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Engineering MBA with engineering

  1. Aug 21, 2016 #1
    Hello all,

    Is it beneficial to get MBA beside an engineering degree in terms of enhancing my chances in getting a job?

    Thanks
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 21, 2016 #2

    Choppy

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    Well, from one point of view it would certainly broaden your qualifications, so technically yes it would enhance your chances of getting "a" job.

    But as always the devil lies in the details.

    One issue with getting an MBA right out of undergrad (or through some kind of combined program) is that in order to use it, you'll be applying for management positions at the entry level. And this is tough, particularly in a slow economy where there are lots of people with practical experience looking for such positions.

    In your particular circumstance, you would likely be looking for a position where you would be managing engineers. As an exntension of the above you'll face the problem of trying to manage people that have more experience that you do at whatever it is your employer does. On top of that, you may feel as though if you're not getting a position that uses both skill sets, you've somehow wasted money and time, and this could effectively restrict, rather than enhance your available options.

    And I'm sure that not all MBAs are created equal. I'm sure there are some pretty intensive programs out there that can give you a lot of practical skills. But I'm sure there are others that are pretty high on the fluffy content too.

    Because an MBA is a master's degree, it would typically be taken in sequence anyway. So why not take your engineering program and then opt for electives in commerce or management or economics and see if that's the kind of thing that really appeals to you. In the long run it might be cheaper to find out that you don't like it after an elective course or two rather than after taking on another two years of debt.
     
  4. Aug 26, 2016 #3
    OK, thanks. Let me give you my backgrounds: I hold B.Sc in Computer Engineering, and M.Sc and PhD in Electrical Engineering.

    I guess my big mistake was to switch to Electrical Engineering/Wireless Communication (I switched because I like mathematics). Now searching for a job I've found that software/hardware engineers are in demand more than wireless communication engineers.

    I thought may be an MBA will correct my situation a little with minimal damage (in terms of money and time), but it doesn't sound guaranteed from what I understood from your reply, unless the details given above change the situation.

    I'm also thinking to do some self-teaching in some programming languages, and go back to focus on computer stuff. Will that be better than continuing my current path as a PhD in EE with/without MBA?
     
  5. Aug 26, 2016 #4

    SteamKing

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    It's not clear, with your advanced degrees in EE and a bachelors in Computer Engineering, why your education excludes you from competing with others for software/hardware engineering.

    I think additional exposure to SW/HW engineering courses would be more beneficial to you than spending time acquiring an MBA. People can find MBAs to hire all over the place (who do you think got downsized in the Great Recession?), but it takes a fair amount of training (and importantly work experience) to produce a good engineer, whether it is in wireless communication or SW/HW engineering.
     
  6. Aug 26, 2016 #5

    StatGuy2000

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    S_David, help me understand this. You have a Bsc in Computer Engineering and a PhD in Electrical Engineering. What is your current employment status? Are you currently unemployed? As SteamKing pointed out in the above quote, I don't see how, given your education, you can't compete with others for software or hardware engineering jobs in your area.

    Second of all, where are you currently located? If you can't find a job that would appeal to you locally, why not relocate, or is that an option not available to you?
     
  7. Aug 26, 2016 #6
    My experience is only in theoretical research. In the industry they need 3+ years of practical experience at least, which I don't have. Also, I haven't been in touch with computer theory since I graduated 10+ years ago. I'm not unemployed currently, but I'm looking for better options.
     
  8. Aug 26, 2016 #7

    SteamKing

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    You seem like a smart guy.

    The basics will always be the basics. What you need is to fill in the gaps of your knowledge of the latest in HW/SW development tools and devices.

    New chips and new development tools are always coming available in this field. I'm pretty sure it's the same deal with wireless comm.
     
  9. Aug 26, 2016 #8
    That's why I'm asking. I need to invest my time in something. But I'm not sure if I shall continue in EE (which is easier for me because I'm already in the cutting edge technology, at least in theory), or go back to computer materials (which will take me some time to catch up and master the theory), or get an MBA.

    What about the practical experience in both fields? How can one get a job with this requirement? You still need it even if you know all the theory, right?
     
  10. Aug 26, 2016 #9

    SteamKing

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    It's a typical Catch-22. Employers want to hire candidates with experience, but which employers are willing to give new graduates the opportunity to get some experience?

    That's why internships/summer jobs can be very useful to a person looking to start a career.

    I still don't see how an MBA is going to bring you current with developments in computer HW/SW development.
     
  11. Aug 26, 2016 #10
    I'm not sure myself. I asked this as a question.
     
  12. Aug 26, 2016 #11

    StatGuy2000

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    When you talk about 3+ years of practical experience, are you talking about what is required for the job you're trying to apply to, or about the work experience required to qualify for the PE license (or the P.Eng license if you're in Canada)?

    If the former, then the 3+ years is more of a "wish list" than a firm requirement. I would suggest going ahead with applying to as many positions as possible, as well as network if your fellow engineering students, professors, etc, not to mention attending conferences to see what opportunities are available.

    I should also add that as far as software engineering is concerned, it's highly unlikely you will have to work directly with "computer theory" (if by that you mean theoretical computer science e.g. theory of algorithms). If you can program (which all computer engineers & electrical engineers should be able to do), then I don't see why you should have difficulty in finding employment in that sector.
     
  13. Aug 26, 2016 #12
    Yes, it's the former; a requirement for the job. I skipped many jobs advertisements because of this experience, but also because I miss some skills. Because of my master and PhD in EE I'm very good in MATLAB. I knew very good C++/C# in my undergrad, but I forgot it all. I'm trying to re-visit them. When I said computer theory, I meant for hardware design using VHDL for example. I was familiar with this as well in my undergrad in Computer Architecture courses. Again, I forgot it all. Conferences are usually all academia, and the best I can get is a postdoc position since the competition on faculty positions is very high. I think in the industry I have more benefits at all levels.
     
  14. Aug 27, 2016 #13
    Having an MBA makes sense when employers are going to consider you for management jobs.
     
  15. Aug 28, 2016 #14

    StatGuy2000

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    Then my suggestion would be to re-visit and become familiar with C++/C#, as well as programming in new languages such as Python, Java, etc. Ideally you can do this while you are working as a postdoc. I would suggest (if you haven't done so already) setting up a github account where you can post your code on various projects you've worked on your own (whether it be in code in MATLAB, or new projects you are working on in C++/C#, Python, etc.). There are various refresher programming courses also available online, (e.g. Coursera, edX, Codeacademy) that you can look into,

    I would also suggest contacting recruiters for engineering positions (you should find those specializing in engineering positions online), as well as getting in touch with classmates whom you've graduated with in engineering (both at the undergraduate level, as well as fellow grad students) and network about positions available, and apply to absolutely every position available for software positions, with especial focus on scientific programming/computing positions (given your background in MATLAB -- MATLAB experience is often sought after in finance type jobs, for example).

    As far as conferences are concerned, for the American Statistical Association (of which I'm a member), employers from both academia and industry often show up touting the various positions, in places like the Joint Statistical Meeting (held once a year). I'm sure IEEE or ACM should have similar types of conferences -- you should definitely attend these and reach out to employers who are manning the booths there.

    As far as I'm concerned, an MBA degree is a waste of time until you are already working full time for a number of years. Once you are at that stage, then you can consider an MBA degree, preferably with your employer paying for the program.
     
  16. Aug 29, 2016 #15
    Thanks for you responses. Now I'm more inclined to focus on my fields of study (past and current) rather than exploring new ones. Also thanks for the hint that the experience required in the industry doesn't have to be met. As I said, I skipped many jobs opportunities because of this.
     
  17. Sep 5, 2016 #16

    russ_watters

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    Here's the dirty little secret about job requirements on job postings (particularly in an up economy): they don't exist. They are just wishes.

    And even if they did exist, the extra education is generally counted similar to experience.
     
  18. Sep 5, 2016 #17
    Thank you. As I stated before, most job opportunities I've found are in the computer's domain: hardware and software development and verification. But I have an advanced degree in wireless communication (Electrical engineering), and I finished my computer engineering degree 9+ years ago. Are you saying with this little experience, and probably forgotten knowledge, I still have a chance to secure a job in the computer's field? In some jobs' descriptions, I have little or no skills whatsoever to perform what they require. Will they train me for example? and if yes, will I be compensated for during this training period?
     
  19. Sep 5, 2016 #18

    russ_watters

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    Well I wouldn't say it like that in the interview, but yes if that is what you are looking for and your undergrad fits you have decent odds. Your biggest issue seems like that you don't really know what you want to do and/or how to go about it, so you just keep piling-up degrees that may or may not help you. Either way, my advice is to widen your net when searching for a job.
    That's entirely job specific. Ask them (or it will say on the description).
     
  20. Sep 5, 2016 #19
    I expressed my regret switching from computer to electrical. At the time I wasn't completely aware of my chances in the job market. I switched for the sheer reason that I like mathematics. Now after finishing my PhD, and doing 2 years as a postdoc, I realized that computer engineering has much better chance in the job market. I cannot go for ever as a postdoc. First it's temp, and second it doesn't pay well. That's all. I'm trying to fix my mistake to get a decent job. That's why I came here to ask how with the least damage. I was advised not to go for MBA. So, now I eliminated this from my list of options. Now all I left with is theoretical knowledge in both computer and electrical engineering with little or no practical experience outside academia. I've applied to several jobs that I have no skills whatsoever in them. I've applied only because they asked a computer degree. I'm not sure what will happen, but that's all I got now. I'm trying to familiarize myself with programming and other stuff again, but it's going to take time, and there are many things that I cannot focus on one thing, because I'm not sure if I will be ended in hardware or software design/verification. So, yes, I'm lost in a sense.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2016
  21. Sep 6, 2016 #20

    russ_watters

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    I'm sorry, but I'm just not understanding this bleak view. There are something on the order of 300,000 electrical engineers in the US and at any one time probably 15,000 open jobs. Based on your education you should be qualified for several thousand of them.

    Most people, when they get their first job, require on the job training either formally or informally because most people have no practical experience when the come out of college. And "I have no skills whatsoever in them" just plain isn't possible for a job that has education requirements that match part of your education. You must be exhibiting tunnel vision.

    Does the college you graduated from have career counselors? I think you need someone to sit down with you and look at your qualifications, the types of jobs that are out there and the types you are applying to. Because what you are saying just isn't making any sense.
    [edit]
    I searched Monster for "electrical engineer" within a 20 mile radius of my city (Philadelphia) and got back just under 1,000 jobs. If you live near a decent sized city, you should literally have hundreds of jobs you can apply for.

    This one was third down on the list:
    http://job-openings.monster.com/mon...eefdb981?mescoid=1700169001001&jobPosition=5#
     
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