Co-​​op student charts new course at computer giant

As com­puting giant IBM has grown, it has expanded dra­mat­i­cally in places around the globe. But in coun­tries like the Philip­pines, the com­pany grew so quickly that some of its key cor­po­rate doc­u­ments, like charts that track the struc­ture and respon­si­bil­i­ties of each of its employees, were never updated to match the new normal.

But last year that respon­si­bility fell to Shuntaro Okuzawa, a senior who will grad­uate in May with both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in indus­trial engi­neering. He spent six months on co-​​op in the Philip­pines, working for IBM to study and chart its existing cor­po­rate structure.

“I was looking at every­thing from indi­vidual processes to entire depart­ments from a bird’s eye view,” said Okuzawa.

In June, the Japan native will relo­cate to Seattle, where he’s already accepted a posi­tion with’s supply-​​chain finance team. His respon­si­bil­i­ties will include looking at how the mas­sive online mer­chant can more effi­ciently deliver goods to its cus­tomers around the globe.

“My work is all about looking at the bigger pic­ture, what indi­vidual tasks fit into a day-​​to-​​day oper­a­tion,” Okuzawa said. “You start with a lot of out­dated doc­u­ments and, through a series of focus groups and a lot of study, you start to figure out what people are doing and where they fit into the broader system.”

Okuzawa’s work allowed IBM to iden­tify areas where the busi­ness could improve, cre­ating an oppor­tu­nity to view oper­a­tions on a more macro level than ever before. He cre­ated an online frame­work to track changes and dis­cuss oper­a­tions, iden­ti­fying key points of con­tact for future changes or clarifications.

At North­eastern, Okuzawa is pres­i­dent of Tau Beta Pi, an honor society that admits the university’s top engi­neering stu­dents with the goal of cre­ating oppor­tu­ni­ties for com­mu­nity ser­vice and pro­fes­sional development.

“We have some very accom­plished stu­dents here at North­eastern, and it’s my job to recruit and rec­og­nize those who are not only doing out­standing things in aca­d­e­mics, but also in their extracur­ric­ular fields,” Okuzawa said.

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Related Departments:Mechanical & Industrial Engineering