I agree aboutgetting a few years in before going for the MBA. I think it gives you some real world application when you go back into the MBA classes. That's exactly what I did and I think I learned a lot more that way.
As for the benefit of the MBA. I know it helped get me in the door for more interviews. I don't think it always gets you the promotions you want within the company. But it can help you find a new home.
If you know what you want or if you can predict what you will want in the future.. figuring out the best course of action is fairly straight forward.
But so few people have a clue.
So making recommendations is useless (I really don't like to use generalizations - sigh) .
MAKING IT CLEAR to those asking advice, what their options are, is very useful.
Making it understood what the ROI for a given certification is critical. (was that MBA really required for Agra business, if you are going in to business for yourself - aka family farm?.. or was the related course work the only need?)
People should be encouraged to experience enough of life to have some knowledge of themselves before facing theses decisions.
I make the distinction between education and certification/title because they are very different things. Certification is important in dealing with those that cannot judge your proficiency in the field in question ( Human resources dept., lazy administrators, general public, etc.. ). It DOESN'T really indicate your value to a organization. I have known numerous examples of those with the certification/title that did not deserve it. And those that truly provided creative improvements to a company be denied recognition for their contribution (because they didn't have the credentials) - only to "move on" to where they were appreciated.
Education and understanding are critical, but not always documented or certified. Smart managers/leaders understand this. (yea, you are "unique" , just like everyone else!)
If you want to work for a company that requires the certification, fine. Certifications will give you more opportunities. (should those with PHDs in engineering hide this fact if the job application is not in research?)
If you never intend to work for a company that requires the certification (you will never fit into a corporate environment).. get the education you need .. and keep on learning. Don't spend the time/money on something that will have little bearing on your future.
The key part of your statement and suggestion is "what he wants", not what I want. I have made the suggestion and discussed it a few times, so now it is up to him.
Regarding Beth's comment. Once you leave college it is not always so easy to get back into school mode. Some people make the transition from student to consumer and enjoy the new buying power a job provides, start a family and get involved in a lot of other things that make going back to school harder. Not everyone though as others have noted.
My suggestion was considering the job market and economy as being less than optimum for working and perhpas better for studying right now. A good time to do really well in school, keep options open and position oneself for an upturn in a couple more years.
I got a lot out of the Co-op programs and was able to pay for school and learn about the work I would be doing later on. I was never able to get back into school mode despite 2 attempts.
If your son wants to wind up in the board room, an MBA is a good idea, but not a sure thing. I think a good path to the top executive ranks is to get an MBA and then get hired into a large corporation's executive development program. These are typically rotational programs where they groom the future leaders of their company. Flexibility to relocate every 6 months is mandatory for a lot of these programs. But, he would be exposed to various facets of the company, and then given the chance to lead and make and impact when he was done.
I agree that good engineers need a better understanding of the business world, but I would have to think that getting your feet in the door and actually doing some hands-on work is a more expedient route to viable engineering employment. With such a big focus on the lack of good engineering talent, particularly candidates with strong multi-disciplinary skills, might the more prudent path be to build out that kind of domain expertise to stand apart from your peers then add the business acumen later like our commentors suggested.
I have encouraged my son to go for his MBA as soon as he completes his MS in engineering. I consider it a ticket into the Corporate Boardroom. Wtihout an MBA your chances of getting in are much less. It may not guarantee a shot but it cannot hurt. I wish I had done it myself.
Good engineers can always benefit by a better understanding of the business world.
Thank you for agreeing. You did it the same way i did. First you go to work and see what you need. otherwise you become a perpetual student. It may make your parents happy at that time, but in terms of market demand it could be a mistake.
Good article. I got my MBA part time, taking one or two classes per semester. I started about 1 year after getting my BSEE and entering the workforce. It probably helped justify my last promotion, but didn't matter at the downsizing. As I continue to look for my next gig, I do think it allows me to consider some things that I couldn't without it.
The question of whether engineers could have foreseen the shortcut maintenance procedures that led to the crash of American Airlines Flight 191 in 1979 will probably linger for as long as there is an engineering profession.
More than 35 years later, the post-mortem on one of the country’s worst engineering disasters appears to be simple. A contractor asked for a change in an original design. The change was approved by engineers, later resulting in a mammoth structural collapse that killed 114 people and injured 216 more.
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