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Industrial and Systems Engineering Success Stories

About me:
Jeff Barkas
B.S. in Industrial & Systems Engineering (2015)
McKinsey & Company, Cleveland, OH

Describe your overall duties/responsibilities as a Business Analyst:
The great thing about consulting is that my responsibilities can completely change from one project to the next. To date, I've been able to create complex Excel models, improve my storytelling skills through Powerpoint, and enhance my verbal and written communication with senior leadership.

I've had the opportunity to work in manufacturing, retail and transportation, focusing on marketing and sales, operations, and strategy. Two examples that come to mind are: 1) performing analytics for a US grocer and recommending key categories to promote to drive traffic to the store and incremental sales and margin, and 2) interviewing C-suite executives across industries to understand the market size and growth for power tools over the next 3-5 years and then developing a growth strategy for my client.

Explain the skills/abilities that are required for being successful in your role:
To be a good consultant, you need to possess solid analytical skills (Excel, Tableau, Alteryx, to name a few) and think critically on how you can derive insights from data. To be a great consultant, you have to learn the soft skills of how to: listen to what the client has to say and understand their pains, influence clients to take action based on recommendations the team has developed, and counsel clients through challenges that arise during change (none of which are easy tasks for a 20-something year old).

What advice would you give to students who are considering majoring in Industrial & Systems Engineering?
You need to consider your end objective and the path you want to take to get there. My end objective was earning a full-time job prior to graduating and having different internship experiences along the way. I wanted to get to that point through a smaller department where I could find my niche and develop meaningful relationships with professors who would invest time to best prepare me for post-grad life. In my opinion, the ISE department was the perfect size to foster smaller class sizes and enable me to grow close with peers and professors.

I also encourage students to reach out to alumni and understand the careers that their engineering degree has enabled them to pursue. The alumni that I talked with encouraged me to gain a broad range of experiences and utilized their network to connect me with opportunities. Each of my four internships exposed me to a unique set of challenges and I’m grateful that ISE alumni opened the door to these possibilities.


About me:
Brett Blackwell
B.S. in Industrial & Systems Engineering (2016)
FedEx Ground, Twinsburg, OH

Describe your overall duties/responsibilities as a Field Engineer:
In my current position, I support the sorting operations of multiple automated FedEx facilities across Ohio and Pennsylvania. I work to ensure that each building is operating effectively and optimally to best service our customers, both shippers and consumers. Day to day, I interact with people from package handlers to seniors managers and above to look for opportunities to improve the operations, ultimately saving the company time and money.

Explain the skills/abilities that are required for being successful in your role: 
Some skills I require to be successful in my role include effective communication, time management, optimization planning, proficiency in Microsoft Excel, and a general problem solving mindset. No two days are the same. Each day presents it's difficulties that I have to be ready and adjust for at an moment.

What advice would you give to students who are considering majoring in Industrial & Systems Engineering?

My advice for students is to know that there are tons of resources available to you and to make an effort to use them. Leveraging all of the clubs/programs within Industrial & Systems Engineering (IISE, Leadership Summit, Cohort Program, APM, etc) not only gives you a great experience but exposes you to a huge network of people that want to help you. Faculty, alumni, and even other students want to see you succeed and will help you down whatever avenue you want to go. All you have to do is take the first step to get involved and get involved earlier rather than later.


About me:
Amira Senouci-Bereksi
B.S. in Industrial & Systems Engineering (2012)
B.A. in Spanish (2012)
General Motors, Romulus, MI  

Describe your overall duties/responsibilities as a Lead Industrial Engineer – V6 Engine Assembly Line:
I support production of GM’s new High Feature V6 Engine Assembly Line. I am the Lead Industrial Engineer, where I work on throughput optimization, line balance, operator utilization, manpower improvements, and process flow improvements. A lot of my role is also working as part of a team with the hourly workers on the assembly line to improve quality and part flow.

Explain the skills/abilities that are required for being successful in your role:
The skills that are needed to be successful in my role are throughput optimization, understanding line balance, manpower utilization, process flow, effective communication, leadership, and excellent people skills. Industrial Engineering is all about working as a team with many different personalities, so having good people skills will allow you to be successful. 

What advice would you give to students who are considering majoring in Industrial & Systems Engineering?
The advice I would give is first, go to the engineering career fairs early in your college career. I went as a sophomore and because of that, I was able to get a co-op (with GM) and an early introduction to the workforce. Another piece of advice would be to do many different co-ops and internships throughout your college career. I went to 4 different companies (GM, GE, Disney, etc.) and I was able to become a well-rounded Industrial Engineer with industrial engineering experience in many different fields right out of college. It also allows you to find out what you really want in a job. I also would say to get involved. I held leadership positions in IIE, KTE, and APM, which helped me to develop leadership skills that I could use day one of my full time job. One last piece of advice is to pay attention in class. Many of the classes I took at Ohio State taught me the skills that I am still using today in my career. I liked how I was able to learn topics in class and then could already understand certain processes when I worked at my internships, as well as my full time position.


About me:
Cindy Luu
B.S. in Industrial & Systems Engineering (2014)
PepsiCo/Frito-Lay Headquarters, Plano, TX

Describe your overall duties/responsibilities as a  
Associate Engineer, Engineering Project Management:

I am currently project managing five national roll-outs associated with new technology and productivity initiatives across Frito-Lay manufacturing facilities. My project teams consist of Controls, Safety, and Process Engineering SME’s, and my work often impacts and requires collaboration with R&D, Lean Six Sigma, Manufacturing Operations Support, and the field. My role requires me to ensure projects are completed on-time, under budget, and deliver on its promised productivity and/or quality benefits. 

Explain the skills/abilities that are required for being successful in your role:
Time management, project management, expectation management, champion of change, detail-oriented, negotiation/influence ability, communication (verbal and written), and ability to adapt to changing priorities.

What advice would you give to students who are considering majoring in Industrial & Systems Engineering?
There are so many career opportunities that you can pursue with an IE degree. I completed five engineering internships and co-ops and also worked while I was on campus. With my IE degree, I’ve been able to impact retail banking, theme parks, household appliances, hospital operations, education, and food and beverage industries. My advice to students is to just put yourself out there. Build your career and resume. Go to career fairs in your first year, even if it’s just for practice. Be a familiar face to recruiters, and secure an internship/co-op in the first two years. Intern, co-op, work/lead on campus as much as you can to build your base. And don’t be afraid to pursue your own path. As I said, there’s so many career opportunities for IE’s. I’ve been full-time at PepsiCo a year and a half, and I know that without my first two roles in business/supply chain, I would not have been nearly as successful in my current engineering role. So just be open, patient, and persistent and opportunities for you as an OSU IE are endless. 


About me:
Lindsey Iannucci 
B.S. in Industrial & Systems Engineering (2005)
Google, Mountain View, CA

Describe your overall duties/responsibilities as a
Senior Program Manager, Sales & Operations:
I manage the day-to-day supply chain operations for one of Google's consumer hardware teams. Beyond the current operations, I am developing a strategic roadmap to enhance the processes and systems to be utilized across the finished goods supply chain. My role involves deep collaboration across my own project, our technical supply chain team, and other consumer hardware groups.

Explain the skills/abilities that are required for being successful in your role:
Most important to my role is the ability to solve problems in an ambiguous environment; a skill I cultivated through 10 years of management consulting experience. As part of this, there is a strong need to understand and balance competing priorities (e.g. schedule, budget, functionality, resource constraints, etc.). Lastly, effective communication and inclusion of key stakeholders throughout a strategic effort is essential to the success and adoption of any project.

What advice would you give to students who are considering majoring in Industrial & Systems Engineering?
Be open to all opportunities that come your way. Some of my most valued work experiences did not always look appealing on the surface, but led to highlights of my career including the chance to work internationally, work directly for a top leader, or to take the lead on a large project.


About me:
Andrew Min
B.S. in Industrial & Systems Engineering (2016)
GE Oil & Gas, Jacksonville, FL

Describe your overall duties/responsibilities as an Operations Management Leadership Program (OMLP) Associate:
In my current role, I support the local and global materials team for GE Oil & Gas. Locally, at the Jacksonville plant, I am responsible for tracking the plant's Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) such as revenue, on-time delivery, and backlog. Globally, I assist with managing the inventory for 17 plants. My role also entails projects related to cycle time and lead time reduction for processes and product lines at the Jacksonville plant.

Explain the skills/abilities that are required for being successful in your role:
To be successful in my position, you need to be self motivated and be able to prioritize tasks and projects. Some of the skills that are required include being proficient in Microsoft Office, especially in Excel and Visual Basic for Application (VBA), being able to evaluate data in order to make strategic business decisions, and being able to work cross-functionally to gain buy-in to implement process improvements.

What advice would you give to students who are considering majoring in Industrial & Systems Engineering?
My advice to students would be to take advantage of all the opportunities Ohio State and the College of Engineering have to offer. Go to the career fairs, apply to internships through Engineering Career Services (ECS), participate in the Engineering Job Shadow Program, and get involved with engineering related organizations to grow your network. Internships are a great way to get your foot in the door with a company. Treat internships like a 10-15 week interview as they can lead to full time job offers. On another note, with globalization becoming more prevalent, I strongly advocate studying abroad. No matter what your major or background is, I personally think everyone should consider studying abroad. It was my favorite college experience and allowed me to view the world in a whole new perspective.


About me:
Raymond Sharp
B.S. in Industrial & Systems Engineering (2013)
Emerson Network Power, Columbus, OH

Describe your overall duties/responsibilities as an Application Engineer (Converged Systems Group):
My primary responsibility is to help develop & manage our SmartRow DCR product line. I am the technical expert on the proper application of the product for the sales force, the technical service team, and the customers. I also manage any enhancements that are applied to it and constantly monitor its performance both technically and financially.

Explain the skills/abilities that are required for being successful in your role:
To be successful in this role, it requires a combination of skills including but not limited to: planning & organization, effective time management, proficiency in Microsoft Office, Adobe Acrobat, and Solid Edge(CAD), effective communication, knowledge of your product & the products you may interact with, thermodynamics, electrical foundations, and profit margin analysis.

What advice would you give to students who are considering majoring in Industrial & Systems Engineering?
Recognize that everything you are doing academically, research wise, and just being involved has value to it. You may not understand its purpose right now, or its purpose may not be applicable in the short term, however it can and most likely will come in handy down the line. With that said, really dive in and try and get the most out of ALL of those experiences. You won't regret it in the long term and having that attitude now will really pay dividends for you.