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First Ph.D.s awarded in Future Professors of Manufacturing program

STANFORD -- A summer internship with disk drive manufacturer Seagate Technologies grew into a successful doctoral dissertation project for Jan Van Mieghem, one of the first two students to earn Ph.D.s through Stanford's Future Professors of Manufacturing program.

Working with Seagate's vice president of manufacturing and operations, Van Mieghem undertook a project to develop a custom software decision-support system that would help integrate capacity planning across Seagate's expanding international manufacturing operations. The underlying goal was to help Seagate develop smart equipment acquisition systems and nimble deployment. The result is an information system that can take inputs from a multi-plant, multi-product and multi- level manufacturing enterprise and produce focused information that improves master scheduling and guided resource allocation.

Van Mieghem, whose dissertation is an outgrowth of his work with Seagate, earned his doctorate from the business school Sunday, June 18, just four years after the Graduate School of Business and the School of Engineering created the Future Professors of Manufacturing program. Dave Kazmer, who also entered in the first class in 1992, received his doctorate in mechanical engineering.

The goal of the Future Professors program is to educate 50 faculty members in business and in engineering to lead advanced manufacturing programs in U.S. universities. If the experience of the first two graduates is any indication, the job picture for the new Ph.D.s is apparently rosy. Van Mieghem will teach at the Kellogg School at Northwestern, and Kazmer will join the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Massachusetts.

The effort to increase the amount and quality of manufacturing education is in response to demands from U.S. manufacturing firms looking for cross-trained graduates with both management and engineering skills. Programs like Stanford's dual MBA/MSE degree that integrates design, manufacturing and distribution have expanded the need for faculty with the necessary combination of academic training and experience to lead such programs. A survey of 16 universities that now offer dual MBA/MSE degrees found that 13 programs are anticipating increased enrollment and 12 say they will probably hire new faculty with interests in manufacturing over the next three to five years.

In addition to having the academic skills required to be admitted to Stanford's business or engineering doctoral programs, candidates also must have significant knowledge of industry plus a bachelor's degree in engineering and a master's in either engineering or business. The 15 students now in the doctoral program have an average of seven years of industry experience ranging from manufacturing of computers or automobiles to product design and marketing. Van Mieghem, for instance, worked as a strategic planner for Agfa in Belgium and as a software engineer for Canon before enrolling at Stanford.

Once in the Future Professors program, participants continue their relationships with industry leaders. Andy Hargadon, an engineering doctoral candidate in the program, spent part of last summer at Briggs and Stratton in Milwaukee. There he met with managers involved in the product development process to study the role and requirements of product development in the firm. Hargadon's research interest began when he met Fred Stratton through the Future Professors program. Stratton, MBA '63, is president and chief executive officer of Briggs and Stratton and an industry supporter of the Future Professors program.

The Future Professors program is coordinated with SIMA, the Stanford Integrated Manufacturing Association, which also sponsors Stanford's MSE program in manufacturing systems engineering, the dual MBA/MSE program, the master's program in manufacturing systems engineering, the executive program in manufacturing, manufacturing curriculum development and manufacturing research.


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