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MANAGEMENT AND MARKETING TECHNIQUES USEFUL IN SHAPING THE THINKING OF FUTURE ENGINEERS

G.M. Moraru

"Lucian Blaga" University of Sibiu (ROMANIA)
Academic education has undergone major changes in recent years. These were generated on the one hand by the social and economic changes, and on the other hand by the need for education to become more competitive and to better meet the needs of employers. In this context, we notice in many universities a frequent change of curriculum. Thus, some study programs from the Romanian technical faculties contain more and more disciplines specifically dedicated to each engineering specialization. Caught by this avalanche of information, students, but also some teachers are increasingly minimizing the importance of fundamental and economic disciplines, for which fewer and fewer hours are provided in the curriculum, or not at all. As competition in global markets is increasing, we want the paper to be a plea for the importance of economic disciplines in shaping the thinking of future engineers. Therefore, we have presented on some concrete cases how the techniques taught in the disciplines of management and marketing can help engineering students to become more organized in their work and even to overcome certain outdated patterns of thinking and behavior. The examples given by us focused on techniques such as: construction of matrices and decision trees, use of behavioral decision-making models, and product life cycle management techniques. We have shown that students from different specializations face similar problems in understanding and mastering these techniques. On one hand, analyzing the management and marketing knowledge of the engineering students from the second year of study in the "Lucian Blaga" University from Sibiu, we found that few of them can correctly solve problems with decision matrices or decision trees. Thus, only 15.25% of students in Machines Manufacturing Technologies, 12.50% of students in Digital Production Systems, 23.53% of students in Environmental Engineering, and 35.09% of students in Economic Engineering in Mechanical Field used these techniques correctly, after the first two sessions of teaching or recalling them. Students have a lot of confusions about the evaluation criteria used by managers in making a decision, but they also fail to properly plan the steps to solve a problem. On the other hand, the use of behavioral decision-making models is taught only to the students in Engineering and Management field. Whether they are undergraduate or master's students, most of them cannot adopt impulsive or atypical behavioral patterns of decision-makers, according to the literature. The technical logic is so ingrained in their personality that they cannot accept that some customers or even managers might think differently from this logic.
A conclusion of our study is related to a great danger that threatens the training of future engineers, namely a unilateral technical training, which will make them unadaptable to current changes in the industry. In this regard, we must mention the major confusions that students have about approaching the product life cycle from the perspective of the customer, but also from the perspective of the organization. Another conclusion is that Romanian technical education creates among young people patterns of thinking that are difficult to eliminate and that will harm them in their professional life. Economic disciplines can help increase the adaptability of engineers to professional challenges, especially in unforeseen crisis situations, such as the COVID-19 crisis.