Penn State Behrend: Unlock your potential as a manufacturing management expert
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Penn State Behrend: Unlock your potential as a manufacturing management expert

The manufacturing industry has been described as the backbone of both social and economic development. By definition, manufacturing is the process of converting raw materials into large quantities of valuable goods — think of the paper we write on, the snacks we consume, the clothes we wear, the vehicles we drive, and the phones we cannot live without. We wouldn’t have access to such luxuries without the product manufacturing process, which — from assembly design to distribution — is overseen by manufacturing managers.

With plenty of ground to cover, executing the job effectively is no easy feat, hence the importance of qualification. Enter Penn State Behrend’s School of Engineering. As a Top 40 Engineering School, according to the US News and World Report, it has state-of-the-art facilities, award-winning faculty, small class sizes, an emphasis on meaningful student design and research experiences, superior experiential learning opportunities, and a dynamic Master of Manufacturing Management (MMM) programme.

Jointly offered by the School of Engineering and the AACSB International-accredited Black School of Business, this graduate programme was designed to equip learners with the skills and knowledge needed to bridge the gap between engineering and business. It places significant emphasis on leadership, communication, teamwork and decision-making — all of which are competencies highly sought after in the field of manufacturing.

Penn State Behrend

Penn State Behrend is a small college with resources beyond its size. Source: Penn State Behrend

“The MMM programme provides students with the knowledge of manufacturing processes and strategies that apply to day-to-day jobs in engineering, business, supply chain management, quality, and more,” attests Dan Rose, an MMM graduate.

How students choose to expand their skill sets is entirely up to them. The programme is delivered both full-time and part-time. The first route can be completed in as little as 10 months, while the more flexible option sees students achieving their qualification in just 22 months. Since the MMM is primarily delivered online, with just one on-campus visit required per semester, mature learners and working professionals are welcome to balance their time between work, family, and academic enrichment. For those who prefer interacting with the faculty members and having their burning questions answered almost immediately, campus doors remain open.

The 32-credit master’s sees students building their knowledge through its four components: Manufacturing Engineering, Manufacturing Management, Quality and Lean Manufacturing, and Leadership and Communication. Lessons are facilitated by experienced faculty members who bring a breadth of knowledge in lean techniques, product delivery, six sigma quality, and modern supply chain management practices to each and every session.

Upon grasping the fundamentals, students apply knowledge through a two-semester, industry-sponsored capstone project, where they will be expected to leverage market-based strategies to create a product, develop manufacturing and supply chain support, and project financial outcomes. Students also attend a three-day residency focusing on manufacturing tours and lean audits.

The best part? Since several learners are practising professionals, discussions are passionate, and perspectives are diverse. “On my teams specifically, I have worked with individuals representing machining, casting, food and beverage manufacturing, and welding backgrounds,” explains Rose. “These different perspectives allow for real-life examples that complement the classroom material.”

Professional development components are also incorporated into the programme to ensure students evolve into leaders capable of thriving both on the factory floor and in the boardroom. Through a five-part leadership course, they undergo personality analysis while finetuning their speaking, writing and teamwork skills.

The collective experience certainly pays off. More than 95% of the School of Engineering’s graduates are employed within a year, and the school’s practical learning approach has thoroughly prepared its cohorts for professional practice and further studies.

Erie – which houses Penn State Behrend – is a mid-sized city that offers the culture and entertainment options of a large metropolitan area. Source: Penn State Behrend

Moreover, Erie boasts emerging strengths in advanced manufacturing — something graduates like Rose reminisce about with appreciation. “With the manufacturing presence in Erie, students have a great opportunity to learn from classmates who are also working in the local industry,” Rose shares.

So if you are ready to kickstart your career in manufacturing management alongside a vibrant community, click here to learn more about the Master of Manufacturing Management.

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