Students

Importance of the senior design project

The senior design project and your internships are representative of the type of Industrial & Systems Engineering (ISE) work you will probably do full-time, upon graduation. As soon as you have a title for your senior design project, you should list it on your resume, so you can easily talk about it during a job interview. You should also prepare a short (1-2 page) summary of the project as soon as you can, in order to take it with you to show during job interviews. Initially, you may only have your project plan, but later you will have a summary of the entire project. The May 8, 2018 article, “Student projects format”, shows an outline to write a project summary.

Pay extra attention during the senior design project classes and during your entire project. More than just another class grade, the senior design project will give you some useful project management, project scheduling, final report writing, and team dynamics skills. It will also bring together many of the skills that you have been learning in your earlier ISE-related courses.

It might be useful for you to read over some of the previous senior design project posters. These can give you some ideas on the typical methodologies used on past senior design projects; and may also give you some insights into why a project was top-rated that year, in the poster judging contest.

During a job interview, a hiring manager may be interested in asking you questions about your senior design project, since this could be a strong indicator of how you would handle a similar project for their company. In your answers to their questions, they can also get an indication of your skills when working with others on small teams; and how you develop an objective & approach for a more open-ended, real-world problem (as opposed to a classroom exercise that may be more about testing specific course knowledge).

Most working Industrial & Systems Engineers (ISEs) enjoy doing projects and being a project manager. The variety of projects, the team dynamics and the useful methods of resolving many different types of industry problems, makes the work challenging and interesting. It is one of the main reasons that ISEs usually love their jobs and their careers.