Ask the Expert: Career

Upward mobility

Q: I've completed my bachelor's degree in industrial engineering and can't decide what field to choose for my master's: industrial engineering or operations research. Appreciate any guidance you can offer.



Q: I am an industrial and systems engineering graduate student. I would like to know about the different fields of industrial engineering that are in good demand. What is the up-and-coming field in industrial engineering?


The price of consulting

Q: I have an opportunity to do some consulting work for a local business. I am not a professional engineer, but I am an engineer in training. The nature of the consulting is mostly related to process, paper flow,  and scheduling. They also want me to suggest and implement a software program to "get them organized." This will probably involve some Access programming on my part. How do I determine a reasonable fee, and should it be hourly or a flat rate?


Exam Update

Q: As I understand it, the format and content of the industrial engineering P.E. exam are under evaluation. I'm specifically interested in any upcoming changes in coverage and any newly revised materials. What's the status of the changes? 


OR opportunities

Q: I'm very interested in operations research, but I hear that the job prospects are not overwhelming. I'm a junior at Oregon State University and I'm planning to go to grad school. What are the job prospects in OR? Are there any emerging fields related to this discipline?


Looking ahead

Q: What is the future of industrial and systems engineering in the aerospace industry?


Recruitment frustration

Q: Our university's annual career fair was held last week and there were few companies seeking industrial engineers compared to those hiring civils and mechanicals. Likewise, at the start of the fall recruiting season, several companies interviewed mechanical, civil, and chemical engineers but didn't want to see IEs.

While some of these companies have specific uses for the other engineering disciplines, I would think that all of them have need for process, project, or work improvements. There are endless opportunities to use the skills of IEs, but most companies are not recruiting them. How can we students show companies the value of our degree?


M.B.A or P.E.?

Q: I am a recent industrial engineering graduate, and I work at a small manufacturing company. I have been contemplating getting an M.B.A. or obtaining P.E. certification. Which carries more weight in the job market?


IE or IET?

Q: I am a fairly new member of IIE. I hold a B.S. in management from Georgia Tech, but I desire more technical skills. One day in the near future I want to transition to an IE position. I am strongly considering going back to school for a B.S. degree in industrial engineering.

Do you think a degree in industrial engineering technology would be comparable to a degree in industrial engineering for employment purposes? I'm not sure if employers pay attention to the difference. In other words, given my education, do you think I would have similar opportunities with an IET degree as I would with an IE degree?


An IE abroad

Q: My husband is involved in the industrial engineering program at the University of Washington in Seattle. We are interested in working internationally for a few years after he graduates and would like suggestions about how to start searching.

Is it possible to work internationally as an IE? Would it be feasible for someone right out of school with a few years of experience in manufacturing? Where can we start to look? What are the pros and cons?


Building an IE career

Q: I'm a student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln majoring in industrial engineering and minoring in business. I'm interested in the construction industry. Someday I would like to be involved in the preconstruction area of a large company such as Kiewit or Centex Rogers. From preconstruction I would like to move to office engineer. I just don't know if I am able to do this with an IE degree.

What would you suggest?


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