The Department of Industrial Engineering and Management at Riga Technical University provides students with opportunities that enhance excellence in education, research, and innovation— helping to create a clear path to fully manifest their potential.
Through an innovative and rigorous curriculum that bridges both disciplines and is balanced with practical, hands-on activities in real-world engineering environments, the department educates future leaders and fosters a strong community among faculty, staff, students, and alumni.
In the following interview with Dr.oec., Professor Tatjana Tambovceva, she outlines the ways that RTU is committed to providing an educational experience that inspires students to reach for the highest levels of intellectual attainment and make lasting contributions to the advancement of knowledge and the creative practice of engineering. She also looks ahead to the changing face of industrial engineering management both at RTU and globally.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My first education was in Information Technology (bachelor’s, master’s, and not finished PhD), and my second education is in Economics and Management (bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD).
I have my own company in the IT industry: maintenance of computers, programming etc. I am also working with many industrial/production companies.
In terms of research interests, I have many, including sustainability, circular economy, sustainable production and consumption, project management, construction processes, IT, and digitalization.
What sets RTU’s industrial engineering and management program apart from others?
The study program “Industrial Engineering and Management” is quite unique—it was established in 1998 within the framework of the international Nordic-Baltic network of technical universities BALTECH (now NORDTEK), with the aim of providing graduates in engineering and natural sciences with an opportunity to deepen their professional knowledge, and, at the same time, develop managerial competencies, providing a complex understanding of engineering systems and their management.
The program curriculum provides an interdisciplinary approach and student-centered education, providing students with in-depth knowledge in industrial engineering and management. Within the framework of the program, the students acquire knowledge of industrial systems and management processes in companies during the previous study period in the different fields of engineering sciences.
The aims of the program are to create and develop students’ competence in industrial engineering and management, to develop professional, creative and research skills by preparing socially responsible interdisciplinary professionals capable of providing integrated and effective systems management in a variety of industries, as well as value-added research.
What are some highlights of RTU’s industrial engineering management program (research, awards, etc.)?
Within the program, there are opportunities for students to expand their knowledge in the participating universities of NORDTEK (Tallinn University of Technology (Estonia), Riga Technical University (Latvia), Kaunas University of Technology (Lithuania), Vilnius Gediminas Technical University (Lithuania), Linkoping University (Sweden), Lund University (Sweden) and the Royal Institute of Technology (Sweden), thus ensuring a high level of study quality and allowing them to participate in inter-university mobility.
It is also possible for students to apply for the mobility grants and participate in the Erasmus+ mobility for study and internship.
Engineering isn’t just a technical profession; especially industrial, where creative solutions are used to solve often long-term challenges that change lives for the better.
Can you share any personal anecdotes or experiences that show what makes industrial engineering a rewarding profession?
There’s a joke: “The engineer, who could not draw an evacuation plan for a long time, ended up stupidly setting fire to the building and began to watch where people would climb down from.”
How does the RTU industrial engineering management program prepare students for successful careers?
Industrial engineers help businesses improve their production methods to increase efficiency and reduce operational costs. This profession has many benefits, such as the ability to solve problems and work in a range of industries. Industrial engineers have extensive training in various areas, such as industrial equipment and computer programs, to do their jobs effectively.
We have few professionals coming from the industry and presenting the last tendencies from the field. Our study curriculum is drawn from different field of studies: Computer Science, Power and Electrical Engineering, Business Management and Administration, Quality Management, and Economics.
What are some common career paths for RTU industrial engineering management program graduates?
An industrial engineer designs, develops and implements systems to integrate the various parts of a production process, such as machines and materials. Industrial engineers can work in many industries, such as manufacturing, health care, research and development, technology, finance and transportation, aerospace, etc.
As an industrial engineer, you can also pursue jobs in industries that align with your interests, passions, and career goals. Industrial engineers can often advance to higher positions in their careers because of their wide range of skills and knowledge of operational procedures. For example, industrial engineers often transition into management positions, such as an operations manager, logistics manager or quality control manager. Others become plant supervisors who oversee other engineers and technicians. Some industrial engineers decide to become faculty members at colleges or universities and teach students about industrial engineering concepts and the future of the field.
Is there anything that students should know to succeed in the program?
- Industrial engineers work in every sector.
- Combine technical skills with business knowledge.
- Understand ‘big data.’
- Focus on processes.
What do you think are some of the most exciting industrial engineering developments that could happen in the next 10 years?
Industrial engineers can employ artificial intelligence in a wide range of products and systems that respond autonomously to their environment or to verbal commands; the use of robots and manufacturing equipment will allow these professionals to use their time more efficiently and achieve greater productivity.
For example, cars that drive and park themselves and voice-operated devices that can control lighting, music, drone designers. 3D printing use for various purposes, such as 3D-printed organs, cost-effective ways to manufacture parts for projects, including everything from components for cars and airplanes to the basic structure of “printed” homes. Industrial technology can even help combat climate change issues by using, for example, sidewalks that generate power based on pressure from foot traffic.
How would you describe RTU in five words or less?
“Innovations, sustainability, progressive, scientific university.”
RTU Industrial Engineering and Management students are prepared for life in an era when human well-being depends more than ever before on the ability to apply technology for the benefit of society. Equipped with the thinking needed to become the engineering leaders of tomorrow, RTU graduates are ready to solve grand challenges in fields ranging from transportation and supply chains, to healthcare, energy, robotics, finance and risk management. Click here to learn more about RTU Industrial Engineering Management.