To be able to integrate the various requirements and to optimise the processes in the interaction between industry and engineering, companies and, in some cases, administrations and authorities need experts who have a profound technical knowledge and a training in business administration and, possibly, also in social and economic aspects.
Studies in industrial engineering may be completed in various formats. For example, engineering – and more rarely science or computer science – may be studied simultaneously with economics and business administration. Opportunities for specialisation exist, e.g. in civil engineering, electrical engineering and information technology, mechanical engineering, biotechnology, logistics, and in product management. After graduating, generally from an engineering programme, students can also take postgraduate or complementary studies that include economic and in some cases further technical subjects. Following up an economics-orientated programme with an engineering-orientated postgraduate programme is also possible in individual cases.
Industrial engineers work in development departments, in cost calculating and job organisation and planning, as well as in sales. Above all, larger production companies in all branches of industry will offer employment opportunities. So too do trading and commercial companies, businesses and consultancy companies with a technical or engineering orientation as well as larger traffic and transport companies. In all cases, the specific engineering orientation will largely determine the branch or industry in which industrial engineers find employment.
The basic study stage covers the principles of mathematics, science and engineering relevant to the selected engineering focus, and essential areas of economics and business administration (operational research), law and statistics, data processing and computer science/information systems. The main study stage offers extension and consolidation in both main areas.
Depending on the school/vocational qualifications, a pre-study internship of several weeks is generally required in the commercial or technical field. Practical phases of varying length are completed during the studies.
Modules on the technical/engineering, mathematical-scientific, economic and legal principles. Depending on the engineering subject in question (e.g. mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, civil engineering, engineering chemistry, traffic and transport, information and communication systems – ICT), students consolidate their subject-related knowledge. Students also take economics modules like accounting and auditing, theory of organisation, ergonomics, industrial/corporate statistics, finance and accounting, operational research, procurement and marketing/sales management, production management, industrial mathematics, project and quality management, plus special areas of law, foreign languages, forming spin-offs/company start-ups.