Career Paths for Engineers with an MBA

MBA Engineers
MBA Engineers
MBA Engineers

Career Paths for Engineers with an MBA

“Engineers create products, processes, and systems that make the world a better place. However, it also takes business expertise to get these inventions into the right markets, as well as sustain their success” (Crawford, 2015, para. 1).

In today’s highly competitive, global corporate environment, it is becoming increasingly clear that companies interested in innovating are relying on professionals who can demonstrate mastery in a variety of disparate skill sets. Many employers expect engineers to know more than what is contained within the boundaries of their technical expertise. As such, hiring managers are motivated to find talent possessing engineering experience as well as experience in finance, accounting, marketing, and management.

One of the most common ways for engineers to advance their careers is to be promoted to management. Unfortunately, sometimes the case for many companies that when an engineer is promoted to management, the company loses a good engineer and gains a bad manager. These situations happen because the knowledge gained from becoming excellent engineering does not necessarily shed enough light on the finer points of navigating one’s way through the daily obstacle courses of business management, nor does it offer practical advice about how to manage people effectively. Many engineers find themselves at a loss when promoted to a management role because they lack the language of business. Those in this situation are often forced to both learn and apply brand new skill sets while on the job which inevitably leads to loss of productivity, loss of confidence from employees, and several cases of trial and error.

Why Engineers Should Get an MBA

An MBA for engineers makes perfect sense for several reasons. Hiring managers are highly motivated to find talent who possess engineering expertise as well as a knowledge of accounting, finance, budgets, marketing, and management. This skillset combination can make a candidate highly desirable.

Having an MBA enables engineers to speak the language of their industry and those occupying the C-suites.

Engineers tend to have many traits that make them good candidates for MBA programs and leadership positions: Curiosity, critical thinking abilities, and a collaborative spirit. The following is a list of CEOs who have engineering degrees and have been successful at navigating the competitive corporate landscape:

  • Virginia Rometty, IBM CEO and Chairwoman
  • Sundar Pichai, Google Inc. CEO
  • Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing, Inc. President and CEO
  • Jeff Bezos, Amazon, Founder, and CEO
  • Denise Gray, LG Chem Power CEO and President as well as a Kettering University Alum

These innovative leaders have married their technical expertise and savvy business acumen to change how we work, how we communicate, how we travel, and how we shop.

Engineering Careers for MBA Graduates

Those with an engineering degree, and an MBA from Kettering University Online, become viable candidates for jobs in a number of industries, promotions within a company for whom they already work, or a new position in an alternative career. The following list are examples of available careers for those with BOTH engineering degree AND an MBA:

  • Engineering Operations Director
  • Vice President of Engineering
  • Engineering Project Leader
  • Senior Project Manager
  • Senior Control Engineer
  • Engineering Program Manager
  • Lead Project Manager

Transferable Skills

“Engineering is a highly structured discipline that focuses on problem-solving. This analytical capability is also highly valued in the business world, but engineers often lack the business skills to leverage this capability. Engineers who are interested in management, or starting their own companies, need to be able to tackle larger and more abstract strategic problems such as project management, budgets, forecasting, cost estimation, and proposal development” (Crawford, 2015, para. 2).

Engineers work to make our daily personal and professional lives more comfortable, safer, and easier to navigate. It may seem like a disconnect for those with a degree in engineering to go back to school for an MBA, but in reality, it makes perfect sense. For example, engineers have specific skills that are easily transferable to the administration and management of a business. Curiosity, critical thinking abilities, problem identification, and problem-solving abilities, creativity, persistence, and the ability to collaborate are all skills senior leadership, regardless of industry, value.

Your Next Step!

Many professionals in the engineering field are deciding which path to take to reach their next level of professional development. The Kettering University Online MBA is a good match if you:

  • Have an engineering degree and a desire to be a manager, consultant, or entrepreneur
  • Are an engineer, scientist, or computer scientist wanting to add financial, management, and leadership expertise to your already established technical skill-set
  • Would like to complete your degree in as few as 18 months
  • Are interested in leveraging our Learn Today- Use Tomorrow philosophy which supports the ability to translate coursework directly to your personal or professional situation
  • Would like to benefit from our extensive alumni network with connections to notable organizations such as General Motors, Bosch, Boeing, Fisher-Price, Whirlpool, GE, and NASA among hundreds of others

Kettering University's MBA Program for Engineers

An MBA can make the difference in gaining the skills and knowledge to understand how to adjust and transform business practices, regardless of the circumstances in the world From managerial accounting to international business, enterprise information system models to managing people and organizations, Kettering University’s award-winning MBA (ranked #1 in Michigan according to MBA Central) is designed to expose you to the most current academic research and innovative approaches to business. The design of the courses allows you to find solutions to your real-world problems with the Learn Today-Use Tomorrow approach to learning.



Crawford, M. (2015, August). To MBA or Not to MBA.
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