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Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering

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Potential Careers

The demand for ISEs has grown dramatically over the past two decades for one chief reason: the need for organizations to raise their level of productivity through thoughtful, systematic applications. Traditionally, ISE majors pursued careers in manufacturing, as they were hired to improve operations inside plants. While this is still a viable career path, the application of the ISE skill set has migrated outside the plant – to design and improve supply chains and transportation systems that connect plants.

As the application of ISE tools has migrated beyond the plant, these tools have also migrated to other fields. Methods in which to improve operations are not relegated to the world of manufacturing and its associated logistics. Hospitals are complex systems that are turning to ISE majors for optimization. Financial systems are looking for efficiencies as well as the mathematical modeling that is fundamental ISE knowledge. Telecommunications, electrical, and water distribution networks must be designed for efficiency, often with the help of ISEs. Even biomedical and biological systems are being studied by traditional scientists along with ISEs and their toolkit.

Career Progression

An ISE can start in any number of different positions. Some common titles include: Systems Analyst, Operations Engineer, Risk Advisor, Consultant, Logistics Engineer, Program Analyst, Business Analyst, Process Control Analyst, Process Integration Specialist, Operations Research Analyst, Industrial Engineer, Sales Engineer, Manufacturing Supervisor, IT Specialist, Corporate Value Consultant, SAP Consultant, Financial Modeling Specialist, Associate Engineer, Management Trainee, Continuous Improvement Engineer, and Data Modeler.

After years on the job, it is common for an ISE graduate to reach the pinnacle of their field. Our graduates have attained a number of prestigious positions, with titles such as: Senior Analyst, Senior Manager, Senior Consultant, Plant Manager, Portfolio Manager, Head of Operations, VP of Operations, VP of Strategic Planning, Senior Research Scientist, Entrepreneur, Partner, Executive Director, Chief Technical Officer, Chief Information Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Executive Vice President, President and Chief Executive Officer.

ISE graduates from programs across the globe hold or have held the highest position (President and/or Chief Executive Officer) at the following companies (those in bold are or were UF ISE graduates!):

  • American Banking Association
  • BAE Systems
  • Burger King
  • Carlson Restaurants
  • CDW Computer Centers
  • Chrysler
  • Dial
  • Dollar General
  • DuPont
  • Federal-Mogul
  • Gulf Power
  • Harris Corporation
  • Harley Davidson
  • Hershey
  • JC Penney
  • Northwest Airlines
  • PACCAR Financial
  • Raytheon
  • Samsung
  • SBC Communications
  • University of Arkansas
  • UPS
  • US Steel
  • Virginia Tech
  • Visteon
  • Walmart
  • Wells Fargo

These companies represent a wide range of applications. The fact is, an ISE degree open doors to a number of fields and the potential for advancement is unlimited.

Non-Traditional ISEs
The systems perspective makes an ISE suitable for a number of industries, but it also prepares you for non-traditional career paths. We are not surprised when our graduates become lawyers or bankers or doctors, because their education does not close off any career option. Here are a few famous ISE majors that clearly took non-traditional career paths, as exhibited by their position (some are historical):

  • Charles Armstrong, Seattle Mariners President
  • Roger Corman, Film Director
  • Larry Davis, General, Pacific Ocean Division of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • Joe Girardi, New York Yankess Manager
  • Jack Guynn, President Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
  • Homer Hickman, Jr., Author Rocket Boy (became movie October Sky)
  • Davey Johnson, Baltimore Orioles Manager
  • Tom Landry, Dallas Cowboys Head Coach
  • Michael Massimino, NASA Astronaut
  • Edwin Moses, 400-Meter Hurdles Olympian
  • Vance Wilkins, Jr., Virginia State Speaker of the House

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