The future of U.S. engineering and the U.S. economy, says Robert Storer, lies in continuous innovation.
And the purpose of Lehigh's four-year IBE honors program, says Storer, is to train students to make and market new products by "infusing engineering thinking into the world of entrepreneurship and business."
Storer, professor of industrial and systems engineering, is co-director of the Integrated Business and Engineering program along with Stephen Buell, professor of finance and law in Lehigh's College of Business and Economics.
"IBE as a program seeks to address the future," says Storer. "Future engineers must understand domestic and global markets, and they must be able to translate their knowledge into new ideas and products. They will need to know how to design and develop products and bring them to market. This requires an understanding of international competition and the global economy. These are the key issues we address in IBE."
IBE attracts some of Lehigh's top students, with average SAT scores of incoming candidates exceeding 1400. It is one of Lehigh's most demanding programs. Students must acquire proficiency in a foreign language and are encouraged to do an international internship or study-abroad program. A summer industrial internship is also required.
IBE students also work in interdisciplinary teams on a yearlong project with a company, often a high-tech start-up. This capstone senior project incorporates marketing, strategic planning and competitive analysis, along with product, process and system design issues.
The IBE curriculum leads to an accredited B.S. degree in business and engineering, with majors offered in all business and engineering fields. Many IBE students opt for a fifth year of study to earn a second B.S. in their engineering major. Some have completed both degrees in four years.