1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Ee + Mba

  1. Aug 11, 2007 #1
    Hi all -- I'm currently going to be a junior this fall majoring in Electrical Engineering. I will graduate in 2009. I have a question regarding my future career path, maybe some of you know some answers:

    1) Should I take some business courses during my undergraduate years? How essential is this? This upcoming semester, I have one math course that I already took, so that's out of the way (Calculus III). I have room for another course I can fill in there. I opted to register for Digital Systems Design for the free spot. Should I take that course or some business/accounting course?

    2) Will some of the courses I take during my UG college years really affect my chance of admission into a busines school? I plan to work for about 2-3 years as an engineer, then apply to business school. I know that it highly depends on your GMAT scores, UG GPA, leadership positions/experience (which I have a lot of during my UG years). I'm just not sure if taking 1 or 2 business courses will really help.

    3) I will have a few internship experiences before I get a job fulltime after graduate. Right now, I'm an intern for an aviation company, in the systems engineering field. I just applied to IBM for a systems engineering job for a co-op throughout the school year, so hopefully I'll get that. And for the upcoming summer, I plan to get an internship related to EE work. Now, is having too many internships with different companies detrimental? I want to work and get a sampling of a lot of the fields out there right now. I've already got aviation under my belt, hopefully IBM will call back, and a few other fields.

  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 11, 2007 #2

    Dr Transport

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Engineering degree + MBA = fast track to bigger and better things
  4. Aug 11, 2007 #3


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    Not an engineer myself, but I have also heard the same thing. I have several friends who are engineering majors and run the student branch of the IEEE at our university. They have had several speakers(usually practicing engineers) come in to talk about the benefits of having an MBA and an engineering degree.
  5. Aug 12, 2007 #4

    Dr Transport

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Without an MBA in industry, you won't go very far. In the company I work for, once you get to a certain level without one the chances of moving up are very slim.
  6. Aug 12, 2007 #5
    That's the same thing I'm doing. I've been involved with IEEE as a board member during my freshman + sophmore year, will be a VP this upcoming year, then most likely President during my Sr. year. Also, president of another association.

    I see, thats what I've heard too - does your company offer educational assistance as far as going back to graduate school to earn a degree?
  7. Aug 12, 2007 #6

    Dr Transport

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Absolutely, they will pay the entire package, tuition (books to a limit per class) fees etc.... They want you to go back after working to upgrade your skills. A friend of mine is earning his PhD in Physics all expenses paid via this program.
  8. Aug 13, 2007 #7
    Ah, very good deal. I know my question varies by company, but since we're on the topic anyway -- will they let you go elsewhere for your degree temporarily (like if you live in the west coast, would they let you go to the east cost or midwest) to complete your degree?

    I know IBM will allow you to take an unpaid leave of absence for further schooling, don't know about the others. It seems like they are the only one who publicize that part. Seems like you would have to discuss this with the manager of the company you're getting hired onto.
  9. Aug 13, 2007 #8
    A lot of business schools will expect that you have completed the two introductory accounting courses normally taken during a business student's sophmore year. If not, it's the first thing that will be forced on you in business school. I suggest you take those two and get A's. They're much cheaper at the undergrad level, and they're easier than courses in the sciences or engineering. Since you have a free spot, it's a great opportunity.

    Finance, marketing, supply chain, etc could all wait until later, but those intro accounting courses are "foundational" for all of business. I'd say take 'em if you have the chance.
  10. Aug 13, 2007 #9
    Do you think it matters when I take them? I'm thinking about taking them during my senior year, when my courseload is somewhat relaxed.
  11. Aug 13, 2007 #10


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I completely disagree (and I'm a senior designer for a major chip manufacturer). It's true that if you want to be running large parts of the company, an MBA might be the perfect enabling qualification. If you want to take on a large amount of technical responsibility, though, the MBA is useless. Many people make an exceptionally good living with their technical skills.

    - Warren
  12. Aug 13, 2007 #11
    What company? :smile::smile:
  13. Aug 13, 2007 #12
    I was looking at MBA programs as well. They seem to want around 5 years experience in the industry + experience in mathematics. I didn't see too much regarding wanting prior bussiness classes. However, if you want to take the courses a bussiness minor would help your carreer starting off, companies percieve that engineers lack the soft skills, and showing that experience would make your resume more appealing.
  14. Aug 13, 2007 #13

    Dr Transport

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    In the company I work for, the MBA qualifies you to run large programs, technical or not, the skills you get while in an MBA program are almost as necessary to get ahead as any PhD. Many of my co-workers do not have MBA's and are severely liminted in the size of the programs they are allowed to run. I have the attitude, you kill it, you eat it, if you can win the contract, you should run it but I have been told that if I get and I'll make up a figure, say a $25 million contract, I cannot run it because I am not 1) a trained program manager, 2) not a manager and 3) do not possess an MBA.

    I have a person I work with who is a fairly senior manager, he has basically been told that he will never move up beacause he doesn't have an MBA, he is getting an Executive MBA because he will not make the next level (he is in his 40's and the prospect of not getting promoted again before retirement in almost 20 years is scary).

    Technical ability aside, the most brilliant PhD may be able to make technical strides, but if he cannot manage his $$, time and project effectively given his companies constraints he isn't going too far and an MBA is a good stepping stone to get there. I never said that oyu cannot make a significant living, but some of the most sucessful people out ther can not only manage technical projects but the associated mangement issues.

    I'll be hapy to give you an example from my own experience.

    I am a technical sub-thrust leader in my organization. I was put into this position without any real industrial mangement experience ( not even leading a small project to fruition). I worked like a dog managing the people and money to stay under budget and keeping the people gainfully employed. On my first annual review, I got nearly the absolute worst evaluation and raise I could get and nearly got fired, not because of my lack of technical skills but lack of people skills and lack of program management skills. I was sent to our management complex for part-time coursework over 3 months to get essentially an internal quicky MBA/Program Management certification. Since then I have been effective in leading the people I work with and have out paced my contemporaries in the promotion and raise department. I am one of the few PhD's running around in this dual situation and may eventually be the senior scientist/engineer for my division and have the choice of either going into management or going into the technical leadership program.
  15. Aug 13, 2007 #14
    Nah, not at all. You probably won't apply to grad school til after you've worked a couple of years anyway.
  16. Aug 14, 2007 #15
    That was very interesting Dr. Transport, thanks for sharing your experiences.
  17. Aug 17, 2007 #16
    a exceptionally good living depends on the person. To me thats around 800K a year.
  18. Aug 18, 2007 #17
    The reason I'm asking is because I've always been interested in technology and it's growth. But, on the other hand, I see myself as a leader. I'm very involved with numerous organizations, with leadership positions -- hence I think the mix would be great.
  19. Aug 21, 2007 #18
    Frankly, I would be annoyed at having some young upstart "managing" me when he/she has no working experience. I cannnot imagine MBA courses being given to people with less than, say, several years at least of practical working experience in the field. I mean, if you haven't been in the shoes of the people you are managing, how could you possibly understand their situation? Theory can only give you so much insight.
    I guess that doesn't help you though...with your question. I am just afraid that you will waste your money. Better to do what some of the other posters have suggested: work for a while and then get your company to pay for your MBA courses, if that's still what you want to do.
  20. Aug 21, 2007 #19
    Oh and Llama77, what do you do may I ask that is worth 800k a year?
  21. Aug 21, 2007 #20
    could you give us a few examples of these "bigger and better things"?
  22. Aug 21, 2007 #21

    Dr Transport

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    You move up faster which means you get to make your own decisions faster.

    Moving up faster means getting up the salary curve faster.

    You get to take charge of programs/projects before your peers.

    Need I say anything more?????
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook