'Going Global – International Perspectives on ASEM'

19 Feb 2017 6:00 AM | Anonymous

Report on the International Panel Session at IAC 2016 in Charlotte:

  • Dr. Simon Philbin, Imperial College London, UK and ASEM International Director (contact information is at the end of this article)
  • Dr. Fernando Deschamps, Pontifical Catholic University of Parana & Federal University of Parana, Brazil and President ASEM Brazil Section
  • Mr. Azam Ishaque, Center for Advanced Studies in Engineering, National University of Science & Technology and E Care Vision, Pakistan and President ASEM Pakistan Section
  • Dr. Alberto Sols, Norwegian Institute of Systems Engineering, Norway and ASEM International Committee Member
  • Dr. Steve Wang, University of Alaska Anchorage, USA and ASEM International Committee Member
(1).       Introduction

At the 2016 IAC held in Charlotte and for a second year in a row, an international panel session was held as one of the concurrent sessions.  The panel session included contributions from several panelists who are all involved in the international development of ASEM, including those involved in new international sections and other activities.  The session also included an initial presentation by ASEM’s International Director who provided a summary of a survey carried out in 2015 of ASEM’s international members as well as an overview of the Society’s strategy to improve international engagement. 

The other panelists then provided their own insights on the steps being taken to increase the international reach of the Society.  The panel considered the current challenges as well as opportunities for ASEM in regard to international development and expansion.  Plus, session attendees had the opportunity to contribute their own views on how the Society can pursue a global agenda.  This report provides a summary of the material that was presented during the panel session along with some brief conclusions.

(2).       International Membership Survey

Dr. Philbin discussed a recent survey of international members that was carried out in 2015 and the results of the survey are summarized in Figure 1.  The survey was sent out to 65 international members (this was the international membership level back in March 2015), with 12 completed surveys being returned (a response rate of 18%).  The survey included the following open ended questions:

  • 1.       As an international member, can you please tell us why you originally joined ASEM?
  • 2.       Which ASEM services and products do you find the most useful?
  • 3.       Are there any new services or products that you would like ASEM to offer?
  • 4.       Do you have any suggestions on how ASEM can increase its profile and number of members in your country?
  • 5.       How do you feel ASEM should develop in the future, including its international development?

Figure 1: Summary of results from international membership survey held in 2015.

(3).       ASEM International Strategy

Dr. Philbin then spoke about ASEM’s current international strategy and the focus of the work of the ASEM international committee.  Figure 2 provides a summary of the current ASEM international strategy and the supporting activities.

Figure 2: ASEM international strategy and supporting activities.

The strategy is based on pursuing an integrated set of activities designed to increase the international reach of ASEM and also promote engineering management as a discipline internationally.  This includes developing activities, services and products in regard to international development according to outreach, membership, education/certification, publications and conference attendance.  These activities are supported by setting up new international sections, international certification activities and are also underpinned by the work of the international committee, which meets monthly and includes representatives from USA, UK, Belgium, Brazil, UAE and Norway.  Dr Philbin went on to describe the status of current international activities across a number of areas, which are summarized as follows:

  • ·         Current number of international members: 123 (in October 2016)
  • ·         Number of international attendees of the IAC: 28 (in 2016); 27 (in 2015); 16 (in 2014)
  • ·         International ASEM Sections: 2, Pakistan (set up 2015) and Brazil (set up in 2016)
  • ·         International webinars: 2 in 2016 (from UK and China)
  • ·         International partnerships: Strategic collaboration between ASEM and Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE) and other partnerships are also under consideration
  • ·         Participation in international conferences: CAE International Engineering Management Forum in Guangzhou, China (2015) and CAE International Engineering Management Forum in Xi'an, China (2016)
  • ·         International translation of EMBoK: ASEM Board has approved translation of EMBoK into Chinese and Portuguese (Brazil)

 Dr. Philbin concluded his presentation by outlining recommended areas of international development for ASEM, which are as follows:

 International promotion of Society and IAC: Continued international promotion of society membership and the IAC.

  1. Organisational development: Continue to develop new international sections to follow on from initial sections in Pakistan and Brazil.  New sections to help drive forward growth in membership.
  2. International collaboration and partnerships: Further development of collaboration with Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE).  Pursue other partnerships, where possible.
  3. EM Education and professional development: Support international CKP activities and work towards new business models for international certification (AEM/PEM).

 (4).       International Perspectives

 Brazil Perspective

Dr. Deschamps gave a summary on engineering management in Brazil.  In alignment with ASEM’s strategy for a more significant international presence, Brazil’s ASEM Section was established in January of 2016. Since the beginning, the major concern has been for developing a strong foundation from where to grow and spreading out the word about ASEM. Some actions that were undertaken for addressing these concerns are described next.

  • ·         ASEM was presented to professional engineering institutions (like the Brazilian Association for Production Engineering – ABEPRO) and universities that have engineering programs (undergraduate and graduate). The partnership with ABEPRO is key, because ASEM will benefit from a large number of academics and professionals that work with engineering management in Brazil who are associated with ABEPRO, and ABEPRO will benefit by partnering with an international society that is focused on one of its topic areas.
  • ·         Partnerships with consulting and training companies were also prospected, and will likely result, in the upcoming months, in the offering of training programs more directed to engineering management topics according to ASEM’s view.
  • ·         For enhancing the awareness of ASEM in Brazil, a Web portal was released together with the establishment of social media presence in outlets such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. News and announcements are being routed through these channels and interest has started to grow.
  • ·         Through the help of its members, the Section has started translating the EMBoK into Portuguese. This is considered a key activity for growing the Society, as having a reference in the native language of its audience is a critical element for growing the membership base. Over 30 people are involved in the translation and plans are to release the translation in the first semester of 2017.

For the year of 2017, the ASEM Brazil Section Executive Committee is preparing actions that will further enhance ASEM’s visibility in Brazil. Such actions encompass the realization of two Webinars (one in each semester), the release of a quarterly newsletter with content focused on the Brazilian reality and a certification event for its current and also prospective members.

See the following hyperlink for the ASEM Brazil Section website: http://asembrasil.org/.

Pakistan Perspective

Mr. Ishaque gave a summary on engineering management in Pakistan.  Engineering management is a relatively new field in the world when compared to other engineering and management disciplines.  In Pakistan this field was formally introduced around the year 2000.  A discipline that originally started in one of the universities of Pakistan has now grown to 13 universities all over the country, including 5 universities that are in the top 10 ranking list of Pakistan universities.  Indeed when the first EM program was delivered in Pakistan, the session was run with only 14 students but it has now expanded to more than 20,000 students all across Pakistan.

One of the major causes of this huge growth in the discipline is the fact that the students, who have qualified through taking EM degrees, have performed exceptionally well in industry. Pakistan has a vast and rapidly growing manufacturing and services industry and this industry has been impacted by growth in the neighboring industries of China and India. This growing industry has now developed a continuing and growing need for engineers and engineering management professionals. Due to this need and a lack of supply of graduate engineering managers in the market, Engineering Management and Industrial Management are increasing in prominence and importance in Pakistan. More and more universities are offering these courses and industry is making provision for new jobs for these EM professionals.  Another major reason for growth of the EM discipline is the fact that in the Middle East, there are a large number of mega-projects that have commenced and the main requirement for many jobs on these projects is often for engineers to have an EM degree. Consequently, Pakistan has built on its foundations in regard to the quality of education through developing EM programs that have now become an essential discipline for every major engineering university in Pakistan.

See the following hyperlink for the ASEM Pakistan Section website:


Norway Perspective

Dr. Sols gave a summary on engineering management in Norway.  Norway is a large country with a very low population. Despite the low number of inhabitants (circa 5 million), Norway has a very technological and competitive industry. Indeed the Norwegian government has provided support to clusters of companies that meet certain requirements.  Consequently, a large number of the so-called Norwegian Centers of Excellence (NCE) were created, together with a few of the more demanding Global Centers of Excellence (GCE). Centers of particular relevance from an engineering management perspective are NCE Systems Engineering, NCE Micro and Nanotechnology, GCE Subsea, GCE NODE (Energy and Maritime Industries) and GCE Blue Maritime. Moreover, the Norwegian industry is in general very keen on continuous improvement, with a strong focus on technology and innovation. At the same time, ASEM’s footprint in Norway is currently very small.

On the educational front, there are a few world-class programs on engineering management, like those run at NTNU (Norwegian University of Science and Technology) and USN (University College of Southeast Norway). Thus, there is a good opportunity to increase ASEM’s presence in Norway.  Although it is unlikely that Norway would ever be representative in ASEM in quantitative terms, a higher cooperation would be good, qualitatively speaking. For ASEM to be better known in Norway it would be necessary to plan and conduct some selected marketing activities.

China Perspective

Dr. Wang gave a summary on engineering management in China.  With one of the fastest growing economies in the world, China has a diversity of engineering disciplines that follow both the Russian and United States systems. Future growth of China’s economy will depend highly on the quality and leadership of its engineering management. China’s development of training and education in engineering management has been an important issue and has been led by the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE) for the last decade. During the past ten years, China has developed many international engineering companies. Its international engineering management has been influenced by China’s own culture; the country looks forward to being recognized by other global societies.

In order to link with these global societies in the engineering management area, CAE has signed a memorandum of understanding with ASEM.  There are currently plans to establish an ASEM Section in China, with its headquarters at Chongqing University. China’s educational system is one of those that graduate the largest group of engineers in the world. In the future, China will require many well-educated engineering managers and a close relationship with global societies such as ASEM. China is endeavoring to explore the domain knowledge in the interdisciplinary areas of engineering management in order to enhance China's unique status and to build up its competitive advantages in the global arena.

(5).       Conclusions

After the panelists had given their individual contributions, there was a lively discussion and Q&A session with the audience.  Various additional points were made and all agreed that there is significant potential for ASEM to continue to develop internationally.  Moreover, the development of ASEM on a global basis supports the goal of increasing the adoption of engineering management as a discipline and international expansion provides scope for increasing the level of Society membership thereby supporting the sustainability of ASEM. 

Dr. Simon P. Philbin PhD MBA FRSC PEM, Conference Panel Chairperson
Director of Programme Management, Imperial College London
International Director, American Society for Engineering Management (ASEM)
Visiting Fellow, Birkbeck, University of London
Associate Editor, Engineering Management Journal

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