With Foxconn arrival, state universities try to build the bridge between engineering and business
It’s no secret that engineering has been touted as one of the most in-demand fields. Now, engineering schools throughout the UW System have another reason to expand their programs—Foxconn.
In July, it was announced that Foxconn, a Taiwanese electronics manufacturer, would invest $10 billion into Wisconsin’s economy to build a new plant in the southeastern part of the state. Company officials said it could create up to 13,000 jobs.
After the announcement, several institutions began making pitches to Foxconn for funding in exchange for curriculum designed to produce engineers for the company. One of them was UW-Madison.
Dean Ian Robertson of the College of Engineering said industry partners and recruiters want engineers with business skills. At other university programs, business and engineering students take a set of common courses together, he said. As part of the program, students usually participate in a full-year senior design project, allowing for better communication skills.
“The results from programs at other institutions [are] very positive, more job offers for both groups of students, higher starting salaries, and faster promotion,” Robertson said in an email. “This is the type of course I would like to see us develop at UW-Madison.”
Currently, the UW-Madison School of Business offers programs for non-business majors, but Robertson said he thinks there could be more offered for engineering students.
While he said business school Dean Anne Massey is also interested in forging stronger ties with engineering, the two still have to meet.