Industrial and Systems Engineering
The profession of Industrial and Systems Engineering is about choices. Other engineering disciplines apply skills to very specific areas. ISE gives you the opportunity to work in a variety of businesses. Whether it's distributing products worldwide, manufacturing superior automobiles, or streamlining the procedures in an operating room, all of these situations share the common goal of increasing efficiencies and saving companies money.
The most distinctive aspect of Industrial and Systems Engineering is the career and job flexibility it offers. Industrial and Systems Engineers are the "engineers for the 21st century."
Students in the ISE bachelor's program take a variety of courses to prepare for their career. They include:
- General education courses such as writing, formal reasoning and global perspectives.
- Math and sciences courses in calculus and physics.
- Engineering core courses such as Introduction to Industrial and Systems Engineering, CAD and computer problem solving.
- ISE professional courses in simulation, ergonomics, quality control, operations research, PLM, lean, ERP, robotics and production systems.
- A team-based senior design experience that can be conducted at a local company. Companies that hosted senior design projects include General Motors, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Rayconnect, St. Joseph Mercy Oakland Hospital, Comerica Bank, DTE Energy, Beaumont Troy Hospital and Crittenton Hospital Medical Center.
ISE jobs by the numbers
- What's the average starting salary for an Industrial and Systems Engineer?
- How many ISE jobs are in Michigan and the U.S.?
- How do ISE job numbers compare with other engineering specialties?
Industrial and Systems Engineers focus on solving problems from a system-level perspective, which includes people, machines, materials, energy, technology, information and software. Industrial and Systems Engineers must design solutions that consider all of a system’s components so that everything works together to improve overall system performance.
As companies adopt management philosophies of continuous productivity and quality improvement to survive in the increasingly competitive world market, the need for Industrial and Systems Engineers is growing. Why? Industrial and Systems Engineers are the only engineering professionals who are trained as productivity and quality improvement specialists. They are leaders in six sigma and lean systems initiatives. The Industrial and Systems Engineer is synonymous with systems integrator – a big-picture thinker who takes what exists today and conceptualizes what should exist in the future.
The ISE B.S.E. Program Educational Objectives are a set of skills that are necessary to function successfully in modern engineering practice. It is expected that ISE graduates have been prepared in each of these areas and will exhibit each of these characteristics as they pursue their professional careers:
The objectives of the Industrial and Systems Engineering program are to produce graduates who will:Student Outcomes are a set of skills that assure the achievement of the ISE program educational objectives. Before graduating, ISE students will demonstrate their skills in the following key areas:
- design, develop, and implement systems which integrate people, materials, equipment, information and energy
- operate effectively in dynamic and diverse organizations
- demonstrate a professional attitude, integrity and commitment to life-long learning in their work
- an ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering
- an ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data
- an ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability
- an ability to function on multi-disciplinary teams
- an ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems
- an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility
- an ability to communicate effectively
- the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context
- a recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in life-long learning
- a knowledge of contemporary issues
- an ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice
The ISE Department works with OU's Career Services to identify internship opportunities for our students. This is what some of our ISE students did during their paid internships.
Kimmy - Disney
I use my ISE knowledge to analyze and improve processes throughout the Disney World property. This term, I served on the Line of Business team working on food and beverage related projects. With tens of thousands of Guests visiting the Walt Disney World Resort every day, it is critical they are able to receive efficient service so that they can make the most of their vacation.
You can learn more about Disney Internships here.
Viki - Faurecia
I spent the last three years assisting in plant launches, designing plant layouts, workstation analysis and solving ergonomic issues. I traveled to several states and internationally to support various plants. I also participated on the SAP Implementation Team and was responsible for training all North American employees. My internship has been very fulfilling and has allowed me to utilize the ISE knowledge I gained through OU.
Russell - Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
My internship with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) enabled me to experience and apply my ISE knowledge in a world class environment. I was able to work with motion capture and virtual reality technology, integrating both technologies with PLM human simulation tools like Classic Jack and Process Simulate. I worked first hand with industrial engineers and line team leaders to verify launch processes and make sure issues are caught and resolved before they become physical and costly. I also got to network with hundreds of students, present to Vice Presidents of the company, and go 150+ MPH in a Dodge Charger. It was a fun summer.
Jenna - General Motors
I've spent the past two years working at General Motors Orion Assembly Plant, and have accepting a full-time position from them. I've used a lot of knowledge from my lean classes in the ISE program, like proper utilization of Yamazumi charts to plan and implement efficient line balances. Other core engineering classes given me strong foundational skills that I couldn't do my job without. The team projects assigned throughout my time at OU helped to develop the team building skills needed for me to be successful in my work assignments.
Daniel - Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
I spent my summer at FCA's Warren Stamping, where I led a die change efficiency project. Through a WCM (World Class Manufacturing) tool called SMED (Single Minute Exchange of Die), my team was able to go from an average changeover time of 54 minutes down to 4 minutes. It was really great to see involvement and teamwork between skilled trades and management.
Nathan - Complete Data Products
I work at Complete Data Products (CDP) which offers paperless solutions and office equipment to credit unions and banks as well as offering technical support. The company is in the middle of an initiative to push itself to the next level as a small company. This involves working to advance and modernize company software, procedures, workflow and structure. I help to integrate web-based help-desk software with CDP’s existing business processes. In the coming months, I will be working on integration of the data that we collect from our clients with CDP’s software.
David - Crittenton Hospital Medical Center
I spent four months working with the Central Distribution Department and performed time studies, data analysis and process flow mapping. With my findings, I proposed a new scheduling system, documents for work standardization, and a new process flow from the time supplies arrive at the hospital to when the patient uses them.
Matt - Argonne National Laboratory
I spent my summer performing powertrain vehicle testing. My goal was to collect an assortment of vehicles with different engine sizes and run several certified tests to determine the overall performance of each vehicle. Using this baseline study data, comparisons between the conventional vehicles of today and the advanced technology vehicles of the future can be established.
Dave - Rayconnect
I spent four months working for both the Quality and the Product Development Departments. I performed test validations on new products and metal quick connectors used by the automotive industry for fuel line connectors. These tests were to ensure quality and included assembly effort, pull-apart effort, leak, burst and lifecycle testing.
The ISE Department works with OU's Career Services to identify career opportunities for our students. This is what some of our recent graduates are doing with their ISE degrees.
Katie Folk, 2016
I am a Product Engineer at Carcoustics, a global tier-one automotive parts supplier. I worked as an intern for three years, and then was hired full-time upon graduation. Right now I am learning the process for generating quotations for customers, and eventually my responsibilities will be expanded to include material development, supporting product launches, and writing work instructions.
Since I was hired into Carcoustics after interning, the transition from student to full-time engineer was particularly smooth. Even though my new position came with completely different responsibilities as well as new and interesting challenges, I already had a network of contacts (and friends!) within the company and a strong knowledge base of the products and processes.
One of the best parts of my job is the opportunity to travel. This summer I am going to spend three months working at the Carcoustics headquarters in Leverkusen, Germany. There, I will receive more training as well as observing and learning from their die-cutting experts, so that I can apply their concepts and methods when I come back to Michigan.
I chose Industrial and Systems Engineering because I like puzzles. To me, it seems like ISE is all about learning how to balance several factors in order to optimize a process, and that appeals to me. My classes at Oakland cultivated a deeper understanding of industry and gave me the tools to solve the complex puzzles that interest me the most. Having an internship to supplement my classes enhanced the learning process, and I saw the same concepts in both settings. If I had the chance to do everything over, I wouldn’t change a thing!
Jordan Dunseth, 2016
Jordan works for Siemens PLM and his story will appear soon.
Kayla Owens, 2015
I’m an Associate Process Engineer in the College Graduate in Training (CGIT) Program for the IE Lean Material Strategies Group at General Motors. Currently, I support various engine launches.
The best parts of my job are the people I work with because everyone is so helpful as well as my ability to rotate through different assignments. In the CGIT Program, I complete 3 month rotations for one year and then perform a full year assignment. My full year assignment will be in Springhill, TN in the Powertrain facility with a couple months in the Vehicle facility. This experience in different facilities and different facets of Powertrain/Vehicle will help my career path by giving me more experience as well as meeting people in different areas/sites.
I knew I wanted to work with people and improve efficiency or processes, and that is the overall vision of Industrial and Systems Engineering. In addition to that, ISE is a major that fits into just about any industry because it’s about improving efficiencies, so there are many different options where you can go after graduation.
My advice for students in ISE is to get to know your professors. Oakland’s ISE professors helped so much whether it was on concepts and projects, or getting internships from different companies every summer. OU’s ISE professors have been in industry so they have many connections that can help with networking and getting internships to set you up for success.
Jeff Yott, 2015
I am a Motor Control Engineer at Nexteer Automotive. I do a wide variety of tasks to improve processes and update work instructions. I have been part of a team that is currently updating our procedure documents to be ASPICE compliant. I have begun international training to transfer some testing to various locations around the world in order to save the company money and time. And I am currently working on a Six Sigma greenbelt project.
Before enrolling at Oakland University, I had two Associates degrees and was unable to find work beyond that of a technician. While at OU, I worked full-time and attended classes. When I first started, my intention was to finish off my Mechanic Engineering degree. However, after taking the Introduction to Industrial and Systems Engineering course, I changed my major. In all my jobs I had always tried to improve processes and procedures to make work more efficient and the ISE program gave me to tools to implement improvements and quantify the benefits of the changes.
While working and attending school, I utilized my education to improve my work flow. I documented and standardized several testing processes utilized by the company as well as created many Excel macros to more accurately and quickly process data. As I approached my graduation date, I was offered multiple positions within the company, and I selected to remain in the same team at Nexteer.
The skills I learned in OU’s Industrial and Systems Engineering program has helped my career greatly and surely will continue allowing me to pursue my goals.
Kimberly Romstad, 2014
I am part of the Inventory Planning team at Disney, which is the team responsible for ordering and maintaining the entire inventory of costumes for both the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, FL and the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, CA, as well as the four Disney Cruise Line ships.
In my role, I travel weekly to the 5 different costuming issue locations for which I am responsible to work with operational Cast Members to understand their current inventory challenges and how our team can help them to better forecast their costuming needs. I use the skills I learned during my ISE education and internships to improve the way our team does business. While working with both operational and analytical Cast Members on a daily basis, I am using the interpersonal skills I developed during my ISE work experience.
As I learn more about the costuming business at Walt Disney World, I am finding more and more opportunities to exercise the problem solving techniques I learned during my ISE education at OU. I truly feel that a role like this is a testament to the variety of jobs available for those who choose to pursue Industrial and Systems Engineering as a career.
Nicholas Karoumy, 2014
I am in the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Manufacturing Leadership Development Program. Throughout the four year program I will rotate within Material Logistics Management, Environmental Health and Safety, Manufacturing Engineering, Powertrain, Stamping, and Assembly Operations; while simultaneously earning a master’s degree.
My Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE) degree from Oakland University gave me the tools to understand and analyze difficult problems in the real-world. The most rewarding part of ISE is being able to see the savings in money and lead time through eliminating waste. One of the best parts about a career in ISE is being able to interact with a vast variety of people, from hourly line operators to Vice Presidents of Manufacturing.
My favorite thing about my job is being able to make improvements to processes that significantly improve hourly line operators’ working conditions and contentment. There is no doubt in my mind that obtaining my B.S.E. in ISE from Oakland University was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
Matt Toter, 2013
I am currently at Williams International, where my responsibilities involve everything that an ISE would do to design and develop a production line. My role does not involve actually being on the line, but rather using software to help make the entire production process efficient and to minimize waste.
I use simulation software to model the production line and run several what-if analysis situations. I also developed several macros to help our upper management see where waste can be reduced, and where bottlenecks could occur in our production lines. I would say the best part of my job is possessing ISE skills that help the company save money, lessen lead times and meet production deadlines.
I knew growing up I wanted to be an engineer, but I was never sure what field of engineering I wanted. I started working in a packaging and warehouse facility when I was young and fell in love with process improvement. When I was determining what college to attend, it was suggested to me that I consider Industrial and Systems Engineering. Once I learned what that was, I knew I found my field of engineering. If you enjoy all fields of engineering and enjoy problem solving, ISE is the place for you. There is so much variety in this field, no two projects will be the same. It is constantly new and challenging.
Jon Essenmacher, 2013
I work for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in the Manufacturing Leadership Development Program. During this four year program, I will rotate within Material Logistics Management, Environmental Health and Safety, Manufacturing Engineering, Powertrain, Stamping and Assembly Operations; while simultaneously earning an master’s degree.
If I had to attribute one thing that helped me obtain this position, it would be my Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE) degree from Oakland University. ISE appealed to me because it is a unique hybrid between business and engineering. ISE is not a typical brand of engineering, which fit well with my personality. If a prospective student has a strong desire to become a part of upper management, and is not afraid to incorporate engineering analysis into making tough business decisions; then ISE is the way to go.
The best part of my job is being able to carry over what I learned from the classroom and implement it on a shop floor. I have been a part of 7 different projects to-date, and have implemented what I learned in my ISE courses in each one. My ISE degree helped me develop a passion for implementing lean concepts in industry, and I cannot speak highly enough of the ISE Department's students, faculty and staff.
Jacqueline Sinishtaj, 2012
I work at DTE Energy in Business Analytics and Continuous Improvement. I help solve problems and identify areas for improvement. The best part is I am continually learning, from corporate operations to advanced statistical analysis methods.
I get to apply the ISE techniques and methods I learned at Oakland to real world problems, which forces one to think outside the box. Currently I am working on projects involving Business Analytics and Continuous Improvement. Business analytics uses statistical methods for understanding and developing new insights into business performance. I also verify the Gas Dispatch forecast model, and test model performance compared to real time data.
I chose a career in Industrial and Systems Engineering because it is a very diverse field of engineering. ISE's can work in any industry doing a variety of jobs from statistical analysis to line balancing to designing safer and more human-friendly products.
- SECS Academic Advising Office
- SECS Undergraduate Student Forms are under the "FORMS & INFO" tab
- List of which semesters ISE courses are offered
- ISE B.S.E. Program Requirements
- ISE Dept. Section
- SECS Section
- University Section
- Catalogs from previous years
- Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE) - OU Student Chapter
- Tau Beta Pi Nat'l. Engineering Honor Society - OU Chapter
- All ISE students are invited to join our ISE@OU Networking & Mentoring group on Linkedin. This private, by invitation only group, provides a platform for our alumni to e-mentor ISE students on issues such as internships, finding a full-time job, and professional networking. Please contact Professor Robert Van Til (email@example.com) if you are interested in joining.