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Alumnus Karel about IEM

My journey with Fontys Industrial Engineering and Management started in the late summer 2014. I arrived just a day before the school year started, and everything was new and exciting to me. I was surprised by the diversity among my classmates, many of countries I have never been to. I was welcomed with friendliness by the teachers and the staff of the study in what I now remember as our department. It was that one floor where all the teachers were, but also where all the students of our study worked on projects.

"During the years, I picked up knowledge from many spheres of industrial engineering, some more technical, and some softer."

The first year was packed with four different projects, where the first one focused on redesigning of a specific product, in my case a coffee machine. In the second project, we looked into planning and efficiency of a production facility. Later, we investigated customer needs and developed a bicycle model to match these needs. Finally, we learned more about organization and human aspect of business in a project focused on change management. During the years, I picked up knowledge from many spheres of industrial engineering, some more technical, and some softer. Working from day one in a project group started my development in teamwork, leadership and communication.

In the second year, the course went into higher gear by challenging us with two real life projects, which we even had to find ourselves. Our first project was at Philips Healthcare, where we looked into issues with outdated inventory and its related processes. In the second project we conducted qualitative research with ASML and United Brains, where we helped interviewing more than a dozen of experts from different companies about future knowledge sharing platforms. Both of these projects gave us first glance into real-world companies, as we often visited the offices, warehouses or production facilities to conduct our project. Also, we were no longer in the confines of the school, we engaged with professionals and experts, which taught us how to be more responsible and be the judge of our own work.

"Aside from learning to apply my knowledge from school in practice, I had a blast exploring the culture and nature of Suriname."

The third year had something for me I have been looking forward for a long time. I managed to arrange an internship at a paint factory in Suriname! I was very excited to go to South America, to explore new places while furthering my education and expertise in practice. My project was focused on mapping and standardizing processes within the factory, such as order approval, inventory deficiencies management, or production planning. Aside from learning to apply my knowledge from school in practice, I had a blast exploring the culture and nature of Suriname. Numerous times I went with an expedition group exploring remote places in the jungle and spotting wildlife like I have never imagined before. The memories I have from these times are one of the best I carry from the study of Industrial Engineering and Management.

For the second half of the third year, I was selected to do an exchange in Osaka in Japan, however after already spending half year abroad, I decided to pursue something that I felt even more passionate about. I chose a minor called Global Development Issues at Fontys Tilburg, and without realizing it, this determined where I was heading to in the future. I learned about various social and environmental issues around the world, and from that moment on, I knew I was going pursue sustainability wherever would my study take me to.

The fourth and last year came faster than I expected, and it begin with a group project at Inalfa Roof Systems, an automotive industry supplier for roof window systems. We have been brought into this company to investigate and advice the company, how to systematically implement their lean six sigma practices. We did this qualitative research by interviewing heads of operations, finances, HR, project development and many more upper-tier stakeholders. We concluded with a benchmark and obstacles that hindered lean six sigma implementation at Inalfa. It was another project that gave us even deeper understanding in how big companies work, and that often times people within a company have very different understanding and ideas about what the company should do and which direction it should go.

"I ended up creating a team to improve performance of one specific machine, and we also managed to reach our goal."

For my graduation internship in the last half year of my fourth year, I was lucky enough to be accepted by Heineken in Zoeterwoude. I did not manage to acquire an internship in the topic of sustainability, nonetheless graduating at a company like Heineken was already thrill at its own. My research focused on improving the line balance of a bottling line, which in simple words means improving the efficiency of a line as a whole by adjusting the speeds of individual machines. During the project, I got the real feeling of how it is to try to achieve something in a large and well-structured company. I had to cooperate with experts from different fields, whether they were line managers, programmers, maintenance engineers, operators or team leaders, and I had great time trying to bring these people together to solve issues. After assessing the whole line, I ended up creating a team to improve performance of one specific machine, and we also managed to reach our goal. Not only have I graduated with an 8, I also secured a follow up job at Heineken, continuing the work I have started there during my internship.

After finishing my Industrial Engineering and Management education, I was grateful for all the opportunity and experience I was given during the study. Before starting, I couldn't have imagined neither all the ups, neither the downs that awaited me, but if I could, I would do it again.

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Ambience photo Fontys

Name: Karel Jenis

Programme: Industrial Engineering and Management

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