Students Share Their Growth and Discoveries in the IEMS 402 Gateway Course

402 Engineering Management, also known as the Gateway Course, is one the first classes students take in the MEM program. This past quarter in Winter 2013 students shared with discoveries and personal growth in summaries of their experiences. A few key themes emerged in the summaries and we’ve pulled out quotes to give you a feel for all the MEM program can offer:


“This course gave me a much needed introduction to the basics of accounting. My undergraduate engineering degree in India did not consist of any finance related course. Thus, I ended up with an in-depth technical knowledge of chemical plants, but no financial knowledge of the company which runs the plant whatsoever. So, I feel that the basics of income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow in general  which were covered in this course, completed my chemical engineering degree in a way.”


“The important teamwork skills can only be attained from real practice. I treasured the class opportunities to practice such skills. We did have times when people held opposing ideas and tried to convince the other side, but we didn’t end up with quarrels. Instead we stated our points, like a debate, and then made a compromise. At first, when we were not familiar with each other, a vote was the best way to solve problems, but later on we built more connivance and things became easier. We were more ready to accept others’ objections and found the optimum solutions. Its really helpful to learn how to be a part of a team and how to build an effective team.”

Real World Experience:

“Real competition is much more complex than I [thought] before. . . . There is no sympathy here. If you make a mistake, no one will help you. Also, you cannot count on competitor’s mistakes  because they may never make any. You need to change your strategy and make yourself go ahead. If we do not chance, we will definitely lost our share. Is it the real world.”

Business Skills:

“As an engineering student, I knew little about business before. However, this class taught us so much basic but important knowledge related to finance. Also, I learned several useful business tools to analyze the problems such as SWOT and MOST. The most important part was that we learned not just by the lecture, we learned by practice. We need to analyze every period’s income statement and balance sheet to know our company’s status. This kind of learning method really impressed me a lot!”

Be Brave!:

“Our firm did not do very well because we lost the chance to develop new cars. All the team members were conservative, including me. We should be braver and launch new cars or go into new markets”

Measuring Success:

“I learned there is more than one way to measure the success of a company. It is not possible for every company to make the most profit, but that doesn’t mean said company is doing bad. There are several metrics to evaluating a company’s worth based on the physical state of the company. Metrics like the return on assets, measure how much money a company is able to make off of the money they currently have invested in the business, while metrics like return on equity, shows how much money your company can generate based on the amount of shareholder money placed into your company. These types of metrics allow smaller businesses to succeed in a competitive market.”

Effective Presentations:

“In my case, this is the first time ever that I have been given any sort of real-time feedback for my presentation. This method really helped me appreciate my strengths and pin down my drawbacks while they were still fresh on my mind. One major area of improvement which was brought to light in my case was that I tend to rush through my presentation  This simple suggestion helped me consciously monitor my tempo while presenting for other courses, thus improving my confidence.”

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