Savvy companies are always looking to do more with less and maximize opportunities. Whether that is cutting costs, streamlining processes or ramping up production to meet demand, many of these innovative companies turn to invest in a senior design project to solve these challenges.
The NC State Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE) Senior Design Program is an opportunity to complete a short-term project — perhaps a project sitting on the shelf or something that needs skills that are not available inside your organization. Sponsoring a senior design project is nothing but beneficial to your company.
1. Receive Fresh and Innovative Solutions
Not only can students create solutions to your proposals in ways that have a massive impact across your organization at a fraction of the cost, but they are not constrained by convention and can produce surprising solutions. “Our students bring fresh ideas and experiences to the table that can help companies succeed in today’s operating environment,” said Kanton Reynolds, program director. “We found students generated unique ideas and solutions, and their thinking wasn’t limited,” said Art Parrish, a project manager from BSH Home Appliances.
They bring more than new ideas; they also draw from the knowledge of their course work and the total of all their collective work experiences to the table as co-ops, interns and, in some cases, part-time employees. “I have had the privilege of working with four senior design teams, each time the teams have not only delivered the project goals but have brought fresh ideas to our business and exceeded our expectations,” said Jeremy Saunders, a data analytics and smart automation leader at GSK.
2. Pre-train and Interview Potential Employees
As you partner with your team throughout the semester, you get to show them how your company operates. You watch how they work in a team environment, their work ethic, their interaction with industry professionals and if they are someone you would like to recruit to your company. Through sponsorship, you have the entire project’s span to help, train and interview students in a way that conventional methods could never do.
Because you will work closely with students during the project, you will see the talents and skills they have learned. “What stood out about the students was their professionalism and project management skills,” shared Saunders. “All of the students worked well as a team and utilized their resources to overcome project hurdles.” The skills built during senior design supplement the students’ coursework and prepare them for full-time employment.
3. Let your Current Employees Mentor and Lead
Sponsoring companies assign a point of contact who interacts with the students throughout the project. This contact communicates with the team weekly, is available to answer questions, provides direction and judges the team’s performance at the project’s end. This interaction allows your current employees to enhance their project management, communication and leadership skills.
“This was a great opportunity not only for the students to be creative but also for our team to reflect on how we, too, can be more creative in our approaches to reactive and problem-solving solving,” said Parrish from BSH. Your company employees strengthen their mentoring and leadership skills, learn to be more creative when designing future solutions and improve your company’s value and mission.
4. Get Access to University Resources
With your sponsorship, you can access a wealth of resources used by faculty and staff members and students. No other school in the US has more faculty members who are fellows of the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers. These are the same faculty members who are advising and helping to solve your project.
Our students are an additional resource and have access to numerous engineering software packages and equipment that your company may not have considered using or applying in the ways our students do. “Every one of the 25 or so projects I’ve seen in the two semesters I’ve been helping students has something unique and special about it,” said Patrick Murray, a senior design advisor and retired Intel executive. “With the vast array of resources to pull from, it’s no surprise that you are left with a unique and useful solution to your proposal.”
5. Take an Active Role in Shaping the Next Generation of Engineers
In your project, students can see how engineers in the field work together, solve problems and make hard decisions. “I have taught senior design at two universities and believe it to be the single most important course a student takes,” said Paul Cohen, a senior design advisor and the Edgar S. Woolard Distinguished Professor.
The program is mutually beneficial for students and companies. You get a solution to your problem and help shape the next generation of engineers. For BSH Home Appliances, it helped them see the high-caliber talent entering the workforce. “It was an opportunity for us to support the next generation of engineers,” shared Parrish. “We highly recommend that other companies consider participating.”
Ready to Get Started?
This program is only possible because of your sponsorship. While there is a nominal cost to participate in senior design, it is minuscule compared to the cost benefits you receive from the project while also having access to our best students and faculty members. So, why are you waiting? Contact our program director Kanton Reynolds (firstname.lastname@example.org), for more information or go ahead and complete the senior design sponsorship form. It is straightforward and simple. You can complete it online or download a paper copy at go.ncsu.edu/projectsponsorform and start having your problems solved.