Comparing Management Engineering to Industrial Engineering

What is the difference between Management Engineering and Industrial Engineering?

The term "industrial engineering" was coined almost 100 years ago when engineers began to develop techniques to improve production systems in factories. According to the Institute for Industrial and Systems Engineers, industrial engineers design processes and systems that improve quality and productivity by eliminating waste of time, money, materials, energy, or other commodities. 

There are some similarities between management and industrial engineering programs, including a significant overlap in the type of courses that students in the two programs take. In fact, management engineering could be considered a contemporary industrial engineering program. The management engineering curriculum has a large overlap with many industrial engineering programs at other universities.

So then, what IS the difference between Management Engineering at the University of Waterloo and Industrial Engineering programs at other Universities?

There are 2 main differences:

  1. Where industrial engineering has traditionally focussed on the application of engineering methods to the improvement of manufacturing and industry-related processes, management engineering broadens that focus to include other domains such as finance, business intelligence, health care and information management.
  2. Industrial Engineering programs vary in the extent to which they integrate information/software systems design in their curricula. Waterloo’s Management Engineering program has a very strong information/software systems component, with perhaps the largest concentration of such courses than most Industrial Engineering programs in Canada. For more information on this component, please visit our page comparing Management Engineering to Software Engineering.

Can Management Engineers work as industrial engineers on co-op or in their full-time jobs after graduation?

Yes! You will find many Management Engineering graduates work as industrial or manufacturing engineers. They also occupy other related roles that have traditionally been the domain of industrial engineers, such as supply chain analyst.  

Find out more about Management Engineering careers.