In September 2018, Worcester Polytechnic Institute opened the Foisie Innovation Studio and Messenger Hall, a 78,000-square-foot facility that they want to be the “front door to innovation.”
The $49 million facility is evidence of the school’s dedication to promoting an education where students learn by doing, and what better way to learn, than by creating.
The space includes the Myles McDonough Maker Space and Fitzgerald Prototyping Lab, with all the resources for an accidental discovery to happen, turning a mistake into a solution for a problem that may have yet to even happen. Here, students can use state-of-the-art equipment such as a rapid prototype 3D printer and experiment with their imaginations under guidance.
Other unique aspects of the area include the new Aberdale Active Learning Classrooms that will work best for the school’s Great Problems Seminar, where students can work in teams and collaborate, and faculty can move around the room as they teach, and the Noiles Teaching Laboratory, the world turns into a tech and robotic playhouse, as well as a two-story video feature wall, and a Global Lab with Scherer Video Recording Suite.
In February 2018, an interdisciplinary team of researchers from Worcester Polytechnic Institute received a four-year, $1.6 million award from the National Institute of Health to develop a smartphone app that tracks and assesses chronic wounds to help lower costs of medical treatment and prevent serious complications. The team is led by a professor of computer science from the institute’s Mobile Graphics Research Group, and members include two professors from Foisie Business School and a retired electrical and computer engineering professor. At Foisie, hands-on learning extends even to the educators, who also lead by doing.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute is a private research university in Worcester, Massachusetts, that is best known for its engineering program and achievements. The four-year undergraduate business program at Foisie Business School received 357 applications and admitted a total of 129 students, giving them an acceptance rate of 36 percent for direct applicants. The acceptance rate for transfers entering the undergraduate business program is 25 percent.
Of the 70 percent of incoming Fall 2018 students who reported their SAT scores, the average SAT score was 1,395, and of the 25 percent of students who submitted their ACT scores, the average score was 30. The average high school GPA of the incoming Fall 2018 class was 3.89.
The school estimates that the total four-year-cost of attending, including tuition and fees, is $185,634, while additional expenses such as food, lodging, transportation, and supplies, are likely to add another $63,246. About 98 percent of incoming Fall 2018 business students received scholarship support once they were accepted to the business school in the average amount of $23,700.
In a survey of Foisie alumni from the Class of 2016, about 30 percent said that their business degree was worth its cost in tuition and 80 percent said they would recommend the program at Foisie to a close friend or colleague.
“Foisie Business School lives at the intersection of technology and business with an emphasis on innovation and entrepreneurship in the technology sector,” Norman Wilkinson, Executive Director of Programs, shared with Poets&Quants. “We develop innovative leaders who can see opportunity, harness technology, and drive change to solve complex human problems.”
MULTIPLE ENGINEERING PROGRAMS OFFERED IN THE B-SCHOOL
Undergraduate business students at Foisie can choose to major in Industrial Engineering, Business, Management Engineering, and Management Information Systems.
For students majoring in Business, Management Engineering, and Management Information Systems, their list of required core business courses includes classes in economics, leadership practice, risk analysis, data analysis, innovation, operations, and strategy.
Students majoring in Industrial Engineering take required core business courses including engineering economics, simulation modeling and analysis, quality planning, design & control, engineering optimizing, mathematical methods for decision making, scripting for process and productivity improvement, object-design design concepts, and materials management in supply chain.
Students majoring in Business can choose a concentration in Financial Technology, Business Analytics, Innovation for Social Change, or General Business.
The student to academic advisor ratio at Foisie is 7 to 1, with students getting all the attention they need in order to thrive. The school shared that 43 of the courses offered include significant applied experiential learning, and 100 percent of the graduating Class of 2018 were engaged in a consulting project with an external organization.
The school’s signature project-based approach to undergraduate education is known as the WPI Plan, which has led the school to have seven-week terms instead of semesters, allowing students to take three courses per term so they can engage more in cooperative, open-ended project work.
WPI has also eliminated failing grades to encourage students to focus on learning, teamwork, and collaboration, across disciplines, and even with people they don’t know. They believe that the experiences will be more valuable than your fear of failing. Rather than teaching students and then giving them opportunities to practice what they’ve learned, they believe that students should learn through exploration with unstructured problems, and the first experience students get with this is the Great Problems Seminar. The progress culminates in a Capstone project that students can do, or a Major Qualifying Project, often done in the senior year in partnership with corporate sponsors.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute also believes that even business people need to be exposed to history, philosophy, art, music, and language, hence the Humanities & Arts Requirement, where students must take at least six liberal arts courses.
Upon entering Foisie, students can choose to complete the Great Problems Seminar, which is a two-term course where first-year students delve into university-level research on great problems that the world is facing. Touching on topics such as shelter, food, water, natural disasters, pollution, education and more, students work in teams to come up with innovative possibilities.
WPI FINISHED EIGHTH IN THIS YEAR’S CAREER OUTCOMES CATEGORY
Through the institute, students at Foisie can choose from over 40 international project centers in over 25 countries available for study abroad experiences. They are extremely proud of the fact that 100 percent of students receive a Global Project Scholarship, as of the Class of 2022, and the program was ranked among the Top 10 Most Popular Study Abroad Programs by The Princeton Review in 2017 – 18. To add to that, the school was also ranked No. 1 School for a Scientist to Study Abroad by Popular Mechanics in 2017. The institute has project centers in Namibia, Paraguay, Greece, Costa Rica, and New Zealand, where students have done projects researching endangered dolphins, the ways technology can improve education in rural schools, financial crisis and unemployment, and many others. And whether you’re interested in Germany, Australia, Armenia, or England, Worcester is prepared to make that opportunity available to you.
The school shared that 80 percent of students have a global experience before graduation, and the majority of alumni of the Class of 2016 said that they had a “great experience.”
A recent alumnus also shared that she had the opportunity to travel to Beijing, China to work with Pacific Can to improve their drying process. “I was able to work side by side with their engineers, and present to the companies leadership team,” the alumnus who now works as a Senior Process Improvement Analyst, said. “This real-world business experience I believe helped distinguish myself from other candidates in interviews, and helped prepare me for the current analysis work I do at GrubHub.”
About 85 percent of undergraduate business students in the Class of 2017 and 2018 did at least one business-specific internship before graduating, and 81 percent of students from the Class of 2017 found full-time employment within months of graduation. They received an average salary of $69,930, and 41 percent of them received an average signing bonus of $7,333.
The school’s list of top employers for the Class of 2017 includes UnitedHealth Group, Pratt & Whitney, General Electric, PepsiCo, BAE Systems, CA Technologies, MilliporeSigma, and The TJX Companies.