“The nature of occupations is changing fast as a result of the spread of cyber-physical production systems” says Wim Naudé, MSM’s dean. “Soon, robot trainers, virtual reality experience curators, 3D printing specialists, and synthetic biologists will be among the top jobs.
“Soft skills will remain essential, but hard skills are critical to ensure that managers of today stand a chance to prepare their organizations to remain competitive.”
The masters in management and engineering programs on offer cover five different specialist areas including production systems, electrical power systems, computer-aided mechanical engineering, water and design concepts and structural engineering of industrial facilities.
Each program is split across two historical cities, 30 minutes from each other in the heart of Europe – Maastricht in the Netherlands (school pictured below) and Aachen in Germany. Students get the best of both schools, learning how to turn ideas from engineering science into commercially viable products.
“Students gain an understanding of engineering, immersed in Europe’s leading manufacturing economy, Germany, and an understanding in business from Europe’s most entrepreneurial economy, The Netherlands,” Wim continues.
Maria Spiritto, a current student on the MSM-RWTH master’s in management and engineering in production systems, was drawn by the program’s focus on both hard and soft skills.
“A manager who is capable of leading a team, but is also equipped with a technical background, will find many more career opportunities than one who is strong on only one side” she says.
“The program offered the very unique combination of a strong technical engineering formation and managerial skills as well, all joined into one,” she continues. “This stood out as I wasn’t quite sure if I wanted to specialize completely in one field or the other.
“Studying in the two different cities was also a fun experience. To see the cultural differences between two cities so close, but in different countries, was very intriguing.”
The European Union’s 2012 Industrial Policy emphasized the need for European businesses to improve the skills they have in technical and scientific fields. With economies becoming increasingly digitized, the technical skills gap is widening.
It’s one that Helmut Dinger, managing director of RWTH Aachen (pictured below), is sure graduates from the MSM-RWTH master’s programs can fill.
“Technology in combination with management provides answers to solve the most relevant problems of our society,” he says. “Concerning digitalization, RWTH Aachen is a pace-maker in terms of research and application.
“We have positive feedback from employers on our graduates, and we’re optimizing their successful integration in the jobs market through a rising practical approach and steadily adapting curriculum.”
Maria is aiming high after graduation. “In the short term, I hope to find a good job position in a field related to industrial engineering, production management or supply chain management and gain more professional experience,” she says. “In the long term, I want to create my own start up and make it prosper.”
With the combination of hard and soft skills she’ll gain from the MSM-RWTH collaboration, she's well-placed to do so.