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Should I get MSEE, MBA or both?

  1. Dec 21, 2015 #1
    I am currently studying BS Audio & Music Engineering (EE with a musical focus, you can guess what school am at). I am a second semester freshman (as of Jan 2016).

    My school provides an option of a 4+1 program with MS in EE, of which I was considering, but my parents want me to get an MBA (father is BS CS + MBA from MIT and mom two years at MISiS and Business Administration at UIowa).

    My dream is to work in building and designing audio equipment and also work on complex EE design and innovation. I would love to work in a lab developing new technologies. I have also thought about starting my own audio engineering company like Bose Corporation, but I don't know how that will benefit society and improve life on earth (I think about that a lot when validating my life choices).

    What do you suggest? What experiences have you had with either BS + MBA, BS/MS, or BS/MS + MBA?
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2015
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 21, 2015 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    It's a tough one. Early in your career, an MBA does nothing for you - and extra technical education will - but later on, when you are ready to go into management or start your own business (age 30+ generally), an MBA would be useful. Of course, you could always go back for the MBA later. Either way, browse Monster.com and see what the educational requirements are for the jobs you want. Also:
    A lot of young people put a lot of thought into that. You really need to set it aside for now because when you are young, you are searching for a reason why you should work and not yet grasping just how important the primary reason for working is: making money. After you graduate, it will quickly become clear. And if, after 5 or 10 or 30 years you advance past the point where you need to worry about making money anymore, then you can re-visit improving the world.
  4. Dec 21, 2015 #3


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    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    Unless your primary goal is to get into some kind of business management role early on, I'm not sure than an MBA is going to do a lot for you. If your primary interest lies in the technical side of things then the skills and knowledge you would get from an MBA may become important later in your career, as Russ said. That would be if you got to the level of group or project management and even then, a lot can depend on the specifics of your situation as to whether an MBA would be of any benefit to you.

    Based on what you've said, I'd suggest you aim for the MS in EE. You can always pick up an MBA later in life. That's a degree that can be done part-time. And some employers will even pay you to do it.

    As to the "benefit society" question - my take is that this is something that just about anyone can do. Directly as an electrical and sound engineer you could look into options around audiology, or get involved with projects that reduce noise pollution or reduce distraction sounds. But your career doesn't even always have to have a direct and obvious benefit to it either. You could take a job that allows you to work on other projects that you're really passionate about in your down time. You could do volunteer work, coach, be a Big Brother or Big Sister, lead a scouting troop, etc. If you really want to make a positive difference in the world there's no shortage of opportunities to do that.
  5. Dec 22, 2015 #4
    Hey guys! Thanks for your detailed responses!

    What I meant by "benefiting society" was that my research or company's engineering impacted society in a deep and meaningful way. A good example in engineering is Fei-Fei Li's ImageNet project (I am not a computer scientist though).
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2015
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