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Mangement career with MS in Physics?

  1. Jan 6, 2014 #1
    I have a MS in optical Physics and I now work as program coordinator on an implementation grant at a University. I would like to steer my career towards industry and move towards a management tracked program. I am thinking about pursuing a MBA. My MS adviser is trying to convince me to do Phd, however, I do not want to go into a research tracked program.

    Would a MBA be useful to me?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 6, 2014 #2

    Vanadium 50

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    It depends on who and what you will be managing. If you are managing accountants, an MBA will serve you better. If you are managing scientists, a PhD may or may not be more useful.
  4. Jan 6, 2014 #3


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    Don't get a PhD if managing engineers is your goal. I think the MS in physics and the MBA would be a better approach, especially if you get into marketing.

    Typically to be a technical manager you need to be a high-performing individual contributor for years, probably more than 10 to 15. And there really isn't such a thing as a technical "management track" program.

    I'd go for the MBA.
  5. Jan 7, 2014 #4
    I would agree with the MBA so long as it is from a very good school. The majority of MBAs are not remotely worth their cost, but get a good one and it may be worth it.
  6. Jan 7, 2014 #5
    My goal is to adequately provide for my family a comfortable life, and have a secure financial future. In the academia world, that seem to be rarely a concern, and lots of starving scientists out there. There was once a time when I was passionate about 'contributing to science', however, reality kicks in, and I see lots of other people with only a high school education having secure financial life, while the life of a typical academia physicists sucks financially. I have lost my drive to work long hours in the lab.

    I enjoy project management, and program implementation. I would love to go into consulting, but I haven't gotten a 'foot in the door' as yet. One of my good friends works at Booze Allen Hamilton, so I am trying to network my way in.

    I have never paid for school in my life, because, physicists get funded to get to school. Now, I have realized that its better to pay for a career tracked program and get financially rewarded in the end, rather than 'take a free education'.

    I have no experience with paying for school. I started browsing some of my local universities for MBA programs and I have no idea what to look for.
  7. Jan 7, 2014 #6


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    If you want a comfortable life science (especially academia) probably isn't for you. You really need passion to succeed because only passion will get you to work 50 or 60 hour weeks for years on end with no real chance of a financial reward. In science the journey is the reward and if it doesn't excite you it probably isn't right.

    You said so yourself, you've lost the drive. Technical marketing or consulting sounds like a great career path. You might want to check for MBA programs in technology management (if you want to leverage your current education). There are many but I'm not sure how successful they are.
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