Earning an MBA in engineering generally means that you will be working as a manager or director of engineering for your organization. An engineering manager is a highly experienced business and engineering professional who is a supervisor of the engineers and engineering projects in a company. The engineering manager usually heads the guidance of engineering design decisions and also helps to implement engineering projects. These managers provide oversight of the engineering project work that is performed and will also often work with customers to ensure that project goals are met.
What Is Engineering Management?
Engineering management is a highly specialized type of management that is needed to successfully lead technical and engineering personnel and projects. Engineering management can involve either functional management or project management. Engineering managers need to have training and experience in business management and engineering. He or she needs to have the business and engineering management skills to coach, mentor and motivate engineering professionals. Most engineering management professionals hone these skills in an engineering MBA program.
The US and world economy are on the upswing, and employment of all architectural and engineering workers are on the rise. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that employment in this general field is expected to grow by 7% through 2026, which is about as fast as average when compared to other occupations. It is expected that 194,000 new jobs will be created in engineering in this time.
As more companies are expanding engineering project work, it is natural there will be more need for experienced engineering managers.
There are many different career areas of engineering where those with an MBA in engineering can work, depending upon their exact speciality in the graduate program. One of the broadest types of engineering today is mechanical engineering. BLS reports there are 288,800 mechanical engineers employed in the US today. The biggest employers of these workers were in these areas:
- Architectural engineering and related services: 22%
- Machinery manufacturing: 13%
- Transportation equipment manufacturing: 12%
- Scientific research and development services: 7%
- Computer and electronic product manufacturing: 7%
According to Payscale.com, engineering managers earn a median salary of $112,300, and the salary range is between $77,000 and $150,000. The salary for this occupation can change as your experience grows. For example:
- Engineering managers with less than five years of experience earn $91,000.
- Engineering managers with five to 10 years of experience earn $111,000
- An engineering manager with 10 to 20 years of experience earn $119,000
- Engineering managers with more than 20 years of experience earn $115,000
Engineering managers and general engineers also can find different levels of salary depending upon the city in which they work.
For example, the salary for a mechanical engineer across the US is $69,400, but this salary can change based upon living in these areas:
- San Francisco: +17%
- Houston: +12%
- Seattle: +12%
- San Diego: +6%
- Detroit: +6%
- Los Angeles: +5%
- Boston: +3%
Online Degree Programs
If you already have your bachelor’s degree in engineering, it is likely that you are working in a full time job. Being employed has in the past made it more challenging to earn a master’s degree or MBA. But today, there are many options for earning an online MBA in engineering.
For example, Southern New Hampshire University offers an online MBA in Engineering in partnership with Worcester Polytechnic Institute, which is one of the most prestigious private technical universities in the country. This innovative, online MBA has been designed by SNHU to meet the great demand for managers who can lead an engineering department or project.
This MBA in engineering management degree will give you the skills and experience of a graduate business management program in addition to specialized skills in engineering management. You will learn how to make informed and successful engineering business decisions that improve efficiency, performance and effectiveness in an engineering environment.
Some of the required courses include:
- Introduction to Engineering for Engineering Managers
- Systems Thinking for Engineering Managers
- Project Leadership for Engineering Managers
- Systems Engineering and Business Practices
If you want to eventually earn your MBA in engineering and do not have experience in engineering yet, you will need to first earn a bachelor’s degree in engineering. Fortunately, you can get your bachelor’s in engineering online from many quality universities. For example. Arizona State University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering that will provide you with specialty courses in analog and digital circuits, electromagnetic fields, microprocessors, communications networks, solid state electronics and electric power and energy systems.
Most professionals who want to be managers in an engineering environment earn an MBA in engineering. However, there are other graduate school options to consider. Penn State World Campus offers an online Master of Engineering Management degree that will provide you with leadership and management skills to guide engineering project teams. Through this two year, online program, you can combine your technical expertise with vital business and management skills to fill the need in the industry for skilled business management professionals in all areas of engineering.
Students who enter this program typically have a degree in engineering, mathematics, physics or science and at least three years of work experience that shows you have the skills to manage complicated engineering projects, services and products.
Required courses include:
- Creativity and Problem Solving
- Decision and Risk
- Engineering Management Science
- Engineering Management Strategy
- Financial Studies for Engineering
- Organizational Behavior
- Technical Project Management
Each university has different curriculum to enter its MBA in engineering program. But these programs are typically competitive, and you will need strong qualifications including:
- Bachelor’s degree in engineering, mathematics or science
- 0 GPA or higher
- GRE scores usually are required
- College transcripts
- Strong recommendations from employers and professors
- Resume with suitable work experience
- Writing samples
Each program will have its own curriculum. At Syracuse University, these are some of the required courses in the MBA in engineering program:
- IT for Decision Support
- Understanding Financial Statements
- Economic Foundation of Business
- Managerial Skills
- Creating Financial Statements
- Financial Markets and Institutions
- Supply Chain Management
Students are also required to complete a series of six to eight classes in the engineering specialty of their choosing.
There is strong demand for engineering management professionals today. That is why you can find a lot of grants and scholarships available for business engineering students. This is very important to help you to keep the cost of your graduate education within reason. Below are some current options:
- AAUW Career Development Grants: $2000 to $12,000
- Charles T. Bauer MBA Scholarships: $10,000
- Credit Suisse MBA Fellowship Program: $30,000
- Dennis W. and Jane B. Carlton Fellowship: $30,000
- Forte Fellows Program: Various
- Gerardo Werthein Scholarship Fund: $5000 to $12,000
- Little Family Foundation Scholarship: Various
- Mary E. Lockwood Beneventi MBA Scholarship: $2000
After you have completed your MBA in engineering, you may want to earn one of the following business certifications to enhance your skills even further:
- Financial Risk Manager (FRM)
- Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)
- Certification in Risk Management Assurance (CRMA)
- Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM)
- Project Management Professional (PMP)
After you have earned your MBA, you can increase your networking and career opportunities in these associations:
- National Society of Professional Engineers
- American Association of Engineering Societies
- Engineering Association
- American Society of Civil Engineers
- American Society of Mechanical Engineers
Engineers who develop business management skills in an MBA program will be in great demand for engineering project management for many years in the future. This type of MBA is a very effective way to increase your salary and desirability in the job market. For more information on highly ranked online MBA programs in Engineering, visit the Editors’ Choice Online MBA Programs for 2019.
- Architecture and Engineering Occupations. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/home.htm
- MBA in Engineering. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.snhu.edu/online-degrees/masters/mba-online/mba-in-engineering-management
- Mechanical Engineer. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/OOH/architecture-and-engineering/mechanical-engineers.htm
- MBA in Engineering. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://whitman.syr.edu/programs-and-academics/programs/whitman-mba-experience/fulltime-mba-experience/curriculum/dualprograms/engineeringmba/index.aspx
- Master of Engineering Management. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.worldcampus.psu.edu/degrees-and-certificates/engineering-management-masters/overview