Lehigh University's Integrated Business & Engineering Honors Program
IBE 050 Integrated Business and Engineering Freshman Workshop (3) spring
Introduction to how business and engineering activities create value with a focus on innovation, design and the business value chain. Introduction to analytical tools, modeling and simulation techniques used in business and engineering applications. By taking apart products and the companies that make them, students develop skills in such areas as competitive strategy, marketing mix, financial modeling, organization of the supply chain, virtual (computer) modeling, engineering drawing, development of technical specifications, testing and measurement. Open only to students in the Integrated Business and Engineering Honors Program.
The principle objective of the course is to introduce how businesses and engineering activities create value, with a focus on innovation, design and the business value chain. The course also introduces analytic tools and modeling and simulation techniques for business and engineering applications. By taking apart products and the companies that make them, students will develop skills in and basic functional ability to undertake: analysis of customer needs, competitive strategy and marketing mix; financial modeling; organization of the supply chain; as well as virtual (computer) modeling; engineering drawing; development of technical specifications; testing and measurement; brainstorming; new concept generation, screening and selection; and overall business planning. Students will also improve their written, oral and graphical communication skills and become better decision makers when facing unstructured, uncertain and ill-defined problems.
The pedagogy of the course emphasizes active, participatory and team-based inquiry. The instructor has quite high expectations of students in the course, so to the extent possible he minimizes lecturing and maximizes hands-on or, better yet, brains-on activities. This means that rather than lecturing about and repeating what you can independently read about in the textbook, the instructor simply expects that students will have read it and are prepared during class and their team meetings to participate in thorough, joint, exploration of the topics at hand. The instructor uses an approach similar to the style of senior or graduate seminars with faculty mentoring rather than the usual lecture/homework/exam introductory course for freshmen.
Since its inception, the IBE students have found the workshop challenging in the beginning yet rewarding in the end. Each year the workshop has had a different industry theme: toys, sporting goods, intelligent clothing, USB port devices, and devices to aid the mobility of senior citizens. Several of the student teams thought their product concept had enough merit that they continued on their own (some with outside funding) to try to bring their ideas to market.