Acadmic Path to be in Engineering Management

I am very interested in engineering and business, have strong leadership and people skills, and would like to work as a project manager or something similar for a tech/ engineering company. I am thinking of trying to become an engineering manager, but that degree is not widely offered, especially for Bachelors, even at top business schools. Does anyone know if I can become an engineering manager if I study business administration and perhaps minor in engineering, or if there’s another major that will allow me to get there? Also, if anyone has college recommendations for someone who has these aspirations that would be much appreciated

At least in my field, engineering managers are people who did engineering design first and then moved up. It’s hard to manage engineers if you are not intimately acquainted with what they do on a day-to-day basis.

If you want to go into construction management, you could major in Architectural Engineering and concentrate in CM (ArchE is an ENGINEERING major - it’s the art of designing buildings, so you don’t have to take all the other classes that civil engineering students do).

I think you have it reversed- major in engineering, minor in business.

I agree with MaineLonghorn and momofsenior. Most engineering managers start out as engineers. If you are a productive engineer and demonstrate good people skills, you may rise into engineering management.
If you have math/science talents and are very interested in engineering, you should look for undergraduate engineering programs leading to a B.Sc. While you might want to take an economics course and a business course or two, for now you should concentrate on becoming the best engineer you can be. Later in your career you might need to earn an M.B.A. to rise in management.

I got a BS in Engineering then an MBA after a few years of work. My D is planning on doing the same.

Many of the engineering managers I know at the large tech firms started as engineers, moved to project lead positions, and then into management. Some did a part-time or night MBA such as at Santa Clara to show they were serious about into managing.

You need to know how to work on the tools first, big company engineers become managers pretty quickly. I cannot imagine anyone taking an actual degree in eng management seriously. Maybe you want to work in HR or the finance end of such a business? Most engineers that do the MBAs just do them part time once they have their careers going (so the company pays LOL).
Even then the value is kind of questionable when you are competing with Ph.D. and engineering masters’ degrees.

I’ll pile on. It’s very unlikely anyone will hire you as an engineering manager if you don’t have at least several years of engineering work experience. Managing an engineering project requires technical knowledge in order to understand the kinds of problems that crop up on those projects. If you don’t understand those problems, you won’t know how to solve them and you’ll do more harm than good for any project you’re managing. The engineers will also learn to ignore you.

MBA’s have a spotty record managing high tech companies, especially if they do not have an engineering background. In lower tech companies it is a little better. There is a special degree called a Masters in Engineering Management (MEM) that is designed specifically to train managers of high tech companies. Some schools known for their MEM programs banded together to form a consortium called MEMPC

In many high tech companies they have what is called a dual career ladder which recognizes the fact that many top engineers do not have either the interest or the requisite people skills to be good managers. “Engineering Manager” is typically three or more steps above an entry level engineering position. Project management typically starts two levels above an entry level position, but small projects of limited import can be given to lower level engineers with management potential as a means of grooming them for higher level positions.

At least one MEMPC member (Tufts) offers a minor in engineering management and a minor in entrepreneurship at the undergrad level. I assume that there must be others. These degrees can help speed the ascent up the career ladder to project and people management positions, but they will typically not eliminate any steps (unless you start your own company). Best of luck.

Technical Career Path............................Managerial Career Path

Sr Consulting Engineer…Sr Engineering Manager

Consulting Engineer…Engineering Manager (Manages Engineers)

Principle Engineer (Can manage projects)

Senior Engineer


Are there other options besides majoring in engineering undergrad if you don’t really want to study engineering to that extent? I was looking at the courses for engineering and they don’t seem like something that would interest me or I’d enjoy at all

So why do you see yourself as an engineering manager but not an engineer? What is it that is making you think engineering as a business is attractive to you?

As has been said more than once, you really need to understand engineering if you’re going to be an engineering manager. Don’t know what else we can add.