Mines News

Release Date Monday, May 28, 2018

What Is An Industrial Engineer & Why You Should Be One

In 2017, SD Mines industrial engineering major Jena Welbig, pictured right, worked as a Safety Intern at Solvay Chemicals in Green River, Wyo. Jena was mentored on her internship by SD Mines alumnus Kaitlyn Leopold (Mahlik). IE majors can work in a wide array of jobs. 




RAPID CITY, SD (Aug. 1, 2018) – Carlos Beatty Jr. enrolled at South Dakota School of Mines & Technology as a mechanical engineering major. It wasn’t long before he migrated to industrial engineering, drawn by the major’s “versatility.”


“It has more of a focus on business and psychology,” he says. “It’s the best to prepare you for the business world, hands down.”


Industrial engineers are sometimes called the engineer’s engineer. Most people, however, don’t even know what an industrial engineer does. This despite the fact that industrial engineering was the 7th most popular engineering degree in 2018, and the profession is expected to grow by 10 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all other occupations.


Industrial engineers are essentially trained to “manage the system,” says Paula Jensen, a lecturer in the IE department at SD Mines. They apply science, math and engineering methods to operations, ensuring the success of a company by solving problems and eliminating waste. They often oversee efficiency and output. By using engineering processes, industrial engineers solve the complex problems that industries face, Jensen says. 


“Industrial engineering is not as focused as the other engineering degrees,” says Beatty Jr., a 2013 industrial engineering and engineering management graduate of SD Mines. “You touch on a little of everything in IE. You’re a jack of all trades.”


Jensen says industrial engineers have a broader scope of education, with less laser focus on a specific engineering specialty. They need to have good interpersonal skills and the ability to understand and apply what’s found in the data to increase efficiencies. “It’s an inch deep and a mile wide,” Jensen says. “It’s very broad. You’re going to do so many cool things in IE.”


SD Mines offers the only undergraduate degree in industrial engineering & engineering management in the state of South Dakota, with its recent IEEM graduates earning an average starting salary of $60,239. Overall job placement rate of IE graduates from Mines is currently 100 percent. SD Mines industrial engineer graduates work for companies such as John Deere, Target, American Express, GE and Polaris.


For Beatty, 27, getting an IEEM degree led to a master of business administration degree from the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, SD, and currently a job in a post-MBA corporate leadership development program with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) in Michigan. Prior to his current position, he worked as an operations associate engineer for Peabody Energy in Wyoming, and as a corporate planning engineer for DENSO Manufacturing in Michigan.


He knows fellow industrial engineer graduates who are investment bankers, brokers, business owners and in research development with chemical companies. Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, has a degree in industrial engineering.


“We’re all over the place and at the end of the day, it’s what you want it to be,” Beatty says. “You can go anywhere you want.”





About SD Mines  

Founded in 1885, the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology is a science and engineering research university located in Rapid City, S.D., offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. The university enrolls 2,529 students with an average class size of 24. The SD School of Mines placement rate for graduates is 97 percent, with an average starting salary of more than $63,350. Find us online at sdsmt.edu and on  Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Snapchat

Contact: Lynn Taylor Rick, (605) 394-2554, Lynn.TaylorRick@sdsmt.edu

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