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MBA Programs for Engineers: Are They Worth It?

Feb. 7, 2022

Engineers with their MBAs discussing large project

As an engineer with a bachelor’s degree, you already have a highly-valued skill set. You know how to create unique solutions to complex problems, and you gained a solid foundation in your career by applying what you learned in school. But what happens when you want to get a promotion or earn more money?

You have options. Many engineers choose to advance their careers by getting a master’s in engineering. Others choose to advocate for themselves without a new degree. But there is another path that is emerging as a popular choice among engineers: earning an MBA.

A master of business administration can be complementary to an engineer’s education and strengthen essential business skills. MBAs teach students analytical skills, strategic thinking, networking, leadership, and more. These practical business skills, combined with your engineering experience, can make a world of difference as you seek to gain more responsibilities and progress your career.

Still, we know that you may have many questions about which path will give you the advancement you desire. In the following sections, we’ll explore what makes an MBA an ideal graduate degree for engineers.

Why Earn an MBA as an Engineer?

A bachelor’s degree is a good credential to have when you are just beginning your career. It provides one of the fundamental qualifications that employers look for in entry-level positions. The undergraduate degree also provides basic communication training. Additionally, professional engineering certifications exist to help you remain competitive and continue learning in your field.

However, if you desire to earn more money, gain senior roles, or get promoted to upper management, you will likely need to formally increase your education.

When you find yourself in this phase of your career, you can do one of two things: pursue a graduate degree in engineering or increase your career possibilities with an MBA.

If you choose to go after an MBA degree, you will receive a comprehensive business education that will enhance your leadership and management abilities. This makes the degree a good fit for those who seek to manage a team or move into an administrative role.

As a successful engineer with capabilities in business, you can find yourself with a variety of job titles, including:

  • Engineering Operations Manager
  • Project Manager
  • Product Manager
  • Plant Superintendent

  • If you choose not to earn an MBA, your options can be limited. You may find that your career growth becomes stagnant at senior engineering team roles. However, an MBA can open new doors in business administration and leadership.

    5 Ways an MBA is Valuable for Engineers

    One of the biggest reasons to invest in an MBA is, of course, the potential salary increase. Yet, there are many other ways that earning an MBA can help you advance your engineering career.

  • Gain a Competitive Advantage
  • As previously mentioned, an undergraduate degree in engineering already gives you a certain amount of competitive advantage. Corporations value people who can understand and create strategic solutions to problems. With an MBA, you will gain insight into complex business ideas as well.

    Being able to bridge the divide between engineers and corporate leaders can give you an invaluable edge in today’s competitive workforce. The advanced degree will differentiate you from your peers who only have an education in engineering. When it’s time for a promotion, an MBA can make all the difference in your career.

  • Succeed in Management
  • Engineering requires you to have a firm foundation in addressing the complicated moving parts of an issue. However, managing a team demands a different, “softer” skill set. Dealing with people isn’t as straightforward as working with computers, machinery, or civil systems. Earning a business education will help you attain the soft skills needed to lead a team with compassion and intelligence.

    Business administration also includes many other duties engineers are typically not trained in. To succeed in this type of role, you will need to become familiar with the inner workings of a business. A good MBA program will deepen your understanding of strategy, communication, marketing, management skills, and the business world. The knowledge you acquire in your MBA program will equip you to deliver managerial value to your employer or clients.

  • Get the Educational Support to Reach Your End Goals
  • Reasons for earning an advanced degree will vary. However, certain goals are best supported by an MBA. As an example, people who want to enter upper management in their company should consider a master’s degree in business. Engineers who have ideas for new products or solutions may want to earn investors and launch a business. For this purpose, an MBA would be much better than an advanced degree in engineering. Evaluating your end goals will make it easier for you to determine which pathway to pursue.

  • Unlock Better & Different Career Prospects
  • With a background in engineering and an MBA, you will open the doors to positions in a variety of fields-- engineering and otherwise. In general, you have better chances of getting a big promotion or earning more money with an MBA. However, an MBA also unlocks jobs in industries such as IT, healthcare, and construction. In other words, your MBA education prepares you for advancement in your current field, but it also supports you in changing fields if you choose to.

    Should You Get an MBA or a Masters In Engineering?

    In the end, your career goals should guide you to choosing the right advanced degree for you. For example, an MBA will support you as you pursue high-level leadership roles in your company. Or, if you want to focus your career in one area, a master’s degree in engineering can position you as the expert you want to be. Either way, make sure that the graduate degree you decide on aligns with your ambitions.

    The LSU Family of Institutions offers MBA Programs for Engineers.

    When you are ready to pursue an MBA that employers will respect, we can help. Students can select from a diverse selection of affordable, flexible MBA programs.

    LSU A&M: The Online Flores Master of Business Administration

    The online Flores MBA is offered through the E.J. Ourso College of Business. This program gives students everything they need to become successful in business and leadership. As one of the best MBA programs in the country, LSU’s degree is also highly respected by employers. Cutting-edge specialization and graduate certificate options are available in these fields:

  • Emerging Information Technologies for Business
  • Data Analytics
  • Healthcare Management
  • LSU Shreveport’s Master of Business Administration

    The LSU Shreveport Online MBA is a dynamic, highly customized degree which allows students to achieve their career goals in many high demand areas. This is a highly valuable and accessible option which can be completed quickly, in as few as 10 months! There are nine concentrations for students who wish to specialize their master’s education:

  • Online MBA
  • Online MBA: Accounting
  • Online MBA: Data Analytics
  • Online MBA: Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise
  • Online MBA: Finance
  • Online MBA: Hospitality and Casino Management
  • Online MBA: Human Resources
  • Online MBA: International Business
  • Online MBA: Marketing
  • Online MBA: Project Management

  • As an engineer, you may find that the Human Resources, or Project Management concentrations are best suited to your goals. However, all of our concentrations are designed to help you reach your career aspirations. You can review all programs on the Online MBA comparison page. Schedule a meeting with our Enrollment Coaches to discuss which specialization would be right for you.

    Other Graduate Degrees for Engineers

    If you have not yet settled on earning an MBA, LSU Online offers access to other online graduate programs that can help you advance your career.

  • Online Master of Science in Industrial Engineering
  • Online Master of Science in Civil Engineering
  • Ready to advance your career? Start your application today, or learn more about our programs!

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    Media Contact

    Christina Bourg
    christinab@lsu.edu

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