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Clarkson Business Professor Michael Ensby Part of Industry-University Partnership to Prepare Students
[A photograph for newspaper use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/ensby.jpg]
As director of Clarkson University's Interdisciplinary Engineering & Management (iE&M) degree program, Michael Ensby understands that tomorrow's global business leaders need a firm technical foundation, particularly in the areas of logistics and supply chain management.
"The world is a lot more complex than it was 30 years ago," Ensby says. "The global supply chain "the process that begins with the receipt of raw materials, moves through manufacturing, and ends with finished products delivered to the customer " is far more complex than ever before. To be successful today means integrating supply chains effectively to meet rising customer expectations and declining product life cycles at reasonable costs. Understanding and implementing the latest material handling best practices is key to successful integration."
For the last two years, MHEDA has worked with the Material Handling Industry of America's College-Industry Council on Material Handling Education (CICMHE) to further their outreach program to colleges and universities with material handling curricula.
This year, MHEDA sponsored Ensby to participate in this industry-education alliance with multiple aims designed to strengthen areas of mutual interest, including increasing the awareness and recognition of the industry and career possibilities among students and ensuring that curricula is compatible with current industry practices.
"Both the academic community and industry have a vested interest in ensuring that graduates entering the business world have a solid grounding in the business models of organizations they will be associated with," says Ensby. "Material handling is an important component within supply chain management."
"For the industry it's a chance to bridge the gap with academic by increasing the awareness of the career path opportunities among students and to promote the strategic values of the industry relative to supply chain strategies," explains MHEDA Executive Vice President Liz Richards.
"CICMHE has been weighted toward engineering or the technical side, "says Michael Romano, president and CEO of Associated Material Handling Industries Inc. and chair of MHEDA's Industry Advocacy Committee. "Mike Ensby brings a different and dynamic perspective to the group, which enhances and broadens the discussion. An additional benefit is his expertise with project management."
For Ensby, his involvement translates into a better understanding of the industry and emerging career tracks, which will "enhance our nationally recognized curriculum through the integration of material handling modules into our supply chain management track." Clarkson's supply chain management program was ranked as a top-10 national program in the nation by U.S. News & World Report's America's Best Colleges 2007.
Both Richards and Romano point to the need to increase the visibility of the material handling industry to students as one of the industry's biggest challenges. Finding business people with a technical background is vital to the continued growth and prosperity of the industry.
"This is one reason why partnering with Clarkson has been so positive," explains Richards. "A program like iE&M develops skills that are especially applicable to our industry. Students gain a strong technical base as well as marketing savvy and an understanding of business strategies required for success in this industry."
The iE&M program was developed back in 1954 specifically to meet an emerging industry need, namely the need for business managers with a broad technical background. The program was designed to give students a firm technical and business foundation with coursework in the major disciplines of engineering, math and science, management, marketing and the social sciences. For over 50 years, the curriculum has evolved to meet contemporary challenges in the marketplace.
From the beginning, the value of the iE&M degree was reflected in the high placement rates of its graduates. iE&M graduates are highly competitive in the job market and maintain a track record of professional success. Today, for example, one graduate out of eight has become CEO, president, vice president or owner of a company.
"Engineers know how to design the widget, and marketing majors know the questions to ask about placing the widget in front of potential customers," says Ensby. "But it is rare for a recent college graduate to have basic skills in both technical problem solving and business decision making," says Ensby.
"iE&M graduates," he adds, "are uniquely prepared to leverage technology in the marketplace, today and into the future!"