Moving from Chemical Engineering Concepts to Management Fundamentals

Chenected_American Institute of Chemical Engineers

It’s been common advice many times during my studies to reduce technical detail in presentations, as management personal do not understand them. That made me think, are management concepts really so different from our chemical engineering fundamentals, and are they so difficult to understand or include in our thinking process?

Well, I have found things to be quite the opposite. Putting aside communication and other soft skills, the majority of hardcore management fundamentals are very easy to understand. In chemical engineering, we study a logical approach of problem solving aided by a solid foundation of mathematics. So, when I decided to move towards management to become an interdisciplinary professional, thereby bridging the gap between technology and management, this knowledge was very helpful. Many of the theoretical concepts of business management can be compared to chemical engineering fundamentals, which makes it easy to understand them.

Relating chemical engineering concepts to management

If you’re asking how,take the example of chemical engineering thermodynamics. This subject was always of particular interest to me since the fundamental aspect of this course lie in measuring various properties in two different states, making it difficult to grasp what the absolute state is. All the formulas are driven by this theme. While pursuing management studies, I have found that understanding economics is same as working in thermodynamics. Economics is a major subject of any management education, and there are a lot of ways to relate it to chemical engineering thermodynamics, which I will explain in a future post.

Process design can also help us understand organizational analysis, if we only twist our thinking a bit. A good researcher knows the need for a literature survey, and this is, in fact, something very similar to marketing research.

And I can’t leave out how the variables we have listed in mathematical modeling can come in handy to solve business world puzzles that have more than one variable involved at each stage.

There are many ways in which we can use our chemical engineering knowledge to understand the not-so-difficult fundamentals of management in an easier way. I have tried to use this thinking as part of my ‘Envisioning 21st Century Global Manager’ project and in the next posts, I will share some of my observations that help relate chemical engineering and management education. So stay tuned!
(Appeared in Chenected: The American Institute of Chemical Engineers on 18-06-2015)

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