Academically rigorous. Globally respected. Close interaction with faculty. Meaningful out-of-class experiences. Opportunities for leadership and personal development. These are just some of the qualities that make Penn State Behrend stand out. It offers undergraduates and graduates the best of both worlds: a student-friendly college with the academic resources of a major research university.
Its School of Engineering is just as prolific. It is a Top 40 Engineering School (US News and World Report) and for good reasons. It boasts state-of-the-art facilities, award-winning faculty, engineering and engineering technology program offerings, small class sizes, an emphasis on student design and research experiences, and superior internship and job placement, to name a few
The Master of Manufacturing Management (MMM) is one of these rigorous design-oriented programs. Jointly offered by the School of Engineering and the AACSB International-accredited Black School of Business, the MMM is an interdisciplinary graduate program that brings the business and engineering aspects of modern manufacturing together. It is one of only a handful of manufacturing-focused management programs in the country.
The MMM allows student to grow their leadership and organisational-management skills to advance their career in a production environment. Just ask Class of 2007 graduate Chris Schreck.
He was working as a mold engineer when he was promoted to a management position. Schreck considered an MBA to complement his degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology from Penn State Behrend but sought something more to better fit to his technical knowledge.
“I liked that the MMM based on something beyond business, something (engineering) that I was familiar with,” he says.
Comprising of 32 credits, the program lets students explore quality and waste, sustainability, discrete and continuous production and operations, supply chain and logistics, efficiency and reliability, data analytics and industry 4.0. Students understand the fundamentals and theories before moving on to practice and application, where they work in interdisciplinary teams and take on industry-related projects. The curriculum culminates in a two-semester industry-sponsored capstone project and a three-day summer residency that consists of manufacturing plant visits and leadership engagement.
The manufacturing industry highly depends on successful teams. The School of Engineering is more than aware of this. Here, diversity is emphasised — team selections take student backgrounds, work experience, culture and gender into account. These teams undergo extensive training, participate in team-building exercises and benefit from individualised leadership coaching. Underpinning the entire curriculum is the development of a professional development program enabling students to perfect speaking, writing, negotiation, and teamwork skills that will be an asset throughout their entire career. Their communication and leadership skills — both of which are crucial in today’s business environments — are enhanced.
Schreck was quick to apply his MMM at work. “Manufacturing Systems Planning and Control opened my eyes to EOQ, the economic order quantity, and how it can be used to make decisions when purchasing materials,” he says. “I learned the essentials on the business side from Randy Brown, lecturer in management, who helped me better understand net present value, income statements, and how the data can support making sound financial decisions.”
The best part of the MMM? Flexibility. Students attend online classes for the most part. Each semester, they make two, 10-hour weekend campus visits, plus a three-day summer residency for plant visits. They can choose whether to complete the program in one year of full-time study or 22 months of part-time study.
“It can be a challenge for any working adult to pursue a master’s degree, and manufacturing professionals have the additional concerns of scheduling around shift work and inflexible production schedules,” said Dr. Diane Parente, the Samuel A. and Elizabeth B. Breene Professor of Management and co-director of the program. “Converting the program to a combination of online and weekend study makes the benefits of advanced education accessible to a larger number of students.”
Ultimately, at Penn State Behrend, you’ll join a friendly, tight-knit college with excellence beyond its size. Find out how you can achieve the management readiness that business employers are seeking here.