 1.5 million additional managers and analysts who can work with big data by 2016.

Sullivan says Krannert will continue working with other Purdue colleges and schools to ensure that students have access to the courses they need, when they need them. “We keep asking ourselves, ‘Are we making enough of the right choices available to students?’

“We can’t always assume we will attract high-quality undergraduates with traditional programs. We need to continually evaluate our offerings and keep improving them. Our BSIM degree is where we are looking today for new opportunities.”

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