SMU Lyle Alumna uses AI, operations research strategies to accelerate her forensic technology career at Ernst & Young

Dr. McIntosh is a senior manager in Ernst & Young’s Forensic & Integrity Services practice, where she leads forensic data analytics for the southwest region.

Emily McIntosh headshot
Emily McIntosh '13, '22


Emily McIntosh (’13, ‘22) uses advanced analytics, including artificial intelligence (AI), to identify white collar criminal activity that warrants further investigation. She fast-tracked her career path by taking advantage of SMU Lyle School of Engineering’s Accelerated Pathways and Fast Second Master’s programs before continuing with her doctorate degree.


Dr. McIntosh is a senior manager in Ernst & Young’s Forensic & Integrity Services practice, where she leads forensic data analytics for the southwest region.


“If an investigation has already been initiated from a regulatory body, such as the Department of Justice or U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, we can provide electronic discovery services to collect, identify, and produce digital evidence in the legal proceedings,” she said.


Dr. McIntosh credits her early success to her education, specifically the programs at SMU that help students determine what coursework they want to pursue and how to make the best use of their time as both undergraduate and graduate students.


“The Lyle school’s ‘Engineering and Beyond’ course spends each week focusing on a different major offered by the school,” she said. “Candidly, I wasn’t familiar with my major until I took this course. The OREM department [Operations Research and Engineering Management] teaches how to apply the problem-solving mindset of engineering to real business problems. This course was the first time I was introduced to the analytical, technical techniques known as ‘prescriptive analytics.’  I’m grateful that I found this program within the first few weeks of being on campus.  This made it significantly easier to be strategic in my course planning and ultimately made the decision to pursue a graduate degree an easy one.”

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Dr. McIntosh took advantage of SMU Lyle’s Accelerated Pathways program, which allows students to count master’s level courses towards the undergraduate elective requirements, to earn both her Bachelor of Science degree in Management Science and a Master of Science degree in Operations Research.  She also participated in the school’s Fast Second Master’s program, which charts an efficient path toward multiple master’s degrees by overlapping class requirements, to obtain a second Master of Science degree in Systems Engineering. She ultimately earned a Doctorate of Engineering in Engineering Management in 2022 while working fulltime. She is now an adjunct professor at SMU Lyle teaching Systems Engineering and Engineering Management courses.


“When I began my undergraduate career in 2009, I really had no intentions of attending graduate school since it wasn’t a hard requirement for the consulting industry,” she said. “I originally decided to pursue a master’s degree because the programs were so efficient, it felt almost silly to not take advantage of them. Once I began the more advanced coursework, I was very surprised at how much I genuinely enjoyed the classes which I think stems back to finding the right major those first few weeks on campus. I ultimately decided to pursue my doctorate almost more as a hobby than a career goal because I was enjoying the learning so much.”


During her doctoral studies, Dr. McIntosh focused her research on gaining efficiencies in transforming unstructured data using robotic process automation and Lean Six Sigma techniques. Serendipitously, in view of recent technological advances, much of her focus has been fixed on AI.


“My real interest that I've had, both professionally and academically, has been centered around AI and robotics,” she said “I was fortunate enough to find a great use case at my firm for my doctoral research. I am eternally grateful to the mentors and coaches at the firm that not only supported but championed my academic career.”


Dr. McIntosh says her family is closely tied to SMU and that she is one of many in her family who’ve graduated from the university. Having grown up in the Dallas area, she appreciates that she was able to stay close to her family and still attend a world-class institution.


Outside of the firm, she serves as the artificial intelligence chair for Analytics Magazine’s editorial advisory board, serves on the American Cancer Society North Texas Board, and is a Wish Granter through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. She is also involved in The Sedona Conference - a nonprofit a nonpartisan, nonprofit research and educational institute dedicated to the advanced study of law and policy.


“If it weren’t for SMU, Lyle, and the Engineering and Beyond course, I really don’t know if I would have found the right educational focus and am not sure I would have pursued graduate school. The OREM department truly taught me how enjoyable graduate classes can be. I’ve always valued lifelong learning, and this program has played a tremendously significant part of that journey.”


About the Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering 

SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering, founded in 1925, is one of the oldest engineering schools in the Southwest. The school offers twelve undergraduate and 29 graduate programs, including master’s and doctoral degrees, in the departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering; Computer Science; Electrical and Computer Engineering; Mechanical Engineering and Operations Research and Engineering Management.


About SMU 

SMU is the nationally ranked global research university in the dynamic city of Dallas. SMU’s alumni, faculty and nearly 12,000 students in eight degree-granting schools demonstrate an entrepreneurial spirit as they lead change in their professions, community and the world.