The transition from new engineering graduate to successful member of corporate America is a difficult journey. Often the skills required are not part of a student's traditional undergraduate education. At Cal Poly, we have integrated a new course into our existing Senior Project curriculum which enables students to develop the professional skills necessary to become an effective member of any corporation. Key skills such as communication, problem solving and project management are practiced through active learning techniques. These as well as other topics studied are required for ABET certification.
The new course investigates the mission and values that are at the foundation of any corporation's culture. It challenges students to evaluate their own personal leadership potential. Organization structures along with the roles and responsibilities of Engineering, Marketing, Sales, Operations, Finance and Executive management are studied along with the interdisciplinary nature of engineering and technology. The rigors and metrics of a typical product development methodology are explored along with the concepts of program management and the protection of intellectual property. Business models are studied which enable students to evaluate the impact engineering can have on a company's financial success. Moreover, the students learn that they are members of a global community with environmental and social responsibilities. The impact of technology on society can be profound and students are challenged to consider difficult ethical issues as well as exciting career opportunities.