2021-22 Interdisciplinary Business with Engineering Studies Newsletter

In this issue:

New Things Going On in This Major

The Interdisciplinary Business with Engineering (IBE) Studies major has some important updates to share:

Carol Putman

This fall, I was honored to start serving as the discipline lead for the IBE major. Dr. Diane Parente is working on some new interdisciplinary programs, so this will allow her more time to focus on those priorities. I've been involved with IBE since it became a new major in 2008—the same year I started full-time at Behrend. I'm excited for the opportunity to positively impact the major while preserving the integrity and respect it has developed with industry partners.

Five new module options have been approved by the curriculum committees of both the business and engineering schools. There is also a unique school-approved module, which a student can propose for approval in consultation with an adviser. The five new modules are:

  • Material and Mech Systems
  • Energy Finance
  • Product Development
  • Engineering and Economic Analysis
  • Biomedical

This academic year, seven IBE capstone teams are working on a variety of industry projects. Each project has both technical and business components. Status update presentations were provided to the industry sponsors at the end of the fall semester. Work is continuing in the spring semester with analysis in the areas of marketing, supply chain, finance, and manufacturing. The seven sponsored projects are:

  • Erie Insurance – App Enhancement
  • ARL – Flowmeter Damaged Blade Testing
  • MacBeth – Angel Investment Platform
  • ACC/PSU Berkey Creamery – Reusable Container Development
  • AFUSA – Process Improvement
  • Modern Industries – Rotary Shock Absorber Development
  • AFUSA – Antimicrobial Coating Applications

Behrend is excited to offer a new interdisciplinary major similar to IBE—the B.S. in Interdisciplinary Science and Business (ISB). This major will include core coursework in both business and science. Students will choose a focus module in each area to help them develop skills that will provide immediate value at the start of their careers. Opportunities could be found in healthcare centers, tech companies, and research facilities where integrated science and business skills are needed.

Carol Putman, Associate Teaching Professor in Management

Alumni Spotlight

Casey Cogley graduated in 2018 with a double major in IBE and Project and Supply Chain Management. She is currently a regional sales manager at Vertiv.

Casey Cogley

Tell us a bit about your background.

I am from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. My career path after college has been interesting and not a clear linear trajectory. I started out in supply chain at IBM, then went to work at a tech start-up (Rivers Agile) as an account manager for software development consulting. I currently work for Vertiv, which supplies/supports network infrastructure. I am specialized in our power portfolio. I started at Vertiv as a technical sales engineer, where I was able to learn our product set in depth. I knew I wanted to grow at the company and get into the sales side of the business. I was promoted last year to a Regional Sales Manager position, where I cover Arizona, New Mexico, and Las Vegas. I aspire to continue to grow at the company and eventually make my way to the C-Suite level.

What came as the biggest surprise to you at your first post-Behrend job?

The biggest surprise I have experienced out of college is that not everything is a clear definitive plan. Life takes many turns, and sometimes the company or career you least expect can be the best fit for you. So, my advice would be to not be afraid to try roles or companies that are outside of your interest.

What is your advice for current IBE students?

Absorb as much as you can; try to join and be a part of as many clubs as possible. Give it your all, and do not be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Put yourself out there and try different internships, clubs, classes, or projects that you may not initially think you would like—you may be surprised at what brings you joy. I would have never thought I would be working in backup power, and I absolutely love it.

Student Spotlight: A Capstone Project

The Interdisciplinary Business and Engineering major sets students up for success by developing their business acumen while building a foundation in engineering concepts. The senior capstone allows students to combine their technical and business knowledge while working on a real-world problem.

For our senior design project, we partnered with Modern Industries to improve a rotary shock absorber. Our team decided to focus our technical aspect on an adjustable lever arm to make the product more appealing to customers. Next, our team will test the technical aspect while focusing on the business side of the project. The team will be analyzing the competition, developing marketing plans, and finding new distribution channels for the shock absorber.

We feel that every student should complete a senior design project because it puts the student in a real-world application and lets you use the knowledge built throughout the last few years at college. Also, the project gives you experience to speak about during job interviews. Working with a team has really taught us more about relying on others and working together, rather than individually. This experience has been very educational and relevant.

We wish anyone going through the IBE program the best of luck during their senior capstone and hope they enjoy the experience as much as our team did. 

—Nicholas McCall '22 and Kate Harker '22, IBE and Project and Supply Chain Management dual majors

Club Updates

The National Organization of Business and Engineering (NOBE) is a national society uniting business, management, and engineering organizations from universities coast-to-coast. NOBE strives to produce and refine leadership internally and develop professional skills in our members that can be translated into success in the business world. NOBE offers students resources for professional development, corporate interaction, post-undergraduate studies, and current-market education. The knowledge and experience gained through participating in and managing NOBE projects and events help to ensure members' future success. NOBE events include the National NOBE conference, a stock market simulation game, and speakers/personal development events.