The Integrated Business and Engineering Philosophy
The IBE Honors Program directly addresses the constantly changing realities of the new industrial and professional marketplace: rapid technological innovation; diffusion and obsolescence; emergence of new standards; short product life-cycles and decaying margins due to increased global competition; and outcome-focused development and delivery of new products and services. Organizations now seek new forms of competition based on cooperation, often pooling physical and intellectual resources to speed up the profitable design, development, manufacturing and delivery of products and services. These changes in the marketplace demand new capabilities, which can only come with the combination of technology and commerce.
Our philosophy is based on two key concepts: First we believe it is crucial to build and offer a challenging and rigorous program that provides graduates with skills and experiences that will make them successful in the future. This in turn leads to the development of a strong reputation among potential students, high school counselors, and employers. It takes time to build a program in this manner and to develop a strong reputation. Ultimately however this approach has led to a successful, desirable, and sustainable program. The second key principle is continuous improvement applied to our IBE specific courses and other aspects of the program. We believe that there is always room for improvement.
How We Integrate Business and Engineering
In our IBE specific classes we focus on product development and entrepreneurship. By focusing thusly, students address the full spectrum of issues in business and engineering. They get a high level perspective of how business and engineering fit together. For engineers, understanding how products are developed, green lighted, marketed and distributed is crucial to understanding how their engineering activities fit in and contribute to the bottom line thus making them much more effective. For business students understanding how products are designed and manufactured, and understanding the inherent technologies are both beneficial in their roles. Further, for Finance students (the predominant IBE business major), the problem solving mentality, analytic skills and quantitative approach inherent in engineering also provide significant advantage.
How IBE Specific Courses Provide Value
Understanding both entrepreneurship and product development is crucial for success in the current business environment where innovation, understanding markets, and knowing how what you do contributes to the bottom line are all keys for success. Further, we emphasize communications teamwork and leadership throughout the IBE courses, where considerable time and effort is devoted to these topics. We believe this is also crucial to the future success of our students, a point verified by feedback from numerous alumni. We hear all the time that during job interviews, students discuss their experiences in our IBE classes and that these experiences are invariably key to their getting offers.
The hallmark of this integrated program will be graduates with a unique set of skills and competencies. In addition to the mastery of the concepts and procedures taught in individual courses in each college, the IBE program develops competencies that require an integrated knowledge from both engineering and business such as:
the ability to understand the changing nature of domestic and global competition, and the expanding role technology plays in this arena;
the ability to make decisions related to technology, product and process development, in a way that combines technical, financial, marketing and strategic dimensions;
the ability to make design decisions based on target costs and forecasted rate of return on capital;
the ability to perform economic analyses for new products, technologies and processes;
the ability to prepare detailed business plans that include financial as well as operational details related to the production cycle;
the value chain and the use of acquisitions, alliances and joint ventures necessary for competitive advantage.