Why Pursue an MBA?
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On the question of why, the common theme was
management. All three felt that an MBA would provide them
with the additional skill set to work in management long-term
(either within their current company or for their future
entrepreneur ambitions). This included both project and team
(people) management. As student engineers, we were taught to solve
technical problems. For some of us, that training came with little
consideration of real-world constraints like product marketability,
cost thresholds etc. A business degree has the potential to balance out all the
science and engineering we learned as undergraduates and provide a
new perspective on approaching problem solving that can benefit
The good news is that, depending on the employer, there may be
company incentives for employees interested in higher education.
The most common incentive was tuition reimbursement. So, if cost is
no longer a limitation in obtaining an MBA, what's left? There are
several options available for a person who wants to pursue an MBA.
Some of these decisions include the type of program (business
management vs. engineering management) and where to go (smaller or
larger, well-known vs. no-name institution), then there is the
choice of online vs. classroom (usually evening classes), time it
takes to finish the degree (shortest was 18 months, longest was 3+
years). Most of these considerations will depend on one's purpose
of getting the degree and the time he or she is willing to
commit to it.
Overall, all three thought their MBAs provided them with
opportunities for future advancement and made them a well-rounded,
more diversified engineer. It also provided them additional insight
for project financial planning, business ethics, improved
leadership and communication skills, multicultural
I would like to thank the three engineers that helped with this
article: Courtney Fisk, Brady Lewis, and Kyle Teach.
University of Illinois
Livestock Extension Specialist