Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

EE and management

  1. Oct 14, 2006 #1
    Hey everyone. Just want to run something by people here...I'm a sophomore in Electrical Engineering, and love it (even though it's hard), and recently a friend of mine told me that he was minoring in Management along with EE, and that seemed really odd to me, cuz they seem unrelated, but he told me that it's helpful...and I was wondering if that's a common thing, and what exactly it's helpful for? Thank you!
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 14, 2006 #2
    It is helpful when you move up in the company because you have administrative skills to complement your technical background. It's not all that uncommon and is very common for civil engineers who have to do that kind of stuff day in and day out.
  4. Oct 14, 2006 #3
    I'm a physics major minoring in music.

    You can probably find ways to apply any minor to your major, even if it's indirectly (i.e. thinking methods or whatever).

    But in my case it's just fun. :D
  5. Oct 14, 2006 #4


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I've heard that at many companies, the career advancement ladder practically forces engineers to move into management at some point. You're considered to be somehow inferior or "stuck in a rut" if you insist on continuing to do nuts-n-bolts engineering, and your salary reaches a plateau.
  6. Oct 15, 2006 #5

    Dr Transport

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Without significant experience managing projects and or people, your chances of moving up in industry are severely limited. A management minor while pursuing a BS degree is a very good thing to do. I have senior managers that I work for who are going back to school in an Executive MBA program because they have basically been told they won't move up any further without it (when you have the probalility of working another 20+ years and you are told your career is finished, you do what ever you can to move up farther).

    Even at my level, without having project management experience, my chances of moving up are limited, and salary increases will diminish.

    Remember that after years in industry, you in many cases will not be used as a grunt engineer doing design etc....your usefulness will be utilized in running the programs, that is the natural progression.
  7. Oct 15, 2006 #6
    Wow, I had no idea that this was even done before, let alone how popular a path it seems. This might be a hard question to give a definate answer to, but would you say management is better than other degree options (i.e. minor in Math, Csci, double major in Physics, etc.)?
  8. Oct 16, 2006 #7
    It depends on whether you *want* to manage. Personally, I'd rather gouge my eyes out with a fork... but if you think you would enjoy management, by all means train for it.

    There definitely is pressure to move into management though as your career progresses.
  9. Oct 16, 2006 #8
    Would it ever be a -bad- thing to have a management minor? Such as, will an employer ever think that you just want to manage and turn you down for an engineering job?
  10. Oct 16, 2006 #9

    Dr Transport

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Not in this day and age of generalization within industry, the management minor will probably get you the job when there is a competition between candidates of nearly equal qualifications. And before you whine about generalization in industry, if you are doing the same job for more than 5 years without changing or reinventing your skills, you are probably going to be shoved off to the side and forgotten. The best advice I ever got from someone was "reinvent yourself every 4-5 years and you'll keep a job, if not you'll get laid off", I did and have made it through 3 down-turns where my friends who keep wanting to do what they learned in grad school were let go.
  11. Oct 17, 2006 #10
    So, I have some free credits that need filling in the next couple years, and I've kind of been looking for a minor (or possibly double major) to fill up these credits. It sounds like most engineers are pushed to management roles eventually, but are there any other minors or double majors (Phys, Csci, etc..) that would be as, or more, helpful than a management minor?
  12. Oct 17, 2006 #11

    Dr Transport

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Almost every engineer/scientist at my firm has program management experience after 5 years of employment. They are not managers, they manage a project from start to completion, it may be a capital project rebuilding a measurement apparatus and updating it or a R&D project. Management experience for anyone and everyone is a necessary thing.
  13. Dec 10, 2006 #12


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Keep in mind that as soon as you have learned how to do your job well -- say, once you're really good at designing chips -- you're of more use to the company as a manager. The reason? One good engineer is certainly useful, but it's even more useful to have you teaching five other people how to become good engineers, too.

    - Warren
  14. Dec 10, 2006 #13
    Right now I am getting taking technical classes, and when I finish ugrad (dual major in EE and physics) I am going to grad school for physics (I want to be a professor/professional researcher). If I get into a position where management education is is necessary then I will enroll in a part time MBA program.

    If it were me, I would just take technical classes at the ugrad level, get an industry engineering position, and then later get an MBA in a part-time program.
  15. Dec 11, 2006 #14
    from my experence management skills always come in handy. if you know that you are going to spend your carreer in industry, then at least take a project management course. Just understanding how to break down what you are trying to do in to small components of time and getting things compleated by deadlines is not as trivial as you think. Additionally, while manageing people many not sound like what you want to do, there will be a time when you might be asked/ want to lead a really cool project and if you lack the skills to manage people and get tasks done on time you will not be as succesfull as you could be. I have been learningthis the painful way. That said I would proably not minor in management unless you really want to be a manager.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook