144: Should I Get a Masters in Engineering Management or MBA [Podcast]

Engineering Management vs MBA

Engineering Management (EM) vs MBA? That is a question I have talked about a lot in the last few years. 

I have both a masters in engineering and an MBA. And since joining the university, I have been running an engineering management program (Information Engineering and Management or IEM). So I have seen them all up close and personal. 

I have the conversation almost daily with engineers and technology leaders who are looking to grow through higher education and considering both the MBA and the Engineering Management paths. 


Should I Get a Masters in Engineering Management or MBA (Podcast Outline)

  1. Things to consider before making the decision
    • The company I work for or want to work for – culture
    • Knowing where you want to go
  2. Define your goal
    • Management strictly and get out of technology
    • Move into technical management
  3. MBA Programs – Not all the same
    • Course work similar but varieties
      • Economics.
      • Accounting.
      • Entrepreneurship.
      • Marketing.
      • Strategy.
      • Project Management.
      • Organizational development.
    • Connections to industry highly variable
      • Some pure academic
      • Some talk about the industry with little true connections
      • Some highly connected
  4. Engineering Management Program – Not all the same
    • Course work variations
      • Statistics
      • Systems engineering
      • Project Management.
      • Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
      • Leadership and strategy.
      • Communications.
      • Technical paths.
    • Connections to industry
      • Often less than in the MBA.
      • Look behind the scenes and ask questions.
  5. How to evaluate
    • What is your goal? 
      • Move into technology leadership.
      • Pure academic vs applied.
      • Just get a degree.
    • Look at faculty
      • What industry backgrounds do they have?
      • Have they ever practiced what they teach?
    • Is experience required
      • If you want to grow your network – go for programs that require experience
      • Many programs geared to recent graduates
    • What are the income projections? 
  6. Other Considerations
    • Does the EM talk more your language
    • Does this EM help you move from tech doer to tech leader
  7. About IEM
    • Real-world
    • Real faculty
    • Client-focused vs curriculum-focused
    • Coaching
    • The $30k challenge

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