Engineers must acquire the technical expertise to work on a wide variety of projects, from developing schematics for intricate electrical systems to putting the finishing touches on a bridge expansion. Yet for those engineers that wish to augment their technical skills with the type of management tools that open up new career horizons, it may be a struggle to decide whether to pursue an MBA or a Master’s in Engineering Management (MEM). An MBA provides engineers with tools to develop business skills, while an advanced engineering management degree focuses the curriculum on skills pertinent to the engineering industry. The question of which degree to pursue also involves the consideration of online degree programs.
What about an MBA?
An engineering MBA focuses more on general business skills. You take courses that stress the business strategies involved with engineering projects and how the strategies influence engineering decisions. If you want to specialize in areas such as marketing, accounting, or information systems, an MBA may be the best online degree fit for you. Core courses in an engineering MBA program also can include economics, finance, statistics, and human resources. Many engineers who earn MBAs move into other departments within their organizations, including upper management positions.
The Skinny on the Masters in Engineering Management
By earning the more engineering-focused management degree, you learn about management topics that pertain to your work as an engineer. The courses taken by engineering management students include foundations of engineering management, project management, and quality systems. You can expect to improve your communication skills, technical knowledge of complex engineering topics, and the ability to create and stay within tight project budgets. Sometimes referred to as the engineering management MBA, the Masters of Engineering Management brings together engineering acumen and business savvy. Many online programs divide the advanced engineering degree into core technology and core business courses, with the option for students to choose an area of management expertise.
The Lawrence Tech MEM Online Program
Lawrence Tech University (LTU) designs its online MEM program to meet the engineering industry’s need to hire more leaders who excel in project management. Crumbling public infrastructure, combined with an increase in privately funded engineering projects, has created a huge void in the engineering management labor pool. Many engineers believe they do not have time to juggle the demands of their highly technical jobs and the work required in a full time advanced engineering program. Online degree programs address time management concerns by allowing busy engineers to view lectures and work on projects on their own time. There is no need to rush from work to attend nightly MEM classes.
According to its website, LTU offers a cross-disciplinary program that defines an engineering management MBA. Students take 36 semester hours of courses offered by both the College of Engineering and the College of Management. Graduate students who earn their undergraduate engineering degrees from LTU find that the MEM curriculum expands on the concepts they learned online from the College of Engineering. The LTU Masters in Engineering Management helps engineering professionals gain the management skills required to lead complex projects that require years of work. They learn about program management, production control, management information systems, and quality assurance.
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