2022-23 Interdisciplinary Business with Engineering Studies Newsletter

In This Issue

New Things Going on in the Major

Carol Putman

Carol Putman

Credit: Penn State Behrend

Welcome to the Interdisciplinary Business with Engineering Studies (IBE) newsletter! There have been a lot of good things happening in and out of the classroom. Enrollment, internship opportunities, and full-time job placements remain strong for the major. As alumni and company managers contact the school looking for IBE students to hire, I share the information and link to apply on a site dedicated to those pursuing the major. This site has shown to be an efficient platform to connect companies with qualified students.

The year-long IBE capstone course has eight teams of seniors working on sponsored projects that they will present at the annual Fasenmyer Engineering Design Conference in April. Each unique project has both a technical and a business challenge. Status update presentations will also be provided to the industry sponsors at the end of the fall semester.

Matt MacBeth, our Executive in Residence, provided entrepreneurship training via Zoom last spring to help students better understand skills needed for successful ventures. While most participants were IBE majors, it was open to all students. Those who completed the training received a certificate.

This past spring, we completed a five-year program review for the IBE major. One of the recommendations from both alumni and employer feedback was to consider updating some topics as continuous improvement, especially in coding language, to match skillsets needed on the job. As new business and engineering courses are developed at Behrend, we are evaluating potential curriculum options like this in consultation with our IBE advisory board, which is made up of business leaders and alumni who have gone on to successful professional careers.

Please enjoy the highlights provided in this newsletter. A special thank you to Reagan James, our current president of the National Organization of Business and Engineering (NOBE) student club, for coordinating the content.

Carol Putman
Disciplinary Leader for Interdisciplinary Business with Engineering Studies
Associate Teaching Professor of Management

Alumni Spotlight

Brian Burns ‘22

Brian Burns

Brian Burns '22

Credit: Contributed Photo

My name is Brian Burns, and I double majored in Interdisciplinary Business with Engineering Studies and Finance. At Behrend, I held the position of president of the NOBE club.

I am working for Parker Hannifin in a rotational program. My title is technical sales associate, which will lead me into an account manager position in June 2023. My first year has been an amazing experience. I was able to travel to fifteen different cities in only five months. During these visits, my goal was to learn each division's product. These fast-paced five months were designed to gain technical and sales knowledge and also develop critical connections throughout Parker. The technology that I will be selling for Parker will be hydraulics to major mobile equipment companies.

After Christmas, I moved to Chicago where I am working at Parker's Hydraulic Research and Development Lab. Here I can work directly on mobile equipment to make them more efficient. This part of my rotation is crucial to my career because I am learning about specific applications by working hands-on.

What is one of the most interesting/unique aspects of your job?
I think the most interesting aspect of my job is to be able to work with major mobile equipment companies. I am working directly with John Deere, Caterpillar, Komatsu, and others. I think it’s cool that I used to play with toy equipment in the sandbox when I was young, and now I am playing with real, life-sized equipment for a job. Being able to network with top sales executives at Parker and these companies has been very eye-opening to the business world.

What would you tell your college self if you could go back in time?
I would tell myself to network with people as much as you can. I felt I did a good job of networking in college compared to everyone else. However, I feel like I could have networked better outside of Erie, Pennsylvania. Living in Erie was a great experience for my college career, but I think being able to network outside of the local area would have helped me create a diverse array of connections.

Which Behrend course has helped you the most in your career?
Being that I’m in engineering sales, I feel a lot of the engineering classes have applied well. There have been a few times throughout my travels where I look back to college classes because they directly apply to the real world. Don’t be so focused on memorizing all the formulas for your engineering classes; just having a background in them helps. Also, all of my finance classes have helped me. I work with mostly engineering graduates, and I feel like having a background in finance has helped me with the business side of my job. Learning all the financial acumen will help me as I move upward and grow in my career.

Student Spotlight

Nathan Lutz '23

Nathan Lutz

Nathan Lutz '23

Credit: Contributed Photo

Nathan is graduating in Spring 2023 with a major in Interdisciplinary Business with Engineering Studies and Project and Supply Chain Management and an SAP certificate. In addition to his studies, he was able to be a part of NOBE and the disc golf club. He was also able to further his studies and use it in the real world with a supply chain internship through TechnipFMC for most of his fourth and fifth years.

What attracted you to Penn State Behrend?
I was always attracted to Penn State in general; what attracted me to Behrend was how close it was to home and how much I could do here. The IBE program was the one that ultimately made me stay at Behrend and not go to another campus because I knew how beneficial it would be for me to have in the workforce.

What was your biggest takeaway from your internship?
During my time at Behrend, I was able to work at TechnipFMC as a supply chain intern. I was able to learn a lot about time management with working there full-time over the summers and part-time while in school. This internship also allowed me to use principles I learned in class in actual industry situations.

If you had one do-over at Behrend, what would it be?
If I had one do-over at Behrend, I would have gotten involved more. Whether it was with different clubs and organizations or just on-campus activities in general, I think I would've benefited from being more active throughout.

Faculty Spotlight

Carol Putman

Carol Putman

Carol Putman

Credit: Penn State Behrend

Where did you work before teaching at Behrend and what did you do in that job?
Before teaching at Behrend, I worked for International Paper. I started in the technical department as a process engineer before leading new product development projects. Later I became the program coordinator for the White Papers Group, which involved overseeing the portfolio of new development projects across all IP paper mills within the group and serving as a liaison with marketing.

What made you choose to switch from your previous job to becoming a professor?
As my personal life changed, it became difficult to balance with the hours required for my career. I had taught as an adjunct instructor in Behrend's continuing education program while still working at IP, so it was a logical transition because I already knew I liked it. Timing was good for me in that a full-time role in project management and supply chain management needed to be filled.

What is your job title at Penn State Behrend?
My title is Associate Teaching Professor of Management, and I have two other titles related to roles I serve in—Discipline Lead for Interdisciplinary Business with Engineering Studies and Black School of Business Committee Chair for Learning Innovations.

What are a few courses that you teach at Behrend?
I teach Strategic Product Development, Product Realization Capstone, Project Management for Engineers, and Supply Chain Management.

How long have you been a professor at Behrend?
I've been at Behrend in a full-time role since 2008, but my first-time teaching here as an adjunct instructor was in 1993 (before most current Behrend students were born!).

What is one thing that you love about being a part of Behrend?
My favorite thing about being a part of Behrend is having the opportunity to make a positive impact working with students. It's fun to support students in building their confidence toward their careers knowing they will be uniquely successful in their own way. I also enjoy the culture at Behrend, where everyone works together to make a difference.

About the Club: NOBE

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 translate into business success. NOBE produces leaders. We offer students resources for professional development, corporate interaction, post-undergraduate, and current-market education.

Recent Activities

  • Résumé Workshop: The NOBE Club held a résumé workshop on September 15, 2022. The workshop had faculty members and club board members present to help review and revise student résumés, as well as answer any questions that students had about the upcoming Career and Internship Fair.
  • Club Showcase: The club showcase was held on September 28, 2022, and was a great way for students to view all of the different clubs available to them on campus. The NOBE Club had board members present to answer any student questions about the club and to sign them up for our Slack channel so they could receive notifications about upcoming club events.
  • NOBE Fall Virtual Conference: The NOBE Fall Virtual Conference was held on October 12, 2022. The conference allowed club members to join via Zoom for a cloud industry panel and an engagement workshop.
  • Club Board meetings: The board members of the NOBE Club have had several meetings to discuss future events for the upcoming spring semester!