Is Industrial Engineering a Smart Pathway to Business?

<p>I'm currently a senior in HS, and will probably be attending the University of Michigan. </p>

<p>I've never really considered anything besides engineering as a major, even though I can't really say I'm in love with the kind of things engineers seem to study (EEs especially, and EE was, until very recently, my intended, though not in any way set-in-stone, major). I've read around and know that engineering is a fairly stable and in-demand field, and average incomes are also relatively high, which is why it seems like a good choice for a kid who's good at math and science, fairly flexible and able to adapt, and willing to work hard (in school and after).</p>

<p>However, I've recently started considering Industrial Engineering. Apparently, many industrial engineers end up taking on management roles, which seems to raise their income ceiling significantly. I'd very much be interested in making more money, and the idea of being considered (and starting my career as) an engineer while working in more of a business environment is really attractive.</p>

<p>Would it be wise to pursue an IE major if my ultimate intention is to make the big bucks that pure engineering rarely offers? Eventually, I see myself getting an MBA, and using my engineering knowledge for things beyond nitty gritty, hard-core, "real" engineering.</p>

<p>Or, should I save myself the effort of an engineering education (which is usually significantly tougher than a business education, usually) and get some sort of business degree?</p>

<p>TL;DR If I actually have a bit more of an interest in business than engineering, but want to earn a good income (at least $100k mid-career), should I go into Industrial Engineering or Business?</p>

<p>Didn't think I'd have to bump, and don't really like doing it. But I'd like some input.</p>

<p>An Industrial Engineering degree will stand out in MBA admissions a lot more than a business degree. If your smart and hardworking enough to get the IE degree then go for it.</p>

<p>I was originally dead-set on Industrial (I'm undecided Engineering atm, now considering CompE and IE). </p>

<p>I think great success (moving up the management ladder) really has a lot more to do with your personality, level of ambition, and work ethic than your degree. All engineers have excellent analytical, quantitative, and problem-solving skills and I don't think IE would necessarily give you much of an additional advantage in that area.</p>

<p>23% of fortune 500 CEOs have engineering degrees. They were either entrepreneurs or worked their way to the top. That list isn't at all dominated by IE grads, but I believe that the Wal Mart CEO is an IE grad.</p>

<p>Wikipedia has a good list of industrial engineering grads, many of whom are CEOs of top companies. Notice that many of them are CEOs of companies that deal a lot with logistics, like UPS, DHL, airlines, etc.</p>

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<p>If you are a born leader, you're going to be very successful. If you pick any type of engineering degree, you're going to have a strong problem-solving background to go with your leadership qualities. You may even have some tech skills that you can become an entrepreneur with.</p>

<p>I don't think IE is the back door into management. IE offers skills that are useful to managers, but managers don't get into their positions because of their degree, but because of their demonstrated leadership potential.</p>

<p>I'm not saying that an IE degree isn't a great one though.</p>

An Industrial Engineering degree will stand out in MBA admissions a lot more than a business degree.


<p>No it won't. I'm a business school professor, been at 2 top private US schools as well as one public. There is zero expectation that you've have educational background in business. Your major isn't gonig to make you stand out (other than they are looking for diversity...about a 1/3 of the class are engineers and no one cares what type of engineer). But someone who majored in philosophy or social work is going to stand out more than a particular engineering major.</p>

<p>Starbright, are you sure that an engineering graduate from a school ranked similarly to that of a business graduate wouldn't have an advantage in admissions, if both of them had a similar GPA? Based on things I've read elsewhere, business schools like engineers. Maybe I am mistaken, but isn't engineering particularly respected for the work & analytical skills it requires/teaches?</p>

<p>It would seem to me that undergraduate major is not nearly as relevant in business school admissions as work experience is...</p>

<p>True, but what kind of work experience are new business grads getting? Don't engineers often get into more various different industries and have more unique insight into those industries than a business grad? I know several people who are business majors and are having a hard time getting any job right now =/. Being unemployed or underemployed can't look good on a b school app.</p>

<p>I don't know enough about business school admissions to say.</p>

<p>No idea, but industrial is really a ripped off version of engineering in my school. everyone knows it's a lot easier than regular engineering.</p>

<p>Comments like the above one are often made by engineering students who are struggling in their classes. They feel the need to bash industrial engineering even they know little to nothing about it in orer to make themselves feel better.</p>

<p>I dunno what school you go to but at Purdue we have to take Two ME classes, math up to diff. eq(like most other engineers), a weedout CS class, one ECE class along with TE that are usually upper-division classes in other engineering disciplines. Its a pretty useful major regardless of whether you think its hard or not. Companies have to cut costs and improve efficiency.</p>