Iowa State industrial engineering senior and first-year MBA student combines her two passions

Meghan Heavener, first-year MBA student and senior in Industrial Engineering at Iowa State University, is combining engineering with business to achieve her goals. 

The MBA program only added one year to her degree program, but she hopes that it will add a lot more to her skillset. 

“I realized that I was interested in learning more about business and how the things I learned in industrial engineering can be used in collaboration with business to make a positive impact on the company’s bottom line,” Heavener said. 

 

Combining degrees for a unique goal 

Heavener aims to be in a management role after a few years of work, particularly dealing with complex supply-chains which require a higher level of engineering and business involvement. 

According to Heavener, a good manager is well-rounded with technical, financial, accounting and supply chain knowledge, as well as the ability to guide engineers and resources properly. 

“As a future well-rounded manager, I’ll be able to use my expertise to properly prioritize company focuses to have the most impact on their bottom lines using what I’m learning as a concurrent MBA student,” Heavener said. 

Heavener’s current career goal is to get involved in business consulting someday, which will use her engineering expertise to solve problems while exploring business concepts and solutions. 

“I think there are many career avenues that engineering, problem-solving and business knowledge can help you with,” Heavener said. “I’m planning to use my MBA to branch out and see what other areas I can combine both degrees to excel in.” 

 

Gaining experience to jumpstart aspirations 

To that end, Heavener interned in manufacturing engineering at Altec Industries last spring and summer in St. Joseph, Missouri. 

In that position, Heavener worked on resolving production floor issues and reallocating resources. In addition, she worked on quality and 5S projects, including the creation of a hood to collect dust from maintenance cleaning of three laser chillers and prevent the dust from blowing into the factory. 

Heavener found this position at the engineering career fair and loved the culture they promoted. 

Heavener led four weeklong projects, called RCI events, for her first internship in which the teams would focus on one manufacturing problem and find solutions to resolve them and reduce waste. 

“I learned a lot about teamwork and leading a team,” Heavener said. “It was my first position where I got experience in motivating a team to do work that might not be easy.” 

 

Transferring to Iowa State 

As a transfer student from another university, Heavener appreciates the welcoming culture of Iowa State University. 

“Iowa State has a culture of wanting to help you,” Heavener said. “Here, I feel like my teachers are wanting to help me and wanting me to learn, rather than trying to weed me out.” 

On campus, Heavener is currently a peer mentor for the IDEAL transfer learning community, running Engineering 101 for transfer students and study hours, and an ambassador of the MBA program and the industrial engineering department, setting up presentations to promote the programs to prospective students. 

“The Engineering Department is an accepting and encouraging environment, even though I transferred here as a junior,” Heavener said. “A lot of times, people might feel set back as a transfer student, but getting involved and being welcomed at Iowa State eliminated that problem for me.

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