Lianna Schuele, E and ME’21, reengineers business processes to cut costs and improve service
While perfection is rarely attainable, Lianna Schuele, E and ME’21, is focused on achieving it. As an undergrad major in Industrial Engineering and a masters student in Engineering Management, Schuele is focused on studying business processes to make them as time- and cost-efficient as possible ― while still delivering high levels of customer service.
During a six-month co-op at Wayfair, a $9 billion online retailer, Schuele had a unique chance to make a real impact on the company’s operations. She was immediately hooked.
“I was in charge of analyzing damage rates for plumbing products,” she explains. “These are fragile, large, expensive products that must be handled very carefully. Any damaged products or returns have a significant impact on profits. I performed data analysis on customer-reported delivery issues across several product classes and their suppliers. I led presentations on my findings, made recommendations, demonstrated the cost benefits and then worked with packaging engineers on practical improvements.”
“I loved that experience because I’m a results-driven person,” Schuele continues. “I was only a college sophomore, but I was doing important work and making a real impact. I was able to calculate the cost savings for Wayfair and see the results of my work. It was exciting.”
At another co-op, Schuele analyzed the everyday patient experience at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and recommended improvements. “I studied numerical metrics like patient wait times, conducted interviews with key stakeholders and mapped out processes to identify areas of improvement,” she says. When the COVID-19 pandemic emerged unexpectedly, Schuele was also able to help the hospital redefine some of its screening and visitation policies, as well as effectively manage the distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE).
“In every industry, there are opportunities to examine the way things are done and make workflows run more smoothly. I’d love to have a career in process improvement, perhaps in a manufacturing or supply chain environment, where I can achieve cost savings ― but also make people happier and more productive,” Schuele notes.
The accelerated masters program at Northeastern is enabling Schuele to graduate next spring with a pair of degrees that make her very attractive to potential employers. “My masters classes have exposed me to practical topics like project management, financial management and data mining that are directly relevant to my career path,” she points out. “The ability to graduate in five years with a BS and MS degrees will set me apart from other job candidates.”
While Schuele’s coursework and co-op experience have kept her busy, her rich experience at Northeastern doesn’t end there. A lifelong dancer, she served as junior captain of the Northeastern University Dance Team and is now a member of the Northeastern Dance Company. She has served as both President and Vice President of Academic Excellence of her sorority, Sigma Kappa. In the latter role, she led the chapter to improve its cumulative GPA by creating scholarship programs to help members adopt better academic habits.
In addition, Schuele’s involvement in Northeastern’s Galante Engineering Business Program exposed her to a wealth of networking and professional development opportunities that complement her engineering education.
“I’ve benefited from so many personal and professional resources during my time at Northeastern,” Schuele notes. “I believe all my professors have truly been invested in my success. The personal guidance, top-notch engineering knowledge and business skills I’ve gained here have prepared me for a successful career as both an engineer and a leader.”