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Industrial management, as a field of business administration, studies the structure and organization of industrial companies. It comprises those fields of business administration that are necessary for the success of companies within the manufacturing sector and the encompassing services (primarily operations management, marketing, and financial management).
Term industrial company
The term industrial company is generally applied to a manufacturing firm that – contrary to a crafts business – produces consumer durables in factories from raw materials in mass and serial production (division of labour) using modern manufacturing machines.
History of industrial management
The precursor of the study field industrial management was factory management. It had a strong similarity with technical management and was geared towards the engineering fields. Parallel to this, there was also a factory management that was more in the area of business economics. This dealt with the organizational questions of factory and office administration as well as financial accounting, e.g. the factory bookkeeping and late also management accounting.
The term and the contents of present-day industrial management were strongly influenced by the establishment of MIT School of Industrial Management in 1952 (renamed the Sloan School of Management in 1964 after its benefactor, Alfred P. Sloan, Jr., MIT graduate and then-chairman of General Motors). MIT School of Industrial Management set itself the goal of educating the "ideal manager" through this (post)graduate management program.
Course of studies
Graduate programs in industrial management draw on Sloan’s idea and provide engineers with a strategic management education with a focus on production management, marketing, financial management, human resources as well as commercial law – supplemented by corporate governance, corporate social responsibility and sustainability topics. The primary goal is to enable students and professionals to take a holistic approach to industry management.
Most graduate studies in industrial management are full-time MBA degree programs that, in addition to a preferably engineering bachelor’s degree, also require several years of professional experience. In general, students spend the first year of their degree acquiring both a working knowledge of management functions and the analytical skills needed to practice them. After the second year, students usually seek internships and pursue elective courses, which often go towards a specialization in their master’s thesis.
Study programs in industrial management are very popular in economies with a high value of manufacturing output, such as the United States and Germany. Especially German research universities incorporate a large number of advanced courses in engineering in their graduate program in industrial management and are, thus, more like M.Eng.- programs. On the other hand, U.S. universities and universities of applied sciences in Germany offer MBA programs in industrial management that follow more the original idea of Sloan and emphasize hands-on application of theory.