The importance of an MBA education for General Managers

The importance of an MBA education for General Managers blog header
The importance of an MBA education for General Managers blog header
The importance of an MBA education for General Managers blog header

The importance of an MBA education for General Managers

The transition from engineer to engineering manager is a challenging career change. The skills that helped make someone become a successful engineer might not be the same skills required to make a successful manager. To advance as a supervisor, general manager or into a top leadership job, you need additional skills in finance, business and human resources. These are the skills an MBA can deliver.

Here are some of the challenges engineering managers and general managers encounter:

  • Motivating employees and leading teams
  • Creating strategic plans
  • Managing human resources
  • Implementing ethics and corporate responsibility
  • Creating a sound business plan including budget implications
  • Creating a vision for a department or group

General Managers are tasked with financial decisions, work with issues related to human resources, and balance employee needs with organizational demands. They lead organizations through strategic plans and manage change. They also understand the role of marketing, legal, and global sustainability issues. It can be a whole new world from experiences as a successful manager. Examples of ways a MBA can impact the role of engineering manager:


Engineering leaders develop business plans. They need to understand the economics behind their products, production, supply chains, and marketing. They have basic understandings of continuous improvement. They may also be tasked with managing employees and their benefits and have to make difficult decisions to affect the company’s bottom line.

If you’re in a management role, you make important decisions that influence your company’s bottom line. It’s important you understand potential costs such as labor, moving a project’s scope, the impact of delays, competitors' pricing, supply chain interruptions, and the influence of stakeholders. Finance, accounting, and business are subject that are at the core of MBA programs.

Strategic Planning

Strategic planning is more than just looking at future projects. It’s understanding how your group or department must align with the mission, vision, and values for your organization. It includes understanding the big picture. For engineering managers that means making decisions about the right people in the right positions. As a manager, you’ll need to identify an interdisciplinary team to provide input on all areas of your department. You also need to plan for the right staff mix to manage projects and meet goals.

The hands-on approach of a Kettering Online MBA empowers engineers in leadership positions by providing an opportunity to learn and explore skills like visioning, project and people management, finance, and communication and then take those skills and use them on the job the next day. This is part of the “learn today-use tomorrow” philosophy at Kettering University Online.

Ethics & Social Responsibility

As a manager and leader in an organization, you are responsible for the global, environmental, public health, and economic impact of the products and services your department or team provides.

This is where ethics and social responsibility play an integral role. Today, more than ever before, managers are faced with challenges that Solomon would have found daunting.


Leadership skills such as character, collaboration, and competency can sometimes seem intangible. These skills can be developed to help build solid managerial skills. Only through practice over time and constant challenge can a true leader be created.

The KUO program provides opportunities to research successful leaders and leadership strategies while examining and developing individual potential.

Soft Skills & More

These are the skills that are often missing from technical education, and while that technical education may have provided the opportunity to be promoted, it is the soft skills that will make a manager successful. Learning solid communication skills, how to work with different employees effectively, understanding the challenges of global teams and ways to make a department continue to support the organization as whole, are just a few of the soft skills learning in the KUO MBA. Are these skills worth adding to your resume?

The Kettering MBA is 100 percent online and incorporates real-world learning that you can apply immediately at your organization. Students can also add certificates in Global Leadership, Supply Chain Management and Enterprise Resource Planning, Operations Management, and Healthcare Management as part of their MBA.