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Path from Business to Engineering?

  1. Jan 27, 2008 #1
    Hi,

    I'm asking on behalf of a friend.

    We all know that a person with a Bachelor's degree in engineering/applied-science can apply for an MBA program, to then take their engineering base onto a business-oriented path. There are many technical managers who have come through this route, or managers in science-based companies.

    But what about doing the opposite -- starting off with a business degree (bachelor's) and taking some master's level program that will take your business base towards a more science/engineering-oriented path.

    Are there any known programs that will do this? They would have to be post-bachelor's programs, imho. Fair is fair after all -- if the B.Sc can get an MBA, then why can't the B.Com get a Master's in science/engineering?

    Comments, please?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 27, 2008 #2

    russ_watters

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    I know this will come of as elitist, but in engineering there is more to know that must be built on previous knowledge than in liberal arts. So while it is possible for an engineering student to take many mid to upper level busineess, poly sci, etc., courses and do fine, the reverse is not true. Engineering degrees typically also require more majors courses and more total courses than liberal arts degrees. The easist example is that some liberal arts majors don't take much, if any, calculus, but I'd say at least half of engineering courses require at least a 3-semester knowledge of it. You can't even take most sophomore introductory courses without it.

    I would think it would be possible to go back for a second bachelor's degree and the school may knock most of the free electives and core college courses off, but that would only reduce the load by a year, maybe a year and a half.

    This is the reason that it is more common for people to go the other way - get the technical degree first, then go for the MBA.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2008
  4. Jan 27, 2008 #3
    Heh, that's what I told my friend - engineering/science is harder to do than business, and so that's why the former can migrate into the latter, but not the other way. But then I thought, who's to say that each and every person who graduates from business isn't bright enough to become an engineer/scientist?

    If there were such an educational option, then many who have generic business degrees could adapt themselves to the changing technological environment. Because really, the principles of business are largely timeless and unchanging, while it's the science and technology which tend to change more over time. Therefore it would be more worthwhile for the economy to give businesspeople re-training/upgrades in science and technology, than to give science and technology people re-training/upgrades in the less changing world of business.

    Just some thoughts. Comments?
     
  5. Jan 27, 2008 #4

    russ_watters

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    It isn't about intelligence, it is about knowledge and they are just different types and depths. You might say business is wider, but engineering is deeper. And I wouldn't say that any given business major couldn't be an engineer - they just chose a different path.
     
  6. Jan 28, 2008 #5

    stewartcs

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    What kind of engineering? If your friend is interested in Computer Science, then he could obtain an Masters in Computer Science with an undergraduate degree in Business or whatever by taking bridge courses. NC State offers this degree. Of course the bridge courses, depending on your undergraduate degree, may be lengthy as you can imagine.

    Take a look here for more information plus the pre-req's (bridge courses).

    http://www.csc.ncsu.edu/academics/graduate/degrees/mcsdl.php

    CS
     
  7. Jan 28, 2008 #6
    It is even hard for someone with, say a Mechanical Engineering BS, to do a graduate program in Physics and vice-versa. The problem is the core courses that have a built-in sequence. Your friend could take one of the practice EIT exams or a practice subject GRE to see how well he does.
     
  8. Jan 28, 2008 #7

    chroot

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    A person with a business degree would be totally, completely unprepared for a masters' program in engineering. You're missing something like five or six math classes, circuit analysis, computer programming, etc.

    Some less prestigious graduate programs may still accept you, but you'll have to go take 8-10 undergraduate classes to catch up.

    - Warren
     
  9. Jan 28, 2008 #8
    Well, I heard from friends way back that the University of Waterloo, where I took chemical engineering, had later introduced bachelor's programs like "Business Science", which teaches both the business and science curricula together. Back when I took Chem Eng, the UW prided itself on its co-op work experience program giving its students an edge. But now everybody has co-op, including community colleges, so UW altered their programs to keep ahead of the competition.

    I'd be interested in hearing about other institutions which offer similar programs as "Business Science".
     
  10. Jan 29, 2008 #9

    FredGarvin

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    Business Science? I wonder if that is the same thing as programs I have seen titled Engineering Management?

    There really is going to be no way around the needed pre-reqs. Does a business major even know what a statics class is or covers? There would be some serious catch up work to do.
     
  11. Jan 29, 2008 #10

    stewartcs

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    I had a statistics class when I got my first degree (business admin). However, it wasn't quite the same as the one I had to take when I received my engineering degree later in life.

    Additionally, if you look at the core classes required for an engineering degree, other than those a lot of the courses you take in a liberal arts program cross over (English, literature, arts, philosophy, foreign language, etc). So by taking the missing core course, although quite a few (around 10 probably), it is not as impossible as one might think.

    CS
     
  12. Jan 29, 2008 #11

    chroot

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    He didn't say statistics, he said statics. Business majors would never normally study such things.

    - Warren
     
  13. Jan 29, 2008 #12

    stewartcs

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    Opps! I skimmed over that too fast! Sorry!

    CS
     
  14. Jan 29, 2008 #13

    Mech_Engineer

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    Engineering Management (as offered at the University of Arizona), while not a "real" engineering degree in my opinion, might give a business student a view into the engineering world without the need of too many catch-up courses.

    EM is basically a major that splits classes between engineering and business, with some basic pre-reqs in each. I'm not sure I see it as a very useful primary major to have, but as a second major it could be somewhat useful.
     
  15. Jan 29, 2008 #14

    stewartcs

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    I have minor in Engineering Management, it's useful if you want your career path to tend toward management instead of actual engineering work. It makes you upwardly mobile so to speak.

    CS
     
  16. Jan 29, 2008 #15

    russ_watters

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    [edit: sounds like different schools use the same names differently for these majors. That's actually a concern I have about Drexel's "Engineering Management" degree - it appears to me to be an MBA for engineers, but can I sell it that way to prospective employers or am I better off with an actual MBA?]
    No. "Engineering Management" is far more a business degree than "Business science" is a science degree. As I understand it, it is essentially an MBA targeted at engineers. And it's a graduate degree - you have to be an engineer first. http://www.coeonline.drexel.edu/egmt/index.php

    But maybe you're thinking of degrees like "Business and engineering" degree, which is under the college of business: http://www.lebow.drexel.edu/Prospects/Undergraduate/Programs/Engineering.php

    I posted links to Drexel because I went there. Drexel is on the quarter system, but the math courses (5) represent 3.5 typical semesters, so it is pretty good there, but there are only 6 (equivalent of 4 semester courses) actual engineering courses. Basically, it's just about a sophomore level engineering education - you wouldn't have even picked a major yet in a normal engineering discipline.

    From what I've seen/heard, "business and engineering" is mostly just a good way for those who wash-out of engineering to not fall behind the curve for graduation.

    Contrast that with the "engineering managment" curriculum, which is essentially all business, just with all the examples and case studies being from engineering companies: http://www.coe-online.drexel.edu/egmt/Courses.php

    Even for someone with the requisite math skills (my sister, for example, double-majored in Business and Math), that still doesn't get you through your sophomore year as an engineer. There are just too many total courses and courses-on-top-of-courses that need to be taken in series.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2008
  17. Jan 29, 2008 #16

    chroot

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    He said STATICS, for the love of God, not STATISTICS.

    - Warren
     
  18. Jan 29, 2008 #17

    russ_watters

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    Saw it right after I posted it and fixed it... :redface:
     
  19. Jan 29, 2008 #18

    FredGarvin

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    Thanks Warren. I can stop beating my head on the keyboard.
     
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