Professional World Meets Classroom

By Matt Hawkins
January 14, 2014

Five Bradley students mingled with Caterpillar employees and community members during a week of Lean Six Sigma training. The experience was the first training offered through a partnership between Caterpillar and the Foster College of Business.

Students received three credits for the course, which introduced them to training common in the business world.

“We wanted to give students a more hands-on experience interacting with professionals in the area,” said Management and Leadership department chair Dr. Ross Fink. “A lot of businesses are using Six Sigma in the area, so why not get them in the room with professionals so students can interact with them?”

Students took advantage of the opportunity to learn from the network of professionals that also included Caterpillar suppliers, dealers and community members.

“This is beyond valuable,” said senior industrial engineering major Leah Anderson. “You see real world applications. They bring in ideas from projects they’re working on. There are years and years of experience in here that we don’t get in the classroom.”

Dan Anderson, a senior industrial engineering major, appreciated the Caterpillar expertise.

“To be able to be taught by Caterpillar is quite beneficial,” he said. “With the things we’re learning as industrial engineers, this is very relevant. It’s something we’re getting a lot of benefit from.”

After completing the course, students will receive Six Sigma Green Belt recognition. Green Belts are the second of four certifications in the training process, with Black Belts and Master Black Belts the final steps.

Though geared toward business and industrial professions, Six Sigma can be applied across disciplines.

“No matter what course I’m taking, Six Sigma is applicable,” Leah Anderson said. “It’s basically what industrial engineering is: efficiency and quality, improving processes.”