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Should I Get an MBA as an Engineer?

engineer with tablet

Jeremy WilliamsLearn why an engineering undergraduate chose to pursue an MBA degree and how he’s using both in his current career.

Jeremy Williams always thought an engineering degree and an MBA made a perfect combination. A graduate from Miami University’s mechanical engineering program in 2010, Jeremy knew his education didn’t stop there. After working for a few years, he decided to attend George Washington University’s MBA program to round out his engineering education. Jeremy reflects on his unique path, why getting an MBA as an engineer makes sense, and how he combines both degrees as a product manager at GMAC.

Why did you decide to pursue your MBA?

It goes back to when I was deciding to do engineering. I don’t remember what I was reading, but there was some statistic that said X percentage of Fortune 500 CEOs have an engineering degree. I don’t remember the percentage exactly, but I know it was in the double digits! It helped me see that an engineering degree opens up a lot of paths that other degrees don’t necessarily do. I thought getting an MBA would be a natural next step after a few years of working. I felt that I needed to get some relevant work experience in order to maximize the potential of an MBA.

How was your MBA experience as an engineering student?

The biggest thing I noticed was that data analysis or math was not difficult for me in the MBA program. A lot of people struggled with finance courses, but for me it wasn’t calculating the numbers, it was understanding the why behind it. I also found the way I was taught as an engineering student helped in my classes. We’re taught as engineers to approach problem solving with a critical thinking mindset and I think helps a lot of engineers do well in an MBA program.

Did you have a lot of engineering classmates?

I wasn’t the only engineer at George Washington University! My particular class was 20-25% engineers. It was higher than I thought it would be! My class had a pretty heavy international student body, so that could skew the amount higher as well.

What did you focus on in your MBA program?

I did digital marketing and business analytics as my two concentrations. Digital marketing was the area I wanted to transition to after my MBA and I thought business analytics would be a refresher for my engineering degree. I thought it would tie well into my math background and help me apply it more to the business world.

Does your current role combine both areas of study? How so?

Product management does. Here at GMAC there’s a lot of data analysis involved, so it complements well with my engineering background. I’m comfortable analyzing data and looking at it, and I’m able to draw more business conclusions from the data with my MBA and apply it to day-to-day business practices.

Do you have any advice you would give to engineering students considering getting their MBA?

The numbers part of an MBA should not be intimidating. What you should do as an engineering student is take advantage of all of the other types of business courses you can take in an MBA program. You should not be afraid to get out of numbers and do more courses in HR or project management. Just do things that are not so quantitative and focus a lot more on the qualitative aspect. That will help you a lot.

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