Stanford Engineering

Our History

In December 1999, the Board of Trustees, Stanford University authorized the creation of the Department of Management Science and Engineering from the Department of Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management and the Department of Engineering-Economic Systems and Operations Research. The objective of the newly formed department was to become the leader among academic departments, at the interface of engineering, business, and public policy.

The Stanford department of IE-EM started as an Industrial Engineering department including an Operations Research group. It remained as an IE department following a split in the early sixties of this OR group. Subsequently, an Engineering Management focus was added to the IE department in response, in part, to a growing demand in the Silicon Valley for engineers with management skills. The result was a small (and original) department that covered a larger spectrum of topics and had a stronger emphasis on management than most IE departments in the United Stated. It offered an ABET - accredited undergraduate program and included three main areas of teaching and research (Stanford University, 1999).

For more information about the people who have been a part of our growth, please visit our MSandE History Site.

These groups included:

  • a production group based on OR methods and centered on production operations and manufacturing
  • an organization behavior group based on social sciences focusing on work, technology management and entrepreneurship, and
  • a risk analysis group focusing on probabilistic risk analysis and risk management for critical engineered systems, projects and programs.

In addition, the IE-EM department ran several successful summer executive education programs (for example with the American Electronics Association) and broadcast some of its courses through the Stanford Instructional Television Network (SITN). These courses allowed distance learning for companies that subscribe to SITN services, in real time in the Silicon Valley and with some delay for companies elsewhere in the United States.

The EES&OR department was born in 1996 from an earlier merger between the departments of Engineering-Economic Systems (EES) and Operations Research (OR). As mentioned earlier, the OR department was created in the early 1960’s by a group of faculty members out of the existing Industrial Engineering department. The EES department was created in the late sixties to apply methods of systems and economic analysis to engineering problems involving policy and decision making, both in government and industry. The EES&OR department covered a large variety of topics of research and teaching (Stanford University, 1998): optimization (numerical optimization, stochastic optimization, network optimization, lattice programming), probability and stochastic processes, systems and simulation, economics, finance and investments, decisions (decisions analysis and dynamic programming), operations and services, strategy and policy. It ran successful executive education programs in theory of investments and in the use of spreadsheets for the solution of OR problems, an Affiliates program, and included an Energy Modeling Forum as well as a Decisions and Ethics Center.

As of 1996 the Stanford School of Engineering included three departments, now reduced to two, whose vocation was essentially the management of technological enterprises and systems, both by industry or by government. It seemed therefore that there were opportunities for synergies and that a merger made sense. A first merger, which occurred in 1996, involved the departments of EES and OR. During the academic year 1998-1999, the Dean of Engineering decided to create a new department that the faculty from IE-EM and EES&OR were given the opportunity to join, which they all eventually did.

Stanford University thus created a new department in its School of Engineering that was de facto the result of a merger of the existing departments of IE-EM and EES&OR. The faculty members of this new department chose and ratified by an approval rate of more than 90% the name: “Management Science and Engineering” (MS&E).

The department now covers eight core areas of research :

  • Decision Analysis and Risk Analysis
  • Economics and Finance
  • Information Science and Technology
  • Systems Modeling and Optimization
  • Organizations, Technology and Entrepreneurship
  • Probability and Stochastic Systems
  • Production and Operations Management
  • Strategy and Policy

(Read More...)