George Raad, Industrial Engineering ’12 and MA ‘12
Investment Analyst at a Higher-Education Institution
Many programs offer rigorous IE training and WPI is certainly one of them. However, the IE program at WPI, I believe, distinguishes itself through its project-based learning system and unparalleled access to faculty.
The IE program at WPI equipped me with the critical thinking skills needed to tackle ‘messy’ problems in business. Through coursework and projects, I have learned to appreciate the challenge of solving unstructured problems like those typically found in industry. I have come to realize that framing a problem, identifying appropriate methods, and communicating my recommendations are critical pieces of the solution. The ability to methodically analyzing a problem serves well in virtually every role one assumes after graduation. I personally decided to complement my IE education with Finance training at MIT. My peers have gone on to pursue a variety of careers, from supply chain management and manufacturing to sales and technology at investment banks. Regardless of the career choice, thinking like an IE comes in handy.
The process of finding impactful solutions in industry can be significantly fueled by effective teamwork – something the IE program emphasizes. My MQP was conducted in China in collaboration with five other students, some of whom were from a prominent Chinese university. The project provided me the opportunity to work alongside, and debate ideas with, students from a variety of cultures and academic backgrounds. During C-term, I knocked on Professor Zeng’s door, sat down to catch up, and brought up my interest in pursuing a project over the summer, at which point she mentioned two possible projects that had been proposed by sponsors. One of them was a project on developing Key Performance Indicators for a large U.S. retailer which piqued my interest. A few days later I began planning the trip. This ‘open door’ culture among the IE faculty has led me to a number of opportunities few other places can offer.
The flexibility of the IE program allows those who seek a personalized education to leverage WPI’s wide choices of courses. I personally tailored my degree to gain exposure to operations research, logistics, economics, and system dynamics. The ability to be immersed in a wide variety of subjects during my four years was an attractive feature of WPI’s IE degree. By designing a distinctive portfolio of courses, you develop a unique perspective on how to solve problems, which in turn leads to innovation. Today, I am exploring ways to apply some of the insights and tools acquired during IE experience to help solve problems in investment management.