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Degrees and Schools
Employers frequently pay for engineers to develop management skills by getting masters degrees in business administration (MBA) or engineering management (MEM) for more technical applications. Such programs are available at many colleges and universities.
Students in an engineering management degree program usually divide their time between class, working on business planning projects, and computer labs. Courses typically include:
- Leadership and communications
- Management of research and development
- Product management
- Operations management
- Entrepreneurial management, marketing and finance
- Use of project management systems
- Management of software development projects
- Legal issues and ethics
- Engineering analysis
- Data mining and applied statistical methods
- Finance and accounting
- Strategies for creating product value
- Quality improvement methods
- Additional courses in areas of specialty
Online Classes and Programs
Online masters degree programs in engineering management or business administration are readily available online. However, credits may not transfer easily to brick-and-mortar colleges, and an online degree might not be received as strongly by employers. Online programs that are offered by campus-based schools are more likely to include assistance with obtaining internships and job placement. Online courses should be part of an institution with accreditation from agencies approved by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) or United States Department of Education (USDE).
Engineering managers commonly have a background in engineering, including a bachelor's degree in an area of specialty, such as civil engineering, electrical engineering, or aerospace engineering, as well as project management experience.
How to Evaluate Engineering Manager Schools
Asking the following questions can be helpful when evaluating engineering management and business administration degree programs:
- Reputation and focus - How do the school and program rank compared to others? Does the program emphasize areas of interest, such as entrepreneurship or legal issues such as intellectual property?
- Admission standards - Is the program hard to get into? What must a student provide or demonstrate in order to be admitted?
- Practical experience - Does the program require intensive group business planning projects? Do computer labs have the kinds of cutting edge technologies that is of interest in industry? Are internships coordinated?
- Financial aid and expenses - What assistance is offered to students who wish to make use of student loans, grants, scholarships, work / study programs, and other financial aid opportunities?
- Graduate success - What are program graduates doing now? How successful has the school been over time in assisting students with job placement?
Engineering Manager Job Description
Industries such as those that manufacture computers, software, and aerospace, chemical and electrical products, as well as those that build roads, bridges, canals and other elements of civic infrastructure, rely on engineers to develop products, machinery, processes and systems. Engineering managers plan and coordinate these projects, leading a team of scientists, technicians and engineers as they perform research and design, and then implement the plan through production. They set specific goals for the projects that support initiatives established by top executives for making advances in research, creating new products, and making improvements to the manufacturing process. Other responsibilities may include:
- Anticipating potential technical problems and implementing solutions
- Assessing needed resources and proposing a budget
- Managing budgets, ordering equipment and hiring staff
- Checking work of staff for quality and proper procedures
- Communicating progress to upper management and collaborating with other teams
- Working with vendors
- Overseeing maintenance of equipment and facilities
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