NOBE mixes engineering and business

This semester saw the creation of the USC chapter of the National Organization of Business and Engineering, which aims to bring together students from the business and engineering fields and is the only organization of its kind at USC.

NOBE was founded at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and now has chapters at other schools such as Purdue University and the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

USC’s chapter hopes to unite students from the Viterbi School of Engineering and the Marshall School of Business, because it believes the relationship between the two is vital.

“All businesses incorporate technology, even on a superficial level,” said Alden Mitchell, NOBE treasurer for the USC chapter and a freshman majoring in electrical engineering and economics. “Technology companies, such as Google and Apple, that are predicated on the success of their technology are contingent on being able to carry out business processes.”

The organization believes students from the two fields should come together because their roles are becoming more intertwined. Mitchell said technology services and companies such as Apple rely on engineers to build, construct and think of the projects, but they still need to sell the products, which makes businesspeople necessary.

“Engineers are interested in business because it’s a great place to get into having a technology background,” Mitchell said. “Businesspeople in turn can see what and why engineers are learning. I think this mutual understanding could be very beneficial to them.”

Michael Soh, a sophomore majoring in civil engineering and the president of the USC chapter of NOBE, learned about NOBE through a friend. After contacting the national organization, he set up the USC chapter with two of his friends.

The USC chapter has attracted about 25 members to the new organization.

The chapter will be hosting workshops and networking events, where Mitchell hopes students will acquire the skills that are used in both the business and engineering fields.

It is the promise of these events that encouraged Amy Rasplicka, a freshman majoring in mechanical engineering, to join NOBE.

“I’m really looking forward to networking events because I’d like to try to get an internship as soon as possible,” Rasplicka said. “They plan on bringing professionals to speak to us and I think that would be really helpful.”

The organization’s first major event will take place Feb. 28, when a speaker from Qualcomm will talk about the integration of business and engineering.

The chapter has events lined up every week for the rest of the semester, and it just received recognition at the national level.

“Now that we’re officially recognized, we will have access to the national online database,” Soh said. “Students will be able to upload their résumés for others to see.”

In the long term, the USC chapter aims to add to their list of corporate sponsors, which currently includes the education company Kaplan, Inc.

“Especially for an organization like us that claims to provide professional experience, we need to have corporate interaction,” Mitchell said. “We’d love to be in a position where our corporate sponsors see the vitality and potential of our group and support that. I don’t think that will be particularly hard once we get more members and connections.”