MS in Engineering Management Vs. MBA

Students interested in engineering management careers can earn a Master of Science in Engineering Management (MSEM) or a Master of Business Administration (MBA). Continue reading to learn the similarities and differences between these programs. Schools offering Computer Engineering degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

MS in Engineering Management vs MBA

Master of Science in Engineering Management

Master of Science in Engineering Management programs cater to those interested in technical organization management and usually include 30 to 40 credit hours of coursework. Students may need a STEM or another technical undergraduate degree with a specific undergraduate GPA to enter an MSEM program. Students may be able to complete their program in two years or less and choose a program concentration such as project management, operations research, leadership, and supply chain management. Many MSEM programs may include courses in systems analysis, systems engineering management, leadership, engineering economics, and resource management. Graduates of an MSEM program may be qualified for careers such as engineering managers, engineering teachers, and various other leadership roles in technical and engineering fields.

Master of Business Administration

Master of Business Administration programs provide an in-depth exploration of various business management topics, and some enable students to earn an MBA in Engineering Management specifically or to complete a concentration in engineering management. Students who pursue these MBA programs can typically finish in around one or two years, completing about 36 credit hours. Courses in these programs may include economics, organizational behavior, project management, risk management, and supply chain management. MBA programs typically accept students with bachelor's degrees in any field but may require some prerequisite courses (such as accounting) and a certain undergraduate GPA (such as 2.75 or 3.0). MBA graduates can be prepared to work in a variety of leadership positions including engineering management and production management.

Degree Program Program Length Program Requirements Related Careers
Master of Science in Engineering Management 2 years * STEM/technical undergraduate degree *Engineering Manager
*Engineering Teacher
Master of Business Administration 2 years *undergraduate degree *Engineering Manager
*Industrial Production Manager

What Can You Do with an MSEM or MBA?

Architectural and Engineering Managers

Architectural and engineering managers oversee and direct activities of architectural and/or engineering companies. Duties vary with position and employer, but may include budget proposals, product development, and reviewing technical processes for efficiency. Many of these managers have a master's degree in a field such as engineering management; those working in technical management may hold an MSEM while those interested in general management tasks may have earned an MBA.

Chief Executives

Chief executives work at the highest levels of management and are considered top executives. They may be responsible for formulating and implementing policies, collaborating with other executives, ensuring compliance, and appointing department managers. Chief executives often have a master's degree in business administration, but may also have earned a master's degree related to their industry (such as an MS in Engineering Management for engineering companies).

General and Operations Managers

General and operations managers are considered top executives and are responsible for various tasks such as creating policies, managing resources and operations, and ensuring that projects are completed on time. Other duties may include consulting with staff and other executives, analyzing production reports and financial statements, and looking for ways to improve overall performance and costs. Many of these positions may require a master's degree in business administration or in a field related to an organization's industry.

Industrial Production Managers

Industrial production managers oversee and direct the operations of plants, including the production of various products. These managers may review production data, write reports on production, monitor safety, and utilize resources to ensure that production and other operations are effective and efficient. Larger plants often require managers to have earned a master's degree in business administration (such as the MBA) or industrial management.

Postsecondary Engineering Teachers

Postsecondary engineering teachers teach students in college or university settings, although those who hold a master's degree are typically qualified to teach at community colleges. These teachers are usually hired to teach only in their field of study; for example, a graduate of MSEM program typically would teach engineering courses. The duties of postsecondary teachers include teaching, grading, and advising students, but may also include developing curriculum and working with other educators to revise program requirements.

Job Title Median Annual Salary (2018)* Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028)*
Architectural and Engineering Managers $140,760 3%
Chief Executives $189,600 -5%
General and Operations Managers $100,930 7%
Industrial Production Managers $103,380 1%
Postsecondary Engineering Teachers $101,720 11%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

While MS in Engineering Management and MBA programs with an engineering management focus are similar in length, coursework, and outcomes, the MSEM focuses slightly more on technical management, and an MBA may have a more generalized management preparation. Graduates of either program may be qualified to work as engineering managers, production managers, and operations managers.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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