News Karnataka
Saturday, November 27 2021


When Getting An MBA Is A Great Choice For Engineers

At first glance, engineering and an MBA don’t seem like they would go that well together! However, depending on what shape you want your career to take, the two disciplines can actually complement each other incredibly well.

Many engineers reach a point in their careers where they no longer want to solely focus on their technical skills but wish to move their career in a slightly different direction.

How is an MBA relevant for engineers?
MBAs are highly relevant to engineers as their careers progress. MBAs provide graduates with a knowledge of management, marketing, budgets, and accounting. All of these skill sets are highly valuable for people looking to move into any kind of management position, positions with budgetary responsibility, or even people looking to start their own business.

Engineers are technically minded and great at problem-solving. They are curious and used to working as a team. This is a great base for a solid career as a CEO, and with the skills that an MBA gives you on top, you’ll be unstoppable.

A great real-life example of this is Amazon’s CEO and founder, Jeff Bezos. His degree was in computer science and electrical engineering. He worked on wall street for four years, until he left his job to found Amazon. Bezos’ story is a great example of how the analytical mindset of an engineer lends itself perfectly to becoming a CEO.

To read more about what an MBA can do for you, click here.

Career change
There are countless examples of engineers who have used an MBA to change their careers. Some examples of the types of career changes that have been made possible through an MBA are:

  • Chris Gifford went from working full-time in the power generation sector to a senior risk consultant at an investment bank. Although the role in power generation did involve a lot of budgeting and forecasting, a highly technical background meant that Chris was often ‘pigeon-holed’ by hiring managers as a technical person and therefore he struggled to get the management roles that he applied for. Getting his MBA allowed him to move his career in the direction that he wanted and he is now able to help renewable projects get funding by recommending improvements to the projects.
  • In a similar way to Chris Gifford, Shell’s Dere Ogbe was able to use an MBA to move his career from a technical path onto a more strategic one. Prior to taking his MBA, he was a Senior Operations Excellence Engineer which is a highly technical role. He now works as a corporate strategy and portfolio consultant for Shell. He credits his MBA with providing him with the necessary strategic, financial, and commercial skills to move his career in the direction he wanted. 
  • Rob Deering, the CEO of Australia’s MeetBilly began his career with a degree in mechanical engineering. MeetBilly is an innovative use of technology that allows seniors to live in their homes independently for longer, while simultaneously giving their family peace of mind. Deering says that his MBA opened his mind to the other career opportunities that were available to him, and with giving him the skills that he needed to follow his dreams. 
  • Ian Peerless is the operations director of ExRobotics, a world leader in inspection robots. He graduated with a degree in civil engineering and worked for many years as a mechanical engineer for British Leyland. After enjoying a successful career for many years, he reached the point that many engineers do. Was it better for him to continue in pure engineering and try to work his way up into management? Or should he opt for a change in career? He chose to diversify and study for his MBA, which gave him the credibility to step into a management role and opened up the rest of his career for him.

Moving into management
The great thing about using your MBA to step into management is that it essentially means you can work in any sector. At that level, what is important is your management capability much more than any industry-specific knowledge you may have.

Once you move into management you are on the right path to one day become a C-Suite level executive – that is a CEO, CFO, or COO.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for top executives is $104,690 per year. This of course varies hugely depending on which sector you are working in and how much experience you have.

As a C-Suite executive, your role is to strategize and plan for the future of the organization you are working for. It can be a highly satisfying role, with plenty of opportunities to make decisions that take your company to new heights. On the flip side, of course, the job comes with quite a high level of stress! You are likely to be required to travel often and to work irregular hours.

The projection is that the requirement for executives of this level will grow by 4% between 2019 and 2029, which is about average growth. Of course, if you choose to start your own company rather than work for someone else’s, you can create your own opportunities!

What about the cost?
Embarking on an MBA is an expensive undertaking, so it’s worth really thinking about whether or not it’s the right thing for you before committing.

If an MBA is going to help you to achieve your career goals and those career goals involve earning enough that having student debt isn’t too much of a worry then it could be a good choice for you.

You can also look at applying for a scholarship which will cover all or part of the cost of your studies.

When is it a good choice?
Whether or not getting an MBA is a good choice really depends on your situation and your personal career goals.

In general, an MBA is likely to be helpful if you are looking to move into management, or into a position that relies heavily on the skills provided by an MBA.

If you are looking to further your career in a more technical position, then it’s probably worth finding different further education that focuses on this area.


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