Monday, February 6, 2012

In Today’s Economy Should An Engineer Pursue An MS Or An MBA?


Most if not all students who are completing their engineering do wonder what they need to do after their engineering, i.e. pursue education or take up a job. If it is pursuing higher education, there is always confusion on what to study. One key factor triggering this trend to pursue higher education is the global recession which has made the job market tighter. Mere engineering graduation is not enough to land a good job.

However this question should not be based on the value of the degree but more on what the person wishes to do. If an engineer does not wish to become a manager ever but would prefer to climb the technology ladder or pursue academics as a career option, it is obvious that an MBA would be a wrong choice and an MS makes more sense. However, if the engineer views his future in a managerial position where he or she will manage an end-to-end project or business center then an MBA is required. This is the best way to take the first step in deciding whether to choose an MBA or MS.

To help make a decision listed below are some of the key differences between the two programs for an engineer. An MS is a continuation to the engineering stream and provides for more in-depth knowledge. If the graduation has been completed in one’s own country, an MS in a foreign country adds to one’s resume’s weightage even as it provides a new experience of living abroad. MS is also more cost effective than an MBA.

MBA on the other hand is a brand new stream and therefore requires a paradigm shift in learning as the subjects, course content and even the way the course is conducted is very different from an engineering program. It is also a sure way to ensure a managerial position in an organisation. Engineers who obtain an MBA can move away from hard core programming and testing jobs to jobs in marketing, sales and business development where there is less programming but more opportunity to meet and interact with customers. This becomes especially interesting if the company’s customers are international as it provides for frequent travel to international locations. Engineers too get to travel to customers’ centers but it is more towards the final stages of a project when the call of duty can be stressful.

Another factor to be considered when deciding whether to pursue an MBA or an MS is the basic personality type of the person! A technology oriented person who is introverted and prefers to spend a lot of time in solving problems may find that MS provides that additional knowledge to understand and resolve engineering challenges. An outgoing personality may find a pure, hard core programming job lonely and depressing. Choosing a job profile which clashes with one’s personality is to set one up for failure in the long run. Hence people with more outgoing personalities will do well to pursue an MBA as the field opens up to choose different job streams within an engineering environment.

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