If the engineering part of the MBA/Masters type programs doesn't matter that much, then why even get an undergrad degree in engineering? Why go to school for four years to learn about engineering, work for a few years, then go to business school and never deal with engineering again?
<p>Heh heh, all very very good questions that me and my cohort of friends have asked ourselves numerous times. In fact, you have just hit upon one of the touchstone issues regarding engineering and career management.</p>
<p>Let me give you a partial defense as to the ideal reason why one would want to have an undergrad degree in engineering prior to obtaining an MBA. Basically, that engineering degree will (obviously) help you to get an engineering job right after undergrad, and that prior engineering experience will give you both a deeper knowledge of technical issues and greater credibility with other engineers. Hence, while you might never work ever again as an bonafide engineer after you get your MBA, you will be a more qualified engineering manager. You will also be more capable of qualifying for other types of jobs that lie at the intersection between engineering and business, i.e. technology strategy consulting, venture capital, high-tech entrepreneurship, etc. </p>
<p>Now, the reason why I say that it is only a partial defense because the truth is far more complex; the sad reality is that a lot of employers don't really seem to care very much about technical credibility or knowledge even in technology management jobs. I have seen a lot of people be hired as engineering managers or technology management role who don't themselves actually have an engineering background. </p>
<p>That's demoralizing on two levels. Take what happened to several people that i know. On the one hand, as a young engineer, you're trying to work hard to be promoted to an engineering management role, only to see somebody else with an MBA but no engineering degree, no engineering experience, no nothing, nevertheless end up being hired as the engineering manager instead. The new manager does not understand the technology, does not understand what the engineers do, but it doesn't matter, as he is given power over the engineers, and he is given the far higher salary. So then they think, hmm, ok, maybe they should then get the MBA themselves. So some of them go to, say, MIT's LFM program where they get both an MBA and a master's in engineering from the world's top engineering school. Nevertheless, when they actually try to interview for engineering management jobs, and ironically they still end up losing out to other MBA students who don't have any engineering background at all. You would think that the LFM graduates, given their unique education, would be able to absolutely corner all of the technology management jobs, but it's sadly and strangely just not so. Some of those guys ended up losing those tech management jobs to regular Sloan MBA's or Harvard MBA's who have no engineering background at all.</p>
<p>Now, don't get me wrong. Those LFM grads aren't exactly hurting. Heck, they ended up getting very nice jobs in investment banking or management consulting. But the point is, how those guys ended up losing those tech management jobs to other MBA students who don't have any engineering background at all is still mystifying to me. What it tells me is that a lot of tech companies sadly don't really seem to care about technical knowledge when it comes to their managers. They should care, but they don't care. </p>
<p>Furthermore, while a lot of LFM grads (and other elite MBA students with engineering backgrounds) may initially want to remain connected to engineering (i.e. get a technical management job), they soon learn that their MBA opens doors to other careers that, frankly, pay a whole lot better and have faster career tracks. Like the aforementioned investment banking or management consulting. Hence, the temptation is strong to leave technical management.</p>
<p>Heck, I distinctly remember one LFM student distinctly say that before she joined LFM, she never thought she would ever be a serious candidate in her life for a job for companies like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Goldman Sachs, etc. and that she would always be consigned to work for lesser employers. After all, she went to a no-name undergrad eng program where those kinds of firms never come, and so she always had the belief that these kinds of firms occupied a rarefied air that she would never attain. But after she joined LFM, she realized that opportunities to meet those employers are ubiquitous at MIT (and especially at the Sloan School). Her description was that she had been eating ground beef her whole life without ever knowing any better, and now she's finally tasting filet mignon. Now, to be fair, she ultimately ended up taking a technical management job anyway, but at least she had the experience of talking to the world's top consulting and banking firms. </p>
Does the engineering aspect help engineering students who maybe could not get into Sloan not only get into sloan but get a Masters from MIT in engineering?
<p>Your LFM application will be passed to both schools (Engineering and Sloan) for approval, either of which can choose to reject you. Hence, I highly doubt that engineering students can use LFM as a way to backdoor their way into Sloan.</p>