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Masters Degree?

Masters Degree?

Masters Degree?

(OP)
I am some-what freshly out of school and am looking into masters programs to further my education and hopefully advance my career.

I was wondering if anyone had any input/suggestions as to what to go for. I am currently looking into either engineering management/financial engineering but I was wondering if maybe going for a more specialized program (structural engineering) would be a better idea in the long run. Not sure if anyone had any input or experience themselves with this that could pitch in.

Thanks a lot!

RE: Masters Degree?

I completed an MS in Engineering & Technology Management at Colorado School of Mines. Sort of a hybrid program between an MBA and an Operations Research/Industrial Engineering degree.

Working as a technical path engineer, it hasn't had a lot of special credential value for me (as far as I'm aware), and probably wouldn't have much practical value in a large company unless I went down the project management path. That said, I work for a small company with an empowering owner, and it's definitely opened up doors for me to have input in our marketing plan, strategic decisions, that sort of thing. It was also of personal interest to me (I've always had a mind for business). Also, if/when I do end up in project management, I definitely can see that it will be beneficial there.

I also completed an MS in Engineering (structural/geotech). This has had a lot of credential value (required for my last two jobs to be considered as an applicant), and fairly substantial practical value. Sure, I don't use grad-level material (soil dynamics, fracture analysis) in my day to day work, but having that knowledge and background helps with communicating why certain calculations are important or can be neglected.

And honestly, after a 4 year BS in Civil Engineering (focused in structures and geotech), I felt there was a lot of material I still didn't have much background in -- we're just too broad a profession. I somehow graduated without any steel design, and only two geotech classes. (Not to mention water resources or transportation, which aren't my focus anyway). The MS in Engineering definitely helped me round out my academic knowledge.

Hope that helps!

RE: Masters Degree?

My best guess is that about 5 years into your career you will "feel" a need for an advanced or specialized
degree. If you continue on the technical path, the MS in Structural Engineering is very helpful...maybe necessary.
"These days" a BS in Engineering is almost (I emphasize; ALMOST) like a high school degree for the previous
generation.
If your career paths veers off towards management, then you will probably appreciate either an MBA degree (general management or Project Management focused). The finance / accounting that goes along with that will be helpful. Otherwise, a Masters in Industrial Engineering focused on project controls and management.

The ideal situation is BS-Engineering, MS-Engineering, then MBA, but for many people that is too much time
(and cost) spent in college.

RE: Masters Degree?

If you have a BS in engineering , an MS in a growing engineering field may be a good option. There are many opportunities in the field of water treatment using membrane technology and bioreactors , and water shortages are expected to be the next big area of concern for the next 100 yrs, so job security is likely.

"In this bright future, you can't forget your past..." Bob Marley

RE: Masters Degree?

But you'll look back 50 years from now and be like "I did water treatment my whole life."

RE: Masters Degree?

Quote (Belgiancadengineer)

But you'll look back 50 years from now and be like "I did water treatment my whole life."

Or... "I spent my life improving and increasing access to a scarce resource essential to human survival, bringing a safer and higher living standard to millions of people."

Glass half full... No pun intended.

RE: Masters Degree?

Back on topic, SEA0822, I personally don't have a grad degree, and in my current career path, I won't need one. However, based on my own experience and other young engineers I know well(five previous college roommates), I can tell you that the management side is a much more common, lucrative, and accessible way forward than high level technical engineering. One of my buddies is already a project manager at a large engineering firm. His only way forward on the technical side at this point is becoming a company wide specialist - a consultant within a consulting firm, specializing on a very narrow expertise and providing support for any and all related projects. His other path is up through management. More pay, less work, and better on the resume should he ever leave the company. Specializing to a great extent can make it harder to find work if you ever need to.

So those are the bigger-better-career considerations if that's what your priority is. If you just want to enjoy yourself, then it's purely a personal question. Do you prefer interactions with people or calculators? Do you consider yourself a big-picture person or a detail-oriented person? Do you want to spend most of your time at a desk, on your feet, in a vehicle, on a plane...? Many of these decisions will not even be your own at the beginning of your career, but you can set yourself up for the path you want by choosing the right degree. Good luck!

RE: Masters Degree?

Quote (FoxRox)

"I spent my life improving and increasing access to a scarce resource essential to human survival, bringing a safer and higher living standard to millions of people."

Two shoes upsidedown

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