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This summer a record 60 graduate students from Tufts Gordon Institute’s M.S. in Engineering Management (MSEM) program consulted for a variety of local New England-based companies. Sponsoring companies for this year’s practicum project included E Ink Corporation, Illume Software, Inc, Parkland Medical Center, VA Medical Center and WGBH.

MSEM curriculum requirements include the completion of a practicum project between students’ first and second year of study. The project aims to provide students with real-world experience while being given the opportunity to address business challenges in new work environments. Professor of the Practice and organizer of the practicum projects Charlie Rabie noted, “Our MSEM students on average have seven years of experience so they are provide the sponsoring companies with high-level strategic input and results. As working professionals, the students are well-versed in a multitude of industries including defense, biotechnology, pharmaceutical, electronics and information technology.”

Ranging in topic and scope, this year’s projects included: building an affiliated WGBH Massachusetts Teacher-Member Program; identifying new market opportunities for E Ink’s electronic ink display technology; improving the efficiency of Parkland Medical Center’s operating room; and conducting consumer and enterprise market research for a mobile software-based solution called iZup (“eyes up”) a mobile software solution designed to prevent distracted drivers from texting, calling or emailing while driving.

Mark Spencer, President of Water Analytics and a practicum sponsor, had a team of students work on improving the efficiency of the company’s workflow and inventory control process. At the end of the project he noted,

“THE VALUE OF THE STUDENT TEAM FINAL PRESENTATION WAS OF THE CALIBER OF A SEASONED CONSULTING FIRM THAT WOULD HAVE CHARGED TENS OF THOUSANDS FOR THE SAME WORK. THE COMMITMENT OF THE TEAM MEMBERS TO OUR SUCCESS WAS UNDERSCORED BY THEIR WILLINGNESS TO ASSIST US IN THE FUTURE.”

Another team sponsor, Dr. Adam Rothschild, CEO of Doctrelo, LLC, a startup company developing electronic health record software for primary care practices, summarized, “The results were excellent, well-reasoned, well-researched and well-communicated. The ideas were fresh and the execution was flawless.”

Students likewise found the project to be beneficial from both a learning and career standpoint. MSEM student Keleigh Sanford who was part of the WGBH team said, “It is rare you are given the opportunity to work in a completely different industry, with a group of individuals from all different backgrounds to address a challenge within a company. The experience has been nothing short of rewarding and I’m excited to see what the second year of the MSEM program brings.”

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