WISE Feature Interview with Ana Maria Canto-Esquivel
How did you get started in the field of systems engineering?
Since I was in high school I was very curious and interested in how corporations worked. I wondered how much information had to be collected, processed, put together, and interpreted in order to make it all happen. How many people were involved in that process and how they were coordinated. That is when I knew I wanted to be an industrial engineer. Then I went to grad school and systems engineering was one of the early subjects I took, and it provided many answers to my early questions on engineering. I just became very passionate about it ever since.
What do you find interesting or exciting about working in the field of systems science and systems engineering?
Just about everything! All things in life function as a system and interact with each other. To have a good system is to have good methods, and good methods lead to success. As an interdisciplinary science, you have to study a lot of fields that are part of a system. This gives you a great understanding of how everything works, and how fragile systems can be. The more exciting part comes when you see the results of a changed, and improved, more efficient system that will forever have your mark in it. I have had the opportunity to work as an external consultant for many small and medium-size companies in Mexico. Helping managers and owners to understand and redesign the systems within their companies. The best part is to be able to make changes from within the organization so that the company as a system work better, and in this way, improve not only the performance of the system but also the quality of life of everyone involved in that system.
What advice do you have for those just starting out in the field of systems engineering?
Get involved early as trainees in real-life projects. Start working on the field as soon as possible. Don’t settle with school grades and academic accomplishments. Systems are an ever-changing matter, and the best way to understand change is to be a part of it. Develop Also read about anything you can on the subject that is published, and go to as many conferences as you can. Stay at the forefront of it.