HOME  |  NEWS  |  BLOGS  |  MESSAGES  |  FEATURES  |  VIDEOS  |  WEBINARS  |  INDUSTRIES  |  FOCUS ON FUNDAMENTALS
  |  REGISTER  |  LOGIN  |  HELP
Blogs
Blog

Do Engineers Need an MBA?

NO RATINGS
View Comments: Oldest First|Newest First|Threaded View
Page 1/2  >  >>
Dave Palmer
User Rank
Platinum
Different tracks
Dave Palmer   9/25/2012 10:58:49 AM
An MBA may be advantageous if you want to go into management.  I have a number of friends who have followed this route.  They are not doing much "real" engineering work these days, but they are applying the thinking skills they learned in engineering school to solve organizational problems.  On the other hand, if you want to pursue a technical path, you are better off getting a masters' in your area of specialization, as well as a PE license.

In some companies, management is the only track that offers the possibility of advancement; otherwise, your salary plateaus at a certain level.  However, an increasing number of companies are starting to realize the value of providing advancement opportunities to technical experts without siphoning them off into management.

Amclaussen
User Rank
Platinum
Yes, IF you really want to... produce beancounters!
Amclaussen   9/25/2012 11:32:56 AM
MBA: the best way to produce the kind of beancounters that propel today's industry to produce the kind of designs that feed the best "Made by Monkeys" stories.

A true engineer NEVER stops learning ENGINEERING... it is endless. One old european engineer once told me that he considered an accomplished engineer a person that had at least three areas of technical dominance (like Mechanical-Electrical and Materials or Chemical, for example).  Engineering is a lot like languages: there are people that dominate several languages, other than their native one... they frequently say that the third language they learned was easier than the secong, the fourth was easier than the third, and so on.  Same in the Science and technology fields.

But if well before the young engineer with less than an "accomplished" level decides to distract from the rigorous disciplines of science/technology, how will he/she reach the truly distinguished status?  All engineering schools that I'm aware, teach some economics as part of the engineering formation, That's enough! Lets recover the brilliant and strong engineering heritage that produced individuals like Tesla, Watt, Otto, Von Braun or Burt Rutan, to very quickly name just a few.  Amclaussen, 34+ years doing engineering and still learning a lot each day.

JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
User Rank
Blogger
More valuable after the fall-out
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   9/25/2012 1:07:14 PM
After spending 25 years in Corporate America, I can assure you that the old adage, "Your Attitude determines your Altitude" is profoundly real.  Corporations often "offer" MBA tuition assistance, but have privately pre-selected candidates for their corporate ladder --- long before any secondary degrees were earned.  They pick, and they have favorites, based on "fit" over function!

To the remaining staff, seeing  the illusion that MBA = Promotion, they often are less enthusiastic about earning one, but feel pressured to do so;  and ultimately end up feeling contempt for the entire effort when they are not selected for promotion.

Meanwhile, putting that entire Corporate "Peyton-Place" aside;  after the economy put thousands of us capable Corporate Servants on the street over the past few years, I can confidently say that I wish I had the MBA now that I'm running my own small business (by default).  It would have at least been a good consolation prize for the corporate effort.

JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Different tracks
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   9/25/2012 1:13:32 PM
NO RATINGS
Well Said.  Countless Big-Tech companies follow this structure.  It is ill-conceived (yet widely followed) and ultimately produces huge numbers of managers promoted to their level of incompetence. So why is it so prevalent-?  Because the dollars grow from the Top-Down, and the incapable managers handle the money. 

To Dave's point, recognizing talent on the technical side and creating opportunity where technical talent can remain un-hindered is like a new concept to many.  But so obvious to others.

JamesCAnder
User Rank
Iron
Probably not
JamesCAnder   9/25/2012 4:06:24 PM
NO RATINGS
Waste of time. A masters or PHD in the engineering degree field one chooses is key. Very rarely do I see an MBA contribute to leading research in any particular field. Today's job market is about "what you can do." Being more versed in one's "Craft" is more important than anything else.

I remember back in college a friend said I should get my MBA after the Bachelors. It's the easiest way to get a masters degree and every manager needs one, he said. I cared more about what I could create, not how well I can become the boss.

However, is an MBA teaches good engineering project management, then it would be almost OK to follow.

But, if the goal is contributing to the engineering body of knowledge, then an MBA might not be the best use of time.

JCA

gsmith120
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Probably not
gsmith120   9/25/2012 4:38:07 PM
NO RATINGS
In my almost 20 yrs working in Corp America I haven't seen where an MBA would have helped or was needed by most of my peers or even the higher ups.  I have met a couple of engineers with MBAs and it didn't seem to help their career at all.

Nancy Golden
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Probably not
Nancy Golden   9/25/2012 6:37:56 PM
NO RATINGS
I agree with James - and with the high cost of education and the time that it consumes, it is more important than ever for someone returning to school to have a definitive usefulness to their degree. I have seen some technical schools offer technical management degrees as well but have not seen it serve a real purpose - savvy engineers exhibiting good adminstrative sense and natural business acumen were given the mid-level management jobs these degrees were suppose to prepare one for. Odd too regarding  MBAs - most engineers I know would run screamimg the other direction at the thought of taking graduate level courses in business, myself included. No offense to those who enjoy that stuff - not to many MBAs probably have much interest in engineering.

Tim
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Probably not
Tim   9/25/2012 9:24:21 PM
NO RATINGS
I would say that an MBA may not be required, but a masters of some sort will never hurt your career.  It helps with getting your foot in the door as a candidate that is serious about doing your best.

Nancy Golden
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Probably not
Nancy Golden   9/25/2012 9:55:22 PM
NO RATINGS
While I agree, Tim - that a masters is very beneficial for one's career, I believe it really is best if the masters is directly related to the field you are in. This becomes especially important if you desire to teach in electronics. Most reputable academic accredidation bodies for schools require that the teacher has at least 18 hours specifically in the area they are teaching. Many companies that require a masters want it in the area of focus for the position being filled. So while any masters is good and represents an achievement, the amount of time, effort and money are important considerations as to how beneficial a masters will be if it is not directly in your career field...

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Different tracks
Charles Murray   9/25/2012 10:21:11 PM
NO RATINGS
An MBA is not for everyone. When we did an article on this subject last year, the president of Olin College said, "As a general rule, every graduate who leaves an engineering school shouldn't have a to-do list with a little box on it that says 'MBA.' Those who are headed for corporate leadership will probably be tapped on the shoulder by a supervisor at work."

I always thought that was good advice.

http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1395&doc_id=233439

Page 1/2  >  >>
Partner Zone
More Blogs
Advertised as the "Most Powerful Tablet Under $100," the Kindle Fire HD 6 was too tempting for the team at iFixit to pass up. Join us to find out if inexpensive means cheap, irreparable, or just down right economical. It's teardown time!
The increased adoption of wireless technology for mission-critical applications has revved up the global market for dynamic electronic general purpose (GP) test equipment. As the link between cloud networks and devices -- smartphones, tablets, and notebooks -- results in more complex devices under test, the demand for radio frequency test equipment is starting to intensify.
Much of the research on lithium-ion batteries is focused on how to make the batteries charge more quickly and last longer than they currently do, work that would significantly improve the experience of mobile device users, as well EV and hybrid car drivers. Researchers in Singapore have come up with what seems like the best solution so far -- a battery that can recharge itself in mere minutes and has a potential lifespan of 20 years.
Some humanoid walking robots are also good at running, balancing, and coordinated movements in group settings. Several of our sports robots have won regional or worldwide acclaim in the RoboCup soccer World Cup, or FIRST Robotics competitions. Others include the world's first hockey-playing robot and a trash-talking Scrabble player.
Automation technology advances matched with expanded fracking and the growing urbanization of Asia, South America, and the Middle East, are fueling a boom in the automation industry.
Design News Webinar Series
10/7/2014 8:00 a.m. California / 11:00 a.m. New York
9/25/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
9/10/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
7/23/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
Quick Poll
The Continuing Education Center offers engineers an entirely new way to get the education they need to formulate next-generation solutions.
Oct 20 - 24, How to Design & Build an Embedded Web Server: An Embedded TCP/IP Tutorial
SEMESTERS: 1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6


Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.
Next Class: 10/28-10/30 11:00 AM
Sponsored by Stratasys
Next Class: 10/28-10/30 2:00 PM
Sponsored by Gates Corporation
Next Class: 11/11-11/13 2:00 PM
Sponsored by Littelfuse
Learn More   |   Login   |   Archived Classes
Twitter Feed
Design News Twitter Feed
Like Us on Facebook

Sponsored Content

Technology Marketplace

Copyright © 2014 UBM Canon, A UBM company, All rights reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service