With engineering as a degree major increasing in popularity among students, the number of engineering professionals as MBA grads is also at an all-time high. And, for very good reason – the MBA is designed to build a strong foundation in business concepts, which is highly sought-after by most companies in both engineering and every other industry. Getting an MBA opens up several new opportunities for both professional and personal growth, with most companies today valuing an MBA extremely highly. Powered by an MBA qualification, engineers tend to command much better pay packages than engineers who do not have an MBA thanks to this unique combination of both technical and business management skills.
An MBA or master’s in business administration is a globally recognized advanced degree focusing on business and finance. Programs typically last around two years and are structured around preparing candidates for proficiency in all areas of management while providing them with the guidance needed to become an expert in one area of specialization or concentration. Choosing a specialization is not always mandatory when studying for an MBA but most students will have some areas of business that they would like to focus on more than the others.
So, what are the most popular and highly sought-after MBA specializations for engineers?
MBA in Marketing
The demand for engineers with a specialization in marketing is steadily on the rise. Marketing is the core department of any company in any industry as, without good marketing, it would be impossible to get the customers and clients who keep the organization running. Hiring a manager who comes from an engineering background coupled with extensive expertise in marketing is extremely valuable to any organization, but particularly engineering firms who may need somebody who is able to effectively market often complex engineering concepts to the public.
An MBA in marketing provides students with the resources that they need to gain a better understanding of market behavior, interpret consumer behavior, understand the psychology of advertising and gain essential skills that come into play throughout the marketing process of any product or service.
MBA in Finance
Finance is one of the most popular specializations of the MBA degree. Students who opt for an MBA with a concentration in finance will be exposed to a range of financial processes such as managerial decision-making based on data, profit and loss estimations, coordination processes, and analytical thinking to name a few. This curriculum focuses on training managers who come from a strong financial perspective, centered around the factors of production, maintaining company budgets, working capital, and investment and securities.
An MBA in finance is also often one of the most highly popular choices for engineering students since their background in engineering itself often means that they have high numerical and analytical abilities to bring to the table. The mathematical and analytical skills that you develop throughout engineering training will greatly benefit you when it comes to gaining a firm understanding of subjects such as economics and accounts.
MBA in International Business
With globalization on the rise and more world economies opening up, it’s no surprise that the MBA in International Business is becoming steadily more popular. This degree program aims to provide students with a solid understanding of both the documentation and procedures that are involved in import and export, covers methods of effectively approaching customers in different countries around the world, currency conversion, currency fluctuation, and how to raise capital from the international and distribution markets. Not only does an MBA in International Business provide engineers with a better chance at finding lucrative employment around the globe, but it’s also the perfect opportunity for anybody who wants to develop a more cross-cultural perspective on the work that they do by traveling around the world.
MBA in Human Resource Management
The field of human resource management is one with several great opportunities for engineers looking to take their technical and transferable skills into a different type of work. HR administrators are required in every industry in order to handle all activities regarding employee hiring, employee benefits and compensation, salaries, training and development, work performance, company policy, and complaints. If you would prefer to move away from technical work into a career that allows you to work predominantly with people, have good people skills and communication skills, are reliable, and want to help employees succeed, an MBA in human resources could be the ideal choice for you.
MBA in Operations Management
Many mechanical engineers find that an MBA in operations management is one of the best degree concentration choices for them since it requires a solid knowledge of product design and development along with being highly skilled at process optimization. This MBA program will teach you how to process flaws, effectively develop strong relationships with vendors and between departments, and provides you with the resources necessary to acquire a set of processes and techniques that you can use to ensure efficient production and quality management in any industry that you choose to work in.
MBA in Business Analytics
Engineers are often drawn to an MBA in business analytics since it puts their current technical, analytical, and mathematical skills to good use. Professionals working in this field are required to make use of both programming languages and digital interfaces to derive meaningful, usable information from raw data. And, the fact that it’s a new, upcoming, and popular field used by an increasing number of companies across all industries to shape business models and drive growth certainly makes this MBA concentration one of the hottest options for engineering professionals to get into.
How to Choose the Right MBA for You
While some MBA concentrations are certainly better suited to those with an engineering background than others, the truth is that any engineer can benefit from getting any type of MBA, depending on their career goals. If you have decided that getting an MBA is the right pathway for you in order to advance your career, the next step is choosing which subject you would like to specialize in. So, how do you pick the right option for you?
Consider Your Career Goals
Where do you want your MBA to take your future career? If you are interested in continuing to pursue a career that still requires a lot of technical skills and abilities, for example, then you may be better suited for MBA concentrations that focus on data analysis or product development such as the MBA in business analytics or MBA in operations management. On the other hand, if you want to flex your strong numerical skills and enjoy a lucrative career in a field that is always in demand, an MBA in finance could be the perfect option.
Those who prefer to work with people and want a chance to lead teams while developing better people skills could benefit from a general MBA or an MBA in HR, while an MBA in International Business could be the best choice for your needs if you want a career that allows you to travel more. Consider where you want your career to take you and figure out which option fits in with your plans the closest.
What Are Your Interests?
If you are like most people, chances are that you want to get into a career that you are genuinely interested in and passionate about. If you’re an introvert and would not really describe yourself as a people person, for example, then an MBA in human resources might not be the best choice for you. On the other hand, if you are very interested in product design and development and want to do more of this in your future career, you may seriously enjoy an MBA in operations management. Think about what you’ve done so far in your career and determine what you’d like to do more of, and what you’d rather avoid.
How to Study
Getting an MBA as an engineer means that there are plenty of options available to you. Click here to learn more about studying for an MBA with an engineering background at an online school. Most engineers who want to advance their career with an MBA are now choosing to study online because it tends to be the most flexible and beneficial option. Not only does it often work out cheaper in terms of both tuition and other costs, but getting your MBA online offers a level of flexibility that’s usually impossible on-campus.
Online MBA students can choose how, when, and where they would like to study, which makes it easier to fit getting an advanced degree around current commitments to full-time work. Before choosing the right MBA degree for you, it’s worth considering your personal situation right now, weighing up the amount of work that you will be required to do, and ensuring that you can keep up with the demands of the program whether you decide to study in the traditional way on-campus or opt for online distance learning.
Today, engineers with MBAs are some of the most highly sought-after professionals in the world. And with so many different MBA concentrations to choose from, you are sure to find one that’s a great fit for your career.
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