Your freshmen year of college can be rough, and being in the very first cohort of a brand-new major is both intimidating and exciting. Of course, I am not the only one in the first Integrated Business and Engineering (IBE) class. There is a group of us that are able to help each other out. It feels great to be supported by my peers and professors, knowing that we all have each other’s best interests in mind.
You may wonder what drew me to this specific major. I have always had a passion for STEM and was heavily involved with my robotics team in middle and high school. Back then, I had the opportunity to implement an outreach program for younger students to spark within them an interest in STEM. I led workshops throughout the community to introduce STEM to children in a fun way that they would understand. Additionally, as the Business VP of my team, I have gained firsthand experience in grant writing, fundraising, marketing, strategy development, and enhancing my public speaking skills. This helped me learn how to market a team and gain business skills from an engineering standpoint. When it came time to choose a major, I didn’t want to take only business or engineering -- I wanted to feed both of my passions at the same time. That is when I decided to enroll in IBE.
I am still figuring out which concentration I will choose. I have a lot of passions and I’m trying to work out which one feels the most right for me. Data Analytics, Marketing, and Entrepreneurship are some of the options I am thinking about for the future. One of my most memorable classes so far taught how to think like a manager and how you would solve engineering problems within a business. This class helped me visualize what my career could possibly look like in the future. I was also a part of a pilot program for a business case simulation where we made business decisions and analyzed industry market segments to create products and help our startup grow. In the end, I better understood the entrepreneurial mindset and our team was a market leader!
I want to give back to perspective students who are considering applying for this major. That is why I chose to be a part of the Integrated Business and Engineering Student Council (IBESC). It is a group of 10 students working to foster innovation and create a sense of IBE community on campus through the support of our program directors. We provide feedback and a student perspective on what we believe would be beneficial in the curriculum. One example of feedback we provided that will be implemented was to possibly have an introductory course in the Python coding language the summer before students attend Purdue. I took an introduction to the Java program my senior year of high school, which made my life a little easier when taking the college-level introductory courses. I think a summer course would help freshmen have an easier time since they will not need to figure out the classwork and a new computer program at the same time.
Even though I feel that my high school prepared me well for college, there were still some levels of adjustment that had to be made. Going into freshmen year, you learn how to manage your time with studying and completing schoolwork, and some classes were harder than others. Personally, my first engineering class was tough because of the large workload. It was a flipped classroom, which means we learn everything on our own, and then work in teams when the class begins. But once I got the hang of things, I learned how to ask for help and better manage my time for classes that are giving me the most trouble.
But it’s not just all about work -- IBE kids like to have fun as well. As I mentioned before, being a part of the IBESC means that we relay student concerns to the school. But we also plan social events to bring the students together. Recently, we planned and executed our biggest event of the year, the IBE spring formal, as a last celebration of working hard this year. Since there aren’t that many in our major right now, we want to create events that can bring everyone together. It can be scary starting college, especially in a new major, but being a student also means having fun, especially at Purdue.