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Engineering and finance/accounting career path

Engineering and finance/accounting career path

Engineering and finance/accounting career path

Hi everyone,

I am currently in my penultimate (4th) year of electrical engineering and accounting and i am quite unsure about my future career path. Originally i was only taking on electrical engineering but my father who recently retired from engineering encouraged me to take on accounting aswell as it will provide more opportunities. I trusted him with his advice and all is well so far.

However, I am still a bit unsure of what I would be able to do with these 2 degrees when I finish and what type of companies will find these two disciplines of use to them.

Do you agree/disagree with this degree choice? or did you or someone you know land in a scenario similar to this?

Any advice will be greatly appreciated!

Thanks fellas!


RE: Engineering and finance/accounting career path

It sounds like you could be on the fast track on the managerial side or just on the finance side all together for an engineering company, if finance is your thing.  I have a friend who has a BS in EE but has a Masters in finance and now he is riding high with the big wigs in our company.


"If you avoid failure, you also avoid success."  

RE: Engineering and finance/accounting career path

For your first job out of school, I would advise you to try to work on the engineering technical side.  If you later decide to go into finance you will have some idea of how the design process works, and you will know if you like design.  The economy being what it is these days, you might not have much choice for your first job though.

If you end up staying technical, your accounting experience might still come in handy.  Life cycle cost analyses are going to become more and more important as infrastructure ages and owners need to decide whether to rehabilitate or replace it.      

RE: Engineering and finance/accounting career path

which do you like most ... Engineering or Finance ?

then your career paths would align ... technical or mgmt.

this isn't to say it's black and white, but there is very little grey ... very few mgmt types can do really technical work, few technical types like doing the mgmt stuff.

RE: Engineering and finance/accounting career path

For very senior director positions BMW like to take internal technical people and train them in commercial skills (including accounting). Their board of directors has a relatively high percentage of people with higher technical qualifications.

BMW say that it is fairly easy to teach someone who is strong technically to think like an accountant but almost impossible to do the reverse.

They seem to have done OK over the years.


RE: Engineering and finance/accounting career path

Most other companies don't work like this, with mixed results. I second a previous post which recommends a technical job to start with to better understand the process then drive headlong for mgt and finance - you'll have a lot more fun and if you learned anything when you were a 'mere techie' perhaps we will to when you are our boss.

A semi-retired accounting firm owner with experience in growing technology companies once said to me that accountants should never rule companies and should only ever advise. He said that this was because accountants can only evaluate things which have a direct monetary value (that's their job) and that many things in companies were valuable but were difficult to assign a monetary value to. Because it was difficult, no value was added, important things were thus completely off the accountants radar and expensive mistakes could and were made.

Good Luck.


RE: Engineering and finance/accounting career path


You have elegantly captured exactly what has happened where I work.  Not only do the accountants "rule", they go so far as to dictate how engineering is to be done (i.e., do as little as possible because it costs money).

For the most part, I ignore them and do things my way.  That's the only thing that keeps me going most days.



RE: Engineering and finance/accounting career path

Drop the Electrical Engineering thing. You will do much better just sticking with accounting.

RE: Engineering and finance/accounting career path

"it's accountancy that makes the world go round"

RE: Engineering and finance/accounting career path

accountancy would have my vote.

RE: Engineering and finance/accounting career path

I think you would also be qualified to explain the design the electric chair to  the accounting crooks that were responsible for the recent debacle sparked by their derivatives brainchild.

RE: Engineering and finance/accounting career path

I would say try out the electrical engineering side first.

I have always been interested in finance but could not stand the classes as most of the textbooks had some major flaws.  I always did bad on the econ tests as they didn't follow reality.  This may be a typical engineering student perspective of being able to find flaws in what you read.

So my good buddy is an investment banker in London doing very well for himself.  I have told him a few times over the years that if engineering doesn't work out I am going to get my MBA and join his profession.  He told me that as he understands, engineers make some of the best investment bankers, and companies know that.  Also he doesn't have an MBA, and he is managing people with MBA's.  So you might not even need an MBA to get your foot in the door.


Civil Development Group, LLC
Los Angeles Civil Engineering specializing in Hillside Grading

RE: Engineering and finance/accounting career path

Hi all,

Thanks everyone so much for the helpful advice, i think for now ill concentrate on electrical and if an opportunity comes up in finance some time down the road i may take it.

Again thanks again for all the help!


RE: Engineering and finance/accounting career path

Another way of saying what gwolf put, & to quote my Dad (who may have been misquoting Wilde), from when an accountant was made MD of his employer.

Quote (Kenat's Dad):

An accountant knows the price of everything but the value of nothing

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