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Would you go back to get an MBA, if you already MS?

Would you go back to get an MBA, if you already MS?

Would you go back to get an MBA, if you already MS?

I am considering going back and get an MBA, but do I really need it is the question. I already have my MS, PE and MLSE certification.

Need some advice.

RE: Would you go back to get an MBA, if you already MS?

Do you plan on moving to the business management side of things?  If not, few companies may care about such things in those cases.    If you're going into engineering management, it may help some if you're at a high enough level that your decisions have a major impact on the company (you have a better feel for how it will effect it financially).

I've considered it on and off for years, but I always came back to "I'm an engineer, not a stuffed shirt".

Dan - Owner

RE: Would you go back to get an MBA, if you already MS?

Depends.  On you career goals, and the current management perception of what training & knowledge someone needs.

I got the Master's in Engineering, but never wanted to get the MBA.  Even though all my engineer friends who did the MBA said it was a cakewalk compared to Engineering.  Would an MBA have been useful?  Not really, at least on the path that my career took over the years.

What I DID do, though, was collect some sort of bogus certificate by taking a series of casual classes in business subjects.  Six weeks each, two nights a week.  And the subjects I took were Accounting for non-Financial Managers I & II, Financial Analysis I & II, Purchasing Management, Marketing, and...umm...something else that obviously didn't make a mental impact.

I have stayed generally in the Engineering side of things, but now I can discuss company finances at a higher level with the CFO & CEO, do business planning, budgeting, understand Bean Counter Lunacy and the subsequent company decisions that are made because of it, and have the ability to argue my case in their language.  

And now I laugh even harder at those folks that are in Marketing because I know how they are trained. bigsmile

Blue Technik LLC
Virtuoso Robotics Engineering

RE: Would you go back to get an MBA, if you already MS?

It depends on whether you want to strike on your own or you want that corner office and corporate life.  In the former case you don't need it. In the latter case it will certainly help.


RE: Would you go back to get an MBA, if you already MS?

Can't spell "scumbag" without "MBA".

RE: Would you go back to get an MBA, if you already MS?

Reasons to get an MBA:

MBA is essential to getting promoted from lower middle to upper middle management in big companies, because it trains you the language those guys speak.  In this case, any old MBA will do.

MBA from a good school will put you in classes with other people who are going to be good to have in your rolodex, and might get you a job opportunity closer to the money and away from engineering.

Reasons not to get an MBA:

Because you think you'll learn anything useful you couldn't learn on your own in a tenth the time.


Hydrology, Drainage Analysis, Flood Studies, and Complex Stormwater Litigation for Atlanta and the South East - http://www.campbellcivil.com

RE: Would you go back to get an MBA, if you already MS?

Airlines seem to encourages MBAs.  It's probably good if you want to remain in the mother hive and try to climb.  

Airlines (and many other companies) are not technology companies.  An engineer at an airline is in the technical division of a transportation company.   

I don't believe it in any way ensures that someone will be a good critical business thinker when the time comes.

In fact, I'm willing to believe it's just the opposite.  Equipped with the vocabulary of business, some folks seem to be come more susceptible to a polished pitch for goods, services, financial methods, or solutions that don't address the root cause, fit the need, or make good business sense.  

Business school professors usually have not owned or run a successful business. The get degrees, write papers and work as consultants.

Most of them have never had to make the payroll every week.  

I see it as a way to offer an engineer training that really doesn't help them develop skills that would let them move on and command higher salaries in a technical field.



RE: Would you go back to get an MBA, if you already MS?

I actually went for my MBA right after getting my engineering degree because I thought that it would be helpful to have the framework starting my own business.  I thought it was a little (but not complete) waste of time.  The traditional theory is to get some work experience before MBA, but I disregarded that because I was working for myself anyways.  The problem was really that I didn't find much of it beneficial.  Even the professors themselves told me that a lot of the stuff we spent so much time learning wasn't used in the real world, leaving me to ask myself "Why am I learning it then?"

Plus I don't really know how essential it is to have an MBA even if you do want to make the transition.  I have heard the most successful  business people in general don't have an MBA.  In fact I found a statistic that less than a third of CEOs (and top executives in general) even have MBAs.

It depends what you are trying to move into.  Even if you want to make the switch to investment banking a lot of the time you will be able to get in with just your quantitative skills which will be in high demand.  If you really know what you are looking to do in business, you could consider a specialized degree such as a masters in finance or marketing instead.  These tend to be in higher demand, although the tradeoff of course is that they are less versatile.

Kalen Smith

RE: Would you go back to get an MBA, if you already MS?

Those who can do, Do
Those who can't do, Teach
Those who can't teach, Consult

"Wildfires are dangerous, hard to control, and economically catastrophic."

Ben Loosli

RE: Would you go back to get an MBA, if you already MS?

Yes, MBA's are generally for corporate bureaucrats.

The other thing you can do with an MBA if you want to make loads of money is work on Wall St. You can become a quant/trader/analyst. Trading is so technical now that you really have to be an engineer to keep up with it. Banks and hedge funds hire lots of engineers with MBA's. A guy that I used to work with in an engineering consulting firm did his MBA at Harvard, and left the firm to work for Bank of America  doing private equity. In 2006, his bonus was $300,000 with his two years of tenure with the industry. You can't do that in regular engineering!

If you are going to go down that path, and its quite a separate path, you need to do a focus in finance.

RE: Would you go back to get an MBA, if you already MS?

Complete waste of time.

RE: Would you go back to get an MBA, if you already MS?

I am nearly finished with my Masters of Science in Mechanical Engineering. I briefly considered doing a MBA but decided I like doing engineering rather than management. I've decided to go for a Master of Science in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering next.

My company is paying 100% of tuition and books for both degrees so the only thing it costs me is time.

Cedar Bluff Engineering

RE: Would you go back to get an MBA, if you already MS?

I just read a book called "The Management Myth".  A good portion of it rips business schools and the MBA education process.  It says that MBA schools are always chasing the last business fad. This book implies that a good generalist education would be more appropriate for the real business world.
I'd say that observation and common sense will provide the best business training.  You might make some good connections in business school and learn some good jargon.  Is that worth the time?

RE: Would you go back to get an MBA, if you already MS?

Well there is a significant difference between a person with an engineering undergrad degree who gets an MBA and your typical business or finance undergrad who gets an MBA.  It is not the MBA that colors the thinking as much as the undergraduate focus that shapes so much of our long term perspective on things.  The MBA is not to blame.

Your average engineer is not really trained to manage and many engineers have a sort of ego-laced and introverted personality from always being the 'smart one'.  Just take a look at the threads here about the 'value' of seeking a PE to see how abrasive things can get even amongst fellow engineers.  In undergraduate school the industrial engineers were often jokingly called 'imaginary engineers' because they dealt with things like process, flow, quality, etc instead of RMS voltage, principal stresses, and conjugate beams.  It doesn't take much imagination to extrapolate how disdainfully many of these some people feel about the even 'softer sciences'.  

Getting an MBA from a quality set of instructors can open engineers up to a whole new set of ideas and tools that when combined with a technical background can be pretty powerful, IF they don't spend the whole time thinking about how it is just a bunch of buzzwords and hype.  At the least it will give an engineer significant insight into how management thinks and better equip them to deal with it effectively.

One thing engineers should be loathe to forget is that by and large their employment futures are going to be determined by people from these 'softer sciences'. Chances are, if you get laid off from a company it will be an MBA doing it.


RE: Would you go back to get an MBA, if you already MS?

Greg you are absolutely right.  Even if management is not in your career plan, engineers can really learn alot from an MBA program.  One example that comes to mind is being able to speak to Management, using their language, in order to get what you want.  An engineer's job is to design equipment that is safe, operable and maintainable.  A manager's job is to cut costs.  An engineer who can speak in financial terms to the bean counters is an engineer who can get his way on design/cost conflicts more often than not.

Also, many engineers I know went to get their MBA purely to build their contact list.  Alot now own their own businesses and probably would not have made it off the ground were it not for the relationships they built in MBA school.

RE: Would you go back to get an MBA, if you already MS?

I think it is extremely dependent on your own set of circumstances and timing.

For me, I seriously considered it twice, however in hindsight, given the economic situation I am glad I stuck to the technical aspect.  Experienced technical people in my field are now in extreme demand whereas several close engineering friends of mine who took that management road are now out of work.

I find experience finally counts and if you have people skills combined with reasonable solutions it will bear fruit.


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