DURHAM, NC—When asked why he chose to major in engineering, student Dick Basmati said “I wanted a major that actually teaches you how to problem solve. That’s really what matters to employers,” even though Basmati has never actually been employed in his life.
“Sure technical knowledge is important, but what you really get to practice as an engineering student is how to think. For most of my midterms, all we’re really given is a set of defined parameters, a list of every relevant equation, a test outline with correlating textbook chapters, and several practice problems for each topic. It’s a lot of independent thinking. Problem solving isn’t something you can just teach...”
We’ve removed the next three minutes of Basmati’s response for brevity. In summary, he used each of the words “problem solving”, “innovation”, and “design thinking” approximately 19 times. After Basmati finished his monologue, we asked him what he hoped to do after graduating. Basmati replied, “Probably consulting. It really teaches you how to problem solve. That’s not something you can just…”—You get the point.