Here at Northeastern there are hundreds of great student organizations to get involved in! We want to highlight some organizations that you may not know, so we’re interviewing members of student organizations to learn a little bit about them and what their club is about. Tune in every week for a new post from The Club Chronicle! 

The Club Chronicle Interview #20: IISE

Could you tell me your names and a bit about yourselves and your positions in the organization?

Koustuv: I’m Koustuv, I’m a third year industrial engineering (IE) student originally from India. I have been involved in IISE for 4 semesters now and this semester I’m the president.

Veer: I’m Veer Shah I’m the other co-president, I’m from New York City. I’m a third year industrial engineering student. 

Can you tell me about IISE?

Veer: You know how some majors have their own professional society? IISE is the professional society for industrial engineers, including undergrads and grads. We’re not limited to IE, we’re open to other engineers and undecided engineers, and those freshmen and sophomores who don’t know about industrial engineering. As a freshman I came in as a chemical engineer and didn’t know what IE was. It’s a small niche, it’s smallest percent of our engineering school. When I came in for orientation undecided engineering was more than our engineering percent.

Students attending IISE’s Amazon Robotics Panel

Do you put on any events? 

Veer: IISE has 4 different types of events. We have weekly meetings on Mondays and it’s usually a professional night. Last night we had Wayfair come in and next week we have Raytheon. We also have Amazon Robotics coming in. They’re usually recruiters, past co-ops, HR, tech managers, people who are in charge of hiring or who know which teams require co-ops coming in to talk about the co-op roles. It’s more of a networking event, it’s about 75-25 split of speaker and networking. It’s usually an hour event. We have a mentorship program as well. We have freshmen and sophomores who sign up to be mentees and upperclassmen sign up as mentors. They get paired at a speed dating type event or preferences on a google form to find the best fit. Mentors aim to guide you through your time at Northeastern. IE is such a small major so you usually only have one section per class per semester. They help with guidance on what classes to take when, which to take before co-op, what professors to take. It also serves as a networking opportunity for people who haven’t gone on co-op. In our case last semester we had a mentee who got a co-op at the mentor’s company by networking and talking to the mentor’s boss. We also have the IISE service learning program. 

Koustuv: We work with different companies, this semester we are working with BBR, Boston Building Resources. We’re doing two projects with them along the lines of organizing their store to use 5S and Lean to organize it so they have less waste, can find items easily, and can improve the system of their store. 

Veer: BBR is a Goodwill kind of organization that takes donations of furniture from people who don’t need it anymore. They process the furniture to make it better and then sell it for reduced prices or give it to people who really need it. We try to help companies that are doing good for the community.

Koustuv: The service program is a great way for freshmen and sophomores to get involved. If they don’t have IE experience and haven’t gone on co-op, service program doesn’t need prior experience, so it’s a good way to get that experience. We also do skills development workshops. We do excel workshops every semester, we do a series of 4-6 workshops. It’s mostly twice every week for 3 weeks and you learn advanced excel skills and VBA skills. Excel is crucial to IE majors because we work with a lot of data analysis so learning theses skills help students who are preparing to go on co-op. We also did a Tableau workshop in partnership with NUCC last semester and we’re doing it again this semester. Someone from Tableau will come in and teach it to students. At our first meeting we introduce everything students can take away from our club, like the service program, the mentorship program, these workshops and the skills they can take away and then we talk about lean training. Lean training is one of our biggest events of the semester. Students go through a certification course called Lean Green Belt. Lean and 6 sigma are important for IE majors.

Veer: Those programs are important to many engineers and business majors, really anyone in charge of improving processes, that’s where Lean comes in. 6 sigma is a statistical tool to improve quality and defects. It’s national certification program. It’s a weekend certification course so the national instructor comes in and teaches you. It’s 3 day event, the first day is a few hours, then the next days are full 8 hours then the exam is taken and you get certified. 

IISE members volunteering at the Greater Boston Food Bank

Can you go into further detail about what networking opportunities you have? 

Koustuv: We do a lot of networking in the first month and a half of the semester because that’s when students apply for co-ops. We bring in companies every Monday and they present about opportunities and then students can network. As we proceed through the semester, when most students have co-ops, we focus more on panels like past co-op panels where young alumni or past coops go in and talk about their experiences in their co-op. Students can ask questions before they actually go on co-op. Toward the second half of the semester we focus more on skill development like excel and python workshops. We also work really closely with faculty of the IE department. The academic advisor came in to our first meeting to talk about her role and how she can help and the head of our department, he came in to talk about the new IE dialogues for students. 

Veer: We’ve made a shift toward having IE dialogue’s and study abroads. We have a summer 1 and 2 dialogue for IE students who can take two IE classes and we also have full semester IE study abroad opportunities. This wasn’t something we used to be a part of. We try to hold once a month meetings as a club with the faculty where we bring up topics and ideas our general body wants us to implement in department. Every department could use a change or improvement and every year we’ve had fresh ideas from new IE students coming in. We take pride in this case where summer 1 2019 was the first time we had a dialogue for IE specifically. This was because of our efforts from prior years where we pushed for it really hard. In the past IE students who wanted to go on a dialogue had to take random electives that did not go toward their major. Now we have that opportunity. We really take pride in this, we as students really made a big push for it and the department finally agreed. Now we have two dialogues in summer 1 and 2, summer 1 is in Taiwan and and 2 is in Beijing. 

Koustuv: We work as a liaison between IE students and faculty. We also have the IE town hall every semester. All the faculty comes in to present about new classes they’re introducing and they take recommendations and suggestions from students about what should be changed and what’s going well. 

Veer: From this town hall we actually got two new concentrations and minors in the past few semesters. The minor for undergrads is health care systems engineering and the same was applied for masters in IE. They also added concentrations in health care systems. Before we only had IE straight up before with no concentration but because of this town hall we have kids who want to bring in change. We have direct interaction with the faculty in a professional setting.  

Students at IISE’s IE Involvement Night

Do you meet regularly? If so, when?

Veer: Mondays 6-7pm in 108 WVG. 

Where can students keep up with you on social media?

Veer: We have a website which is iise.org, our Instagram is iise_neu, and Facebook is @NortheasternISE 

Koustuv: We also have a LinkedIn page, IISE Northeastern University 

What is your favorite IISE event you’ve been a part of?

Veer: My freshman year I was a student lead in the service learning program, and we implemented Lean tools in the Engineers Without Borders program on campus. Their office was a mess and as IE majors we also work on facility layout and improving what the current state of a process or a building is. So just having tangible experience before I even formally became an IE major was really cool. As I said I came in as chemical engineering major and didn’t know what IE was. I ended up doing this project and really just liked the major. 

Koustuv: For me value community a lot, despite the fact that it’s a professional organization, it helps build the IE community and helps underclassmen meet upperclassmen and vice versa. It provides a way for IE majors of different years to interact. So because of that my favorite event is the stuff a husky event. As a destresser we get huskies and we stuff those together in our club room as a meeting. 

Veer: The interaction between upper and underclassmen isn’t just exclusive to the mentorship program. We often end up finding people who end up best friends that are not in the same year just because we host events that allow them to interact.