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Engineering tomorrow: A closer look at Purdue’s Professional Masters in Industrial Engineering

After completing her bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from the Graduate College of Engineering at Purdue University, which currently ranks as No.4 according to the US News rankings, Thea Mudaliar chose to stay and pursue the PMP – Professional Master’s Program in Industrial Engineering for several compelling reasons. Purdue’s focus on both theoretical knowledge and practical application resonated with her career goals. Seeing that the programme has rigorous coursework, real-world opportunities, and cutting-edge facilities further solidified her choice.

However, the deciding factor was the programme’s emphasis on innovation and faculty expertise. The chance to learn from distinguished professors like Dr Nga Hin Benjamin Fong, a Fellow at the Institute of Industriasl and Systems Engineers with expertise in Digital Operational Excellence Consulting and Industry 4.0, was a key advantage. Pair that with Purdue’s industry-based projects, conducted in professional teams under Dr. Fong’s guidance, and Mudaliar could foresee unparalleled growth for herself here.

“This environment is ideal for advancing my industry skills and knowledge in Industrial Engineering, enriching my resume in ways that would not have been possible at other institutions,” she says.

Purdue University’s School of Industrial Engineering consistently ranks among the nation’s best. The PMP – Professional Master’s Program — which can be completed within nine to 24 months — is the fourth best in the US. Thanks to Purdue’s commitment to affordability — it has a 13-year tuition freeze —  this top-ranked programme is attainable by a wider pool of applicants. What makes the cohort more diverse still is how the PMP – Professional Master’s Program welcomes applicants with and without an Industrial Engineering background.

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Purdue University’s PMP curriculum is designed to be flexible, with students able to select courses that align with their specific interests and career goals. Source: Purdue University

While a traditional Master’s in Engineering offers strong technical expertise, Purdue’s PMP – Professional Master’s Program recognises the need for well-rounded industry leaders. You’ll be equipped with essential industry skills beyond technical depth, including leadership and management, professional communication, client engagement, and project management — all crucial for success in senior roles. These competencies are honed through projects with Fortune 500 companies or within the programme’s state-of-the-art, 17,000-square-foot laboratory.

As the PMP – Professional Master’s Program aims to produce future-proof graduates, the curriculum anticipates and addresses the challenges and opportunities of tomorrow’s engineering landscape. Big data analytics, Industry 4.0, digital transformation, and change management are central themes. By focusing on these areas, you’ll be prepared to lead the way in improving operational efficiency for industry partners. Cutting-edge research initiatives within the programme further strengthen Purdue’s commitment to shaping the future. Faculty and students collaborate on groundbreaking projects, such as developing digital tool logs and recommender systems for the airline industry, and digital dashboards for quality improvement in various sectors.

But what truly sets the Purdue PMP – Professional Master’s Program apart is its student-centric approach. Unlike other programmes, it lets students interact with corporate executives often. The programme emphasises client engagement, facility visits, and delivering real value through capstone projects directly impacting industry sponsors. This provides practical experience and allows students to sharpen their communication skills, a crucial element for success in the corporate world.

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Purdue University runs the PMP Capstone Industry Projects programme from August to May each year. Source: Purdue University

More importantly, students gain real-world experience through the industry capstone projects. These year-long endeavours allow students to work with industry leaders on real-world challenges, delivering solutions and improving operational excellence. These projects often open doors to internships and permanent positions, as partnerships with industry leaders unlock exciting career opportunities. Just ask Mudaliar, who secured projects at leading companies such as Eaton Corporation, Tesla Gigafactory, and ThermoFisher Scientific.

“These internships provided invaluable hands-on experience in project management, predictive analysis, and Six Sigma methodologies, significantly enhancing my technical and leadership skills,” she says. “For example, at ThermoFisher Scientific, I led a Six Sigma initiative to identify correlations of resin and jig parameters with foam failure faults, resulting in an 80% decrease in faults. This project improved production efficiency and earned me the Purdue Design Expo Outstanding Graduate Award.”

Another student from India, Praneashram Dhuraimurugan, who got to work on multiple projects with corporate clients, agrees. “One instance is where we were working with American Airlines on their airport lobbies,” he says. “The checking process at the airport has always been the most stressful one for the passengers, and we were working with the company to optimise the airport lobby by having the right number of resources using tools like simulation and machine learning models.”

Like Dhuraimurugan and Mudaliar, PMP – Professional Master’s Program graduates quickly become highly sought-after professionals in the ever-evolving world of Industrial Engineering. They follow in the footsteps of past graduates now making significant contributions across diverse industries as Pathways Operations Managers at Amazon, Technical Programme Managers at Tesla, and Operation Managers at Applied Materials and more.

Interested? Learn more about Purdue University’s PMP.

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