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Torn In All Directions Any Advice?

  1. May 29, 2009 #1

    So for weeks now, I've been trying to put together a career plan of sorts, and I'm just seeing a lot of options without a clearly best choice. Maybe someone wiser than I can help me out.

    I'm a rising senior in nuclear (and radiological) engineering, but I don't know whether I should go to grad school in nuclear, go to grad school in another field (most likely mechanical), or get a job and wait to get an MBA, or get an MBA after a masters. I'm in a BS/MS program at my school, so that is definitely a viable option (but it will cost out-of-state tuition, lest I get funding). I've come to determine that I pretty much hate doing research...maybe that's just my professor and research area, but I've pretty much ruled out of Ph.D. track from my list. I could go to grad school in my home state (VA) for much cheaper, maybe get an ME or EE masters or something. I'm also considering branching off into health physics, which would open up a few more doors than pure nuclear engineering itself.

    I would definitely like to get more into management at some point, so I do foresee an MBA along the line...hopefully. I'm not sure how advantageous that would be from a nuclear background; I feel like a more general engineering background (like ME) would make more use of it. Looking at graduate program curricula, NE programs (particularly for my program) seems to appeal more than most things, but that's just based on course and subject names (I tend to deceive myself based on how things sound versus how they really are). Most schools have HP and NE curriculum so separate that you have to choose immediately with less room for combination.

    When it comes down to it, I feel/realize that most jobs completely suck, but I do want solid security and promotion potential, which scares me a little bit about nuclear. Especially with the government and economy performing questionably. Any advice is extremely helpful, and I thank you for your help.


  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 20, 2009 #2
    I'd say go for health physics because that is in your path and also because the health sector is such an expanding field in many directions and will only become more so. And I wouldn't worry about the MBA for now. The best way to get an MBA in the XXI century is to get the company to pay for you to do an exec. MBA after your management potential has been confirmed. Good luck.
  4. Aug 21, 2009 #3


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    Someone posted a few weeks back that health related physics isn't a good idea.
  5. Aug 21, 2009 #4


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    There's nothing wrong with health physics as far as a career decision. The demand for health physicists or radiation safety officers is fairly stable because these are positions that are mandated by legislation. In general, wherever you have a radiation facility, you need to implement a radiation safety program and these are run by health physicists.

    It's stable, pays well, is generally low stress, and while it may not be the most exciting field in the world, you can end up doing investigative work or assisting in facility design which can be interesting.
  6. Aug 21, 2009 #5
    Why not apply straight to management jobs? Go be a supervisor at a factory somewhere, or join a corporate leadership program. Recruiters for management type positions don't care what flavor engineer you are. They do care that you have proven quantitative skills and completed a tougher program than the other majors who are applying.

    Try to look outside the box a bit and see which employers are looking for engineers. You don't have to go into engineering, and it doesn't sound like you want to become the nuclear industry's foremost expert on fuel refining technology or whatever. Luckily, you don't even have to start down that path if you're not into it. You'll be much more successful in a job you enjoy. An ME is mostly only useful for staying in a technical engineering track.

    Undergrad engineers are in high demand, so except for very specialized positions, graduates with a BS go to the same engineering jobs as graduates with an MS.
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2009
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