"Industrial Engineering and Management students can become anything except medical doctors or pilots"
Ilona Hemming chose the Bachelor’s Programme in Science and Technology at Aalto University School of Science with Industrial Engineering and Management as her major after comparing different bachelor’s programmes on the university website and attending an open-doors day on campus. ‘Industrial Engineering and Management interested me because it enables you to keep your plans for the future open. As they often say, IEM students can become anything except medical doctors or pilots. This major attracted me in particular because it covers various organisational and leadership themes. Industrial cooperation with companies during studies through actual real-life projects also interested me,’ Ilona says.
Students may steer their degree in their chosen direction by choosing a minor and elective studies, for example. IEM students are required to choose a minor in a field of engineering or science. Ilona has chosen to minor in computer science, helping her to gain a deeper understanding of IT businesses.
There is no need to worry about finding a job: the employment rate of recent Industrial Engineering and Management graduates is almost 100%. Former students for example work as consultants, entrepreneurs, in various leadership positions, as investment bankers, production engineers and human resources managers. There are as many job descriptions as there are IEM graduates.
Changing daily programme and plenty of teamwork
No two days are alike at Aalto University, and students have the freedom to plan their personal schedules quite flexibly. For Ilona, a typical day may begin with independent study at home, followed by a two-hour lecture or a practice session led by a course assistant. These are typical parts of the basic science and technology studies that students pursue in their first year. Further along in the programme, IEM students will have more team meetings, excursions related to the projects they conduct in cooperation with companies, and one-on-one meetings with professors and other teaching staff members. Throughout the day, the guild room of the IEM student organisation Prodeko is a great place to meet other students, have a cup of coffee or play a game of pool, for example.
Industrial Engineering and Management studies entail a lot of teamwork. This was a daunting prospect for Ilona at first. In her previous studies, she often found teamwork frustrating and the division of labour unfair. ‘Teamwork with other IEM students is really fun and fruitful. All team members are motivated to contribute, and no one is left to complete the tasks alone. Doing things together is much more fun than trying to figure everything out alone. Besides, being able to work in a team is a highly useful skill in the labour market,’ Ilona says.
‘The best thing about my degree programme are other people’
According to Ilona, the best thing about her degree programme are other people, the Prodeko guild in particular. Whenever she encounters a Prodeko member, it is easy to have a casual conversation. Prodeko members do everything together and go all out. The guild actively collaborates with alumni and the industry, supporting students’ studies and career advancement. For example, Prodeko’s company excursions are a great opportunity to run into former IEM students, from company leaders to recent graduates. Company leaders are able to provide comprehensive life advice, while recent graduates may give you some great job-seeking and studying tips, for example.
The IEM community also includes a number of intelligent, influential women. This has been such a great resource for me as a woman.
Although Industrial Engineering and Management has traditionally been and still is a male-dominated field, Ilona feels a part of this community just like everyone else.
Ilona has for example acted as a tutor for new students, participated in the development of the guild’s online store, given talks about IEM at upper secondary schools and organised both small and large events that have brought together not only Prodeko members but also alumni, industrial partners and other student guilds.
Ilona’s tips for new students
Getting admitted to study Industrial Engineering and Management at Aalto University is not the easiest achievement – but do not let this deter you from applying! After all, you cannot succeed if you do not try. As an IEM student, you will benefit from having studied mathematical subjects at upper secondary school. But no need to worry if you do not remember any differentiation rules by heart, help is available. Ilona does not remember them by heart, either. Being highly competent is not the key to successful IEM studies. What matters is an enthusiastic hands-on attitude.
There is no need to get too stressed about starting your studies. Once you have been admitted, there is no need to fear that you will not be able to pass the courses. However, university studies do differ from upper secondary school studies in that university students have more freedom but also a higher responsibility for making progress.
Do you want to get to know the corporate world, learn how organisations work and how they can be developed, learn to control complex wholes and/or join the rainbow of joyful, inspirational and ambitious people that make up the Prodeko community? If your answer is yes, apply to study Industrial Engineering and Management!