MS or MBA?

<p>I am very interested in doing a 4+1 engineering program to get my masters quickly, but I noticed that some schools have a choice of either a BS mechanical MS mechanical or BS mechanical MBA Business Administration. What are the benefits of getting an MBA over a BS?</p>

<p>There are a great many threads about the virtues/dangers of getting an MBA right out of (or as part of) undergrad, so you should be able to find plenty of opinions on this matter. To summarize MY view, getting an MBA without work experience is worthwhile only if you want to move OUT of engineering entirely, and will hurt more than help if you try to stay in industry.</p>

<p>Think of it from an employer's perspective. Who would you rather hire: a student with an MBA and 5 years of work experience or a student with an MBA and no work experience? When you have no work experience, you'll be one of the least desirable students coming out of your MBA (GPA counts for almost nothing in an MBA program and most employers won't even bother to ask - they interview based on expressed interests and work experience). An MBA is also a problem if you intend to go into engineering. An engineering company isn't going to like a student who has already expressed his interest to leave engineering practice for business or management (what's what an MBA signals) and won't put you in business or management roles without experience. So you're in a catch-22: too much education for entry level positions, not enough entry level experience for higher level positions.</p>

<p>You don't run into the same issue with an MS because companies have no problem hiring MS graduates for entry level positions. They usually put you in a BS role and give you credit for 1 year of experience in terms of promotions.</p>

<p>So what are the advantages to a 5th year MBA?</p>

<p>If in the middle of your senior year you decide you really don't want to be a MechE but it's too late to change to anything else, an MBA gives you different career choices. </p>

<p>If you want to actually be an engineer or do something engineering-related getting an MBA right out of undergrad has no benefits and potential harms. If you want to go into finance an MBA may (as in, I don't know, but I think so) serve you better than a MechE degree.</p>

<p>Honestly, science/engineering degree + MBA + no experience = technical sales. Don't want to be an engineer or chemist? Then learn how to use your technical background to sell scientific and engineering products!</p>

<p>To the best of my knowledge, finance and banking overwhelmingly recruit from a small number of prestige schools, so BS+MBA at a good engineering school is not likely to get you a Wall Street job.</p>

<p>Those 5th MBA offerings are just university marketing ploys. Wanna bet it's not aacsb accredited? (the body accrediting business programs). Don't bother- just get your eng degree, work then think about real MBA program later.</p>

<p>As for small select schools being target schools for Wall St, yes.... but much mythology on CC about it. You can go to tons of ranked schools for MBA and get great job in finance or consulting and for the most part those mbas provide get a decent ROI.</p>

<p>Ok, that makes a lot more sense now. So I would probably be able to get ms MS in engineering, then years down the line I would be more suited to managing or leading projects than if I got my MBA.</p>

<p>If you get your MS then go into industry for 3 years or so, you'll be prepared for what an MBA has to offer. Then you can get an MBA and go into management or business. As an added bonus, you should be able to get your employer to pay for that MBA.</p>

<p>As a retired engineering manager, I was always very, very leary about hiring a person with an engineering degree and an MBA. I can recall twice when I broke down and hired such an individual. Both times it was a disaster. They kept wanting to get more management type work to take advantage of their MBA when what I hired them to do was engineering. One left frustrated, laid off the other when we had a downturn in workload. If I had to make the decision again, I wouldn't have hired either.</p>

<p>College applicants may have some good people skills. But managing engineers in a high tech company requires a level of maturity and techinical knowledge that I've never seen in a college applicant. I've seen some people get into management at under 30 years of age, but not many. </p>

<p>So, by getting your MBA right away you'll probably forget a lot of it before you get to management. Also, an MBA requires a lot of courses that you would never use managing engineers. New managers in my company were put thru "charm school". It was two or three weeks (not all at one time) of what was expected of a manager, some management theory, personality tests, etc. It didn't instantly turn you into a great manager, but at least you got the idea.</p>

<p>My company also offered several courses in management (thru the National Managment Association, I believe) that could lead to a certificate in management. These classes were directed specifically toward managing with a company like ours. A lot of the managers came out of that program. If you were destined for upper management, the company would pay for you to go back and get your MBA.</p>

<p>A master's in engineering is much more attractive to an engineering company than an MBA. Also, in most mature engineering fields (and most of ME is quite mature) it takes several years to learn enough about your companies specific designs and products to be most usefull. Therefore, I wasn't hiring a college hire expecting him/her to be an instant superstar. It was more like drafting a good college quarterback expecting them to work into a starting role in a few years. Those that did have the ability (and the opportunity) to start right away, even more was expected of them in the future.</p>

<p>Very insightful. How do you feel about a MS degree versus a ME (master in engineering) degree?</p>

<p>Bump...niklas has a good question there...</p>

<p>That is a hard comparison to make, as the terminology is not standardized. At some schools, an ME may represent a higher level of difficulty and achievement, where for other schools it may be the complete opposite. To really answer, you need to specify the requirements and standards for the two degrees.</p>

<p>In general, a research-based degree is regarded better than a degree that requires only a final paper, which in turn is better than a coursework-only degree which has little to tie it together.</p>