Final Five

with Jared Dunlap, senior consultant, West Monroe Partners

Jared Dunlap received his bachelor's degree from West Virginia University in 2013 and has been a member of IISE since his sophomore year of college. Dunlap was the host committee chair for this year's IISE Annual Conference. As the past president (2016-2017) of IISE's Young Professionals group, Dunlap hopes to create both professional and personal opportunities for members and foster leadership development and network building.

Why did you choose industrial engineering as a field of study?

Not knowing for sure what industry I wanted to pursue after graduation, I was attracted to the flexibility that an industrial engineering degree could offer me in my career. I was able to use a combination of my technical IE skills and business acumen to solve problems regardless of the industry, product, service, et cetera.

How did you apply your IE background in your role as president of the Young Professionals group?

In my role as YP president, I applied structured project management tools to ensure the group was staying on track for any initiatives that we were taking on. Gantt charts were used to track each initiative, overall progress and whether the group had additional capacity to assist IISE in other ways. Like any volunteer position at IISE, I also needed to draw upon my problem- solving skill sets to clearly define a problem or opportunity that the YP group wanted to address and brainstorm solutions that the YP group could assist with.

How has serving as the president of the YP group helped you in your career so far?

I have had several benefits being a part of the Society for Health Systems on my journey from student to my early career. Serving as the president of the YP group provided an opportunity outside of my day-to-day work to hone my project management and people development skill sets. I was able to practice using various tools and techniques in a safe environment that I could later apply to my client work. These experiences have proven to be invaluable in my career and highly thought of by my employer.

What did you learn as an IE from being part of the YP group?

The YP group provided me with a unique opportunity to meet IEs from all over the world working in various industries. Thanks to these opportunities, I've learned about the various roles that IEs play in those industries. Having this background has allowed me to think about my clients' challenges through a different lens. Considering how similar problems are solved in other industries allows me to come up with innovative solutions that address a client's most difficult challenges.

What advice do you have for fresh graduates seeking rapid professional development?

In today's world, everyone wants to progress in their career at a rapid pace. My advice to recent graduates is take your career one day at a time and approach each day with an open mind.There will be many developmental opportunities early on that will help shape who you are and the IE that you will become later in your career. Take advantage of these opportunities to develop your business acumen and strengthen your IE skill sets early.

– Interview by Cassandra Johnson