Engineer to MBA, why and how
Part of my common questions from the community, I wanted to touch on this subject.
Usually individuals with Engineering undergraduate degrees tend to seek Engineering graduate degrees.
As I was wanting to transition more into Management, and I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit, I felt an MBA would be a great asset on my tool belt as I wanted to take my career from solely being perceived as a Software Engineer.
So the question, I typically get is:
I had reached a point in my career where I needed to decide did I want to continue down a Technical Path, or more of a People Manager path. As a Software Engineer, in some companies you may become a Sr. Software Engineer, Tech Lead, and that serves as the capstone of your career. It’s a legitimate career milestone, and is significant role within any organization. You may also choose to go down a more technical path and take on a career path for Principal Engineer/Fellow (depending upon organization) or an Application Architect. These are highly competitive career paths, and typically require advanced degrees, peer reviewed publications, and you being considered as an industry/domain expert.
Personally, I always felt my business acumen, social skills, and personality was a better fit on the people management side. So to help me get a better understanding of management, business, and administration I pursued an M.B.A. During an MBA program, you will get exposure to management courses, such as fundamental business lingo, people management, and how to analyze, communicate and execute management objectives. In addition, you get exposure to business aspects that Engineers typically have little to no visibility to, such as Marketing, Accounting, Finance, Supply Chain, and Operations.
So, I did research for several years – yes years, prior to making the commitment. Since I was a true engineer, I only took one business course in undergrad, I opted to take several prerequisites at a local community college to save cost and get back in the swing of school. Once I completed the courses, I started to consider which Universities would meet my objectives. At the point in my career I opted to go back to school, I did not want to quit working. I also, did not want to move. I wanted an online program, that was flexible and affordable. I also wanted to attend an HBCU. I researched, and found that Prairie View A & M University, offered an Online MBA program, in Texas, and was rated as one of the best online programs in the nation at the time.
It was not easy and I spent several all-nighters completing assignments, and projects. But I felt it was well worth the investment and opportunities that it provided me. I’ll talk more about those in a later post. But I did seek scholarships and programs that offered technology (MIS) and entrepreneurship electives.