Q: My son is in grade 11 and is interested in pursuing industrial engineering. Could you shed some light on this programme, and on where he can study it?

Considered as a holistic qualification emanating for the engineering department, industrial engineers are concerned with increasing efficiency, reducing wastage, improving not only quality of products and services but also the quality of life along with protecting the environment and adhering to government regulations.

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Their goal is to minimise wastage of material, time, money and other resources so they would be ideally suited to improve assembly lines and make them more efficient and safe, or streamlining operations.

Some common questions an IE graduate is qualified to comment on would be the ideal location of production plants considering availability of material, transportation costs and customer base; how best to distribute the product regionally, nationally and internationally, or how best to improve the quality of care in a hospital.

Industrial engineers are involved at various stages of design, production and processing. They could design new facilities or they may be responsible for upgrading existing facilities.

At high school, you would need to study maths – algebra, calculus and trigonometry along with computer science, physics and chemistry. In college you could either major in IE or any other engineering discipline with specialisation in IE.

IE complements business studies perfectly and various universities provide programmes alongside IE in logistics, supply chain management or data analytics.

In Denmark, the UK and Finland the focus is on the business side of the programme, making it less technical. In the US the focus is more on case studies warranting group solutions.

Industrial engineers can find career opportunities in manufacturing, hardware, logistics, shop floor management or healthcare. You could explore job opportunities in data and business analysis, in manufacturing, production, logistics or process development to careers in consulting and other advisory roles.

Consider institutions wherein the department of Engineering is well known for industrial, manufacturing or system engineering. These would include Berkeley, Virginia Tech, Georgia Institute of Technology, Stanford, Michigan – Ann Arbor and Cornell. Across the Atlantic, the Oxbridges, Imperial, Bath, Loughborough, Leeds, Bristol, Warwick, Manchester and Edinburgh would be the leading names.

Sanjeev Verma is an international education counsellor (sanjeev@intelligentpartners.com, www.intelligentpartners.com). Got a problem? Our fantastic panel of renowned experts is available to answer all your questions related to fashion, well-being, nutrition, finance and hypnotherapy. Email your queries to friday@gulfnews.com.