The Master’s Degree programme in Industrial Engineering and Management (IEM) educates engineers who are capable of developing and leading technology-based businesses with an entrepreneurial mindset. The programme equips students with a systemic, solution-oriented engineering mindset. The distinctive feature of IEM at Aalto University is that it combines classical industrial engineering, which emphasizes understanding and developing operational processes and complex systems, with a focus on strategic and entrepreneurial leadership.
During the program, students develop an integrative understanding of technology and business, a combination of theoretical understanding and a pragmatic can-do attitude, analytical capabilities to solve complex real-life problems using data, people skills to build and lead organizations, diverse knowledge and experience from startups to largest corporations, and a global orientation and ambition level.
Studies in Industrial Engineering and Management allow for multiple career paths. Alumni of the programme have taken expert and leadership positions in a number of different types of companies, ranging from start-ups to large multinational companies, as well as public and non-profit organizations. They have co-founded several startups (including some of the fastest-growing companies in Europe), and have been involved in and supported some of the major strategic decisions taken by a number of multinational companies.
Graduates often start their careers in expert, analyst or project management positions. Typical entry titles include: Analyst, Consultant, Business Development Manager, Contract Manager, Product Manager, Project Manager, Purchasing Engineer, Risk Management Consultant, Service Development Engineer, Services Manager, Sourcing Specialist, Specialist - Process Development Logistics, Supply Chain & Quality Manager, Strategy Analyst, Technical Consultant.
Some examples of the companies our recently graduated alumni work for are: ABB, Accenture, A.T. Kearney, Bain & Company, The Boston Consulting Group, Capacent, Enevo Inc., FA Solutions, Fazer, Finnair, Fiskars, KONE, Konecranes, McKinsey & Company, Metso, Neste, Nordic Healthcare Group, NOKIA, Nordea Markets, Normet Corporation, Palmu, Reaktor, Reddal, RELEX Solutions, Rovio, Siemens Energy, Sievo, Smartly.io, SOK, Stora Enso, Telia Company, UBS, Wärtsilä.
The programme also provides an excellent basis for doctoral studies. Graduates of the programme have become faculty members at international top universities (such as Stanford University). Further information on the research conducted at the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management is available on the department website.
Graduates of the programme will graduate with a Master of Science (Technology) degree (diplomi-insinööri in Finnish).
The programme qualifies for doctoral studies (Doctor of Science in an applicable field).
Language of instruction
The language of instruction is primarily English, and the programme can be completed entirely in English. Some courses can be taken in Finnish or Swedish. More information is available in the General information about studies page (aalto.fi).
The program provides students with an integrative understanding of technology and business, which combines a strong theoretical foundation with applicable skills and a pragmatic can-do attitude to enable them to develop and lead technology-based businesses. Courses combine research-based insights (theories, analytical frameworks, and latest research knowledge) with experiential learning (cases, assignments, and teamwork).
The programme has three options for choosing a major: Strategy and Venturing, Operations and Service Management, or Organization Design and Leadership. While all majors are concerned with the creation and transformation of technology-based businesses, each of them provides a particular focus on the topic, which allows the student to develop expertise within the field of the selected major. Each major consists of a set of core courses and a set of elective courses. In addition, students need to select a course from each of the other two majors.
- The major in operations and service management covers issues from operations strategy to efficient execution of operations that are at the core of successful technology-based businesses. These range from configuring appropriate resources and processes into a production system that best contributes the organization’s goals and competitive advantage to managing the production system in order to provide the best match with demand and supply. The major in operations and service management builds on the generic principles on operations management but emphasizes novel ways of encountering the challenges and utilizing the opportunities related to creating and transforming technology-based business.
- The major in strategy and venturing focuses on topics related to the identification, formulation and implementation of courses of action that improve or sustain business performance and thus support the creation and transformation of technology-based businesses. Identifying proper courses of action requires the ability to analyze and synthesize a wide range of different pieces of information and to exercise judgment. Often such analysis is carried out by teams. To achieve their objectives the courses of action also need to be implemented and put into practice.
- The major in organization design and leadership focuses on issues of organizational design, motivation and leadership that are critical to the creation and transformation of technology-based businesses. The central question addressed is how companies can grow and prosper while at the same time preserving their adaptability, creativity, and an entrepreneurial mindset. The success of any organization depends on the potential of its people and its capabilities to maintain a purpose-driven organization. Therefore, to be able to renew themselves companies need to unleash and develop their human potential by enabling teams and individuals to self-organize (as opposed to just executing decisions made by top managers) and pursue collective action to seize entrepreneurial opportunities.
In addition to the major, each student completes a minor in a technical discipline.
Structure of studies
In addition to a major (45 ECTS), graduates from the degree programme should obtain appropriate knowledge of one technical discipline in their minor (20 ECTS). The foundations for the technical knowledge should already have been created in Bachelor's studies and will be refined at the Master's level. The rest of the studies consist of the Master’s thesis (30 ECTS) and electives (25 ECTS).
Choosing a main subject or field of specialisation
The majors in the programme are Operations and Service Management, Organization Design and Leadership and Strategy and Venturing.
Students are required to complete a Master's thesis, which is a research assignment with a workload corresponding to 30 ECTS credits. The student and the supervising professor agree on the topic of the thesis. Master's theses are typically written for a company or for one of the research projects of the department in question.
The study environment in the IEM programme is strongly international, and studies are conducted in multicultural groups. The School of Science offers diverse possibilities for student exchange all over the world. Other possibilities for developing one’s global competence are e.g. conducting practical training abroad, taking a summer course abroad or acting as a tutor for first-year students.
Co-operation with other parties
The Department of Industrial Engineering and Management co-operates closely with the national and international companies (ranging from start-ups to multinational enterprises) and research institutes of the field. In addition, the department has academic co-operation with high-quality international universities and organisations.
The topics of the major are linked to ongoing research focus areas in the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management at Aalto University School of Science.
Programme-specific admission requirements
The number of student places is limited and the evaluation process is highly competitive. If the number of acceptable applicants exceeds the admission quota, the board will only select the highest ranked applicants. The number of student places does not need to be filled if there are not enough sufficiently acceptable applicants.
The criteria for the academic evaluation are
- previous academic performance (grades)
- content of the previous degree(s)
- motivation for pursuing the Master’s degree
The previous academic performance is the most important criterion. When evaluating each applicant’s academic performance, we emphasize the grades achieved in the degree that gives the eligibility for applying. The recognition of the applicant’s home university also affects the final interpretation of the academic performance. The Selection Board reserves the right to decide how degree studies and the applicant’s home university match the criteria concerning relevance or recognition.
The evaluation process has two phases. The first phase screens out the applications that do not indicate both outstanding academic performance and suitable previous degree studies. The second phase ranks the remaining acceptable applications according to all the aforementioned criteria.
In order to surpass the first phase, an applicant should have a valid degree in the field of engineering, or some other field relevant to Industrial Engineering and Management. The programme aims at an integrated skill set consisting of mathematical, technological, economic, and social competences.
Foremost, the official transcript of the applicant’s degree studies should clearly indicate a good technological foundation, i.e. studies in science, engineering mathematics and one clearly technological discipline, supplemented with basic engineering reasoning and problem-solving skills. Therefore, we prefer applicants with B.Sc. degrees in engineering or compatible fields in computer science, natural sciences, or mathematics.
Furthermore, the application should demonstrate basic knowledge of management science, covering at least the basic concepts of markets and competition, operations management, organizational behaviour and financial management. Relevant work experience, professional certificates or online courses are considered but they do not directly compensate for the university level studies that include also the theoretical foundations of the required subjects. The desired amount of management studies is 25 ECTS.
In order to prove outstanding academic performance, the degree certificate and/or the official transcript of university records should clearly indicate that the applicant has been among the best students (top 10-15%) in his or her home university. For example, an applicant has achieved consistently the best grades throughout the degree studies (very high weighted average grade or GPA), which typically leads to graduation with distinction. This would mean that for applicants from Finnish universities applying the grading scale 1-5, the expected GPA is generally at least 4.0.
In the second phase, we rank the remaining acceptable applications according to all the aforementioned criteria, especially evaluating the ability and motivation for pursuing the Master’s Degree in Industrial Engineering and Management as a whole. We seek applicants who will complete the programme successfully in due time. The academic performance is the most important criterion but the other two criteria – the content of previous degree(s) and the motivation for pursuing the degree - can distinguish otherwise even applications. The curriculum vitae and the motivation letter become important compulsory documents. The additional documents provide evidence that support the profile created by these compulsory documents.
Besides the grade point average, we also consider the applicant’s previous time-to-graduation. If the applicant has several relevant degrees, all attached information will affect the assessment but we value consistent performance throughout the academic record. However, the level of the highest degree achieved is not a proof of academic performance in this context.
The content of the previous degrees can affect the evaluation in several ways, both positively and negatively. While the extent of the technological studies would have been sufficient to qualify for the second phase of evaluation, they are re-evaluated and put into comparison with other applicants. In addition, deficiencies in the prerequisites concerning management studies may weaken the application although a student may later compensate minor deficiencies by compulsory supplementary studies or adjustments in the personal study plan (HOPS). We also take into consideration that degree in the Master’s Programme in Industrial Engineering and Management will give the applicant genuinely new knowledge. In this respect, the number of degrees or amount of studies is not an advantage as such. Overlapping degrees create a clear disadvantage.
The motivation letter should describe not only interest in the field but properties and willingness to achieve the degree and the targets set by the programme. If an applicant already has an M.Sc. or higher academic degree, he or she should describe thoroughly his/her motivation to join and graduate from the program. To improve knowledge in management does not require degree studies because the Finnish educational systems offers other possibilities for this. For example, non-degree or open university studies are recommended to complement the earlier degree or to improve one’s professional skills.
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Last updated November 16, 2018