Department: Industrial Engineering

As many others, We (Selen and Atakan) decided to study Industrial Engineering without really having lots of information about it. We had heard the name of the department before, but do not know what it is and what We are going to be when we finish it. Because of this, we decided to interview the Head of the department Prof. Dr. M. Arslan Örnek, a current student Bensu Okutur and a graduate student Burcu Çelik.

How many hours in a week do students spend on studying?
Arslan: Students spend about 56 hours studying, taking six courses on average. They spend 16 hours on lectures and 4-6 hours in labs. The rest they need to prepare at home. A simple calculation: 60% is self study and 40% we try to teach them here.
Burcu: I didn’t use to study at home, but I was a great listener in class. Especially in the assistant’s lessons because they used to solve problems and answer questions. Normally, weekly 4-5 hours was enough for the homework.
Bensu: Weekly, I have about 30 lesson hours in university. Then, every day I come home and I study about 2 hours, so 10 hours in a week. Plus 14 to 15 hours in the weekends.

What are the three most important characteristics of a successful industrial engineering student?
Arslan: Students should have self discipline. Otherwise you can’t achieve anything. Next, devotion to study and learn something new. Finally, they should attend the lectures.
Burcu: Firstly, attend classes. Also, English is very important because the lessons are in English. Finally, being able to do team work is important. Studying with friends, is the easiest way to learn. I used to learn better by explaining things to my friend.
Bensu: I am in my third year, and I think you should really listen to what lecturers say in class. If you just study the books or slides, it is not enough because the lecturers add things that are important for them. And those points always come as exam questions!

What is the most important thing that students do not think of when they choose this department?
Arslan: Sometimes students think that we mostly provide soft management courses, but we do not. This is a quantitative department, they need to know mathematics and this can sometimes frustrate students a bit.
Burcu: In computer classes, programming can a problem, unless you are used to programming languages. Also, you have a chance to do projects with private companies. This is beneficial because as a student, you are communicating with CEOs and managers of private companies. Finally, you give presentations in every class so it develops your communication and presentation skills.
Bensu: There is a lot of mathematics, but I think you might expect that.

What is the biggest misconception that students have about studying industrial engineering?
Burcu: The most shocking can be that an industrial engineer can work in nearly every area. Also, people think that industrial engineering is easy, but that is not true. Industrial engineering is very social.
Bensu: There is a lot of maths in industrial engineering, but it is not a very technical study. We mostly learn how to optimize, how to manage, and how to organize stuff. So, it is not as technical as in the other universities or like in mechanical engineering.

As an industrial engineering student, what is the best second language?
Arslan: There is no second best language. English is good enough for the profession. Learning a second language is just a choice.
Burcu: Absolutely German. Already, the engineering departments’ course schedule is arranged according to the German lessons, so after your main course lessons, the German lessons start. If you choose Japanese, there will be a 6-hour gap .
Bensu: I think you should choose your second language according to your passion. For example, my second language is Spanish and I am really happy with it.

In your opinion, what is the best place to do an internship? Inside Turkey or outside Turkey?
Arslan: If you can see how the techniques and methods that you learnt here theoretically are applied in practice, then that is the best place. You do not need to go abroad to learn something.
Burcu: Do an internship at an international company inside Turkey. It may provide you with a job at that company after you graduate. The reason for doing an internship abroad is to learn about different cultures.
Bensu: Inside Turkey, especially in Izmir, there are a lot of international big companies, so I think you can use these opportunities. However, all my lecturers emphasize that is important to get experience abroad either with an internship or Erasmus.

Do you think it is advisable to do a double major?
Arslan: I would strongly suggest computer or software engineering if you want to do a double major in engineering or if you want to work with manufacturing later in your career. However, finance and logistics could also be good choices.
Burcu: You have to take courses in two departments and the summer school and it is a very intensive. If you want to do it, I think a lateral major is the best choice. So, not software and industrial engineering but industrial engineering and business administration. However, I would put my energy in learning an extra language which is much more important for your career.
Bensu: Especially in industrial engineering you should use this opportunity. It is as if you are studying at two universities.