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Engineering Business major going into engineering management. Practical?

  1. Sep 19, 2008 #1
    Hi, I am a business administration major at a liberal arts private college in Missouri. I am less than a year from graduation and want to go into an engineering management masters program after this. It was extremely tough to find a program that would accept a non-technical major but I managed to find a few. My question is how practical would it be to get my masters in engineering management even though I don't have an engineering undergrad degree? It seems as though engineering firms or whoever would rather have an actual engineer working in management and not a business major. Would engineering employers want to hire a business guy with a masters in engineering management but no experience in engineering??? I would appreciate any help with this!!! I don't want to waste my time getting the masters degree if they dont want someone that isn't an engineer!! thanks for the help!!!
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  3. Sep 19, 2008 #2
    In my opinion it would be a mistake on your part. Engineering management degrees usually involve at least 30 credits of technical courses for a maters, or thats the way my school works anyway. These courses usually involve math courses(fourier transforms, vector calc, diff-eq, etc) along with many systems courses like system optimization and numerical methods. If you think you can handle these courses then go for it.

    Most companies won't put a non-engineer into an engineering management position. You need to know the science and physics along with the bureaucracy. You could probably get a job at Chrysler though, they will make anyone a manager.
  4. Sep 19, 2008 #3


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    Or the Government! :rofl:

  5. Sep 19, 2008 #4


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    None of the companies I've worked for have had an non-engineer as an engineering manager. However, at the executive level, I've had non-engineers as the VP of Engineering which I found strange.

    Why not just go with an MBA?

  6. Sep 19, 2008 #5


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    The other question that begs to be answered is WHY would you want to manage engineers specifically without having previous experience as an engineer yourself. I don't claim to be all that business savy, but I would assume that part of being an effective manager involves a thorough understanding of the work being done by those you manage. Without this, you will be faced with continuous challenges from those you are trying to coordinate.
  7. Sep 19, 2008 #6


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    Well, you have more business savy than most people appointing CIO/CTOs.
  8. Sep 21, 2008 #7
    The mid-level engineering managers that I've worked for actually also do engineering. One of their roles is as a mentor to the young engineers and to troubleshoot difficult engineering problems.
  9. Sep 21, 2008 #8
    I know many managers in science & engineering departments at Universities who have liberal arts degrees. They didn't have "engineering management degrees". It does seems a bit strange to be taking such a degree when you have no engineering experience. Why not just take a general management degree? That should still get you into posts where you may be managing engineers, but without you facing difficult questions at interview. Like "why did you take an engineering management degree when you aren't an engineer?"
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