The MEM or the MBA: Which is right for you?

Road sign with the words Right Direction and Wrong Direction pointing in opposite directions. Where do you imagine yourself in 5 years? Are you thinking of graduate or professional school but finding the whole process a bit intimidating? You are not alone!

There are many factors that can impact the decision to pursue a graduate degree. From finding the right program to securing resources and making personal sacrifices, the decision process is undeniably hard.

We have created a checklist for you to help you make the decision that is right for you. For more information, you can always reach out to a member of our team by filling out the form on this page or by sending an email to our MEM Coordinator.

MEM

PREFERRED BY ENGINEERING & TECHNICAL COMPANIES

  • Primary focus on management and leadership of complex engineering operations or systems
  • Tailor-made for those with STEM backgrounds
  • Typically 30 credit hours (completion possible in 2 years)
  • Enhances both technical/operational and business skills
MBA

PREFERRED BY NONTECHNICAL COMPANIES

  • Broader curriculum with a focus on making business decisions at the firm level
  • Typically 48 credit hours (could take 4 or more years)
  • May require GMAT or GRE

Key Features

MEM
  • Translate engineering projects into business plans
  • Gain skills in strategy, leadership, operations, quality, finance
  • Specialized hybrid of technical/operational and business courses folow EMBOK (Engineering Management Body of Knowledge)

KEY SKILLS:

  • Strategic planning of engineering and technology
  • Leadership and design thinking
  • Managing/leading technical people, projects, teams, operations
  • Communication and presentation
  • Decision and risk analysis
    • Applied courses
    • Immediate utility at the functional level
MBA
  • Focus is on business management theory and practice
  • Gain knowledge in leadership, teamwork, strategic thinking and time management
  • General business courses like accounting, marketing, HR

KEY SKILLS:

  • Strategic thinking for the business
  • Leadership and organization
  • Marketing innovation
  • Communication
    • Conceptual courses
    • Focus is high: Firm/business level

What you'll need to earn a graduate degree

MEM
  • Engineering or science-related undergraduate degree
  • 2 years of experience/tech work experience (Average is 5-6 years)
  • Appeals to professionals at all levels
    • Those aspiring to become manager or to become better employees
    • Mid-career engineers to enhance their strategic and managerial skills
MBA
  • General bachelor’s degree (A to Z: Art to Zoology are eligible)
  • Most require 1-2 years of paid work experience
  • Average work experience is 3-5 years
  • Demonstrated leadership experience: internships, other organizations/groups

Jobs and Opportunities

MEM
$111,000
AVERAGE SALARY - ENGINEERING MANAGER

Our graduates primarily work in:

  • High-tech companies
  • Construction Management
  • Research and Development
  • Biomedical; Biotech; Medical Devices companies
  • Engineering Services; Public or Private Utilities
  • Manufacturing

More than 90% of MEM graduates work in engineering and technology industries

MBA
$102,495
AVERAGE SALARY INCLUDING BONUS

Graduates primarily work in:

  • Economics
  • Banking, Finance, Investment
  • Marketing and Human Resources
  • Retail, hospitality, general services
  • Non-profit organizations

Less than 30% of graduates work in engineering and technology industries

Recommended Articles

Podcasts

The Engineering Career Coach Podcast provides career advice to engineers of all ages and experience levels. The host of the show, an engineer himself, Jeff Perry, interviews engineers ranging from recent engineering graduates to professionals from top engineering organizations on different career goals and challenges. Topics covered include but are not limited to job search, goal setting, finding a mentor, obtaining the right credentials, communication skills, public speaking, networking, organizational skills, productivity, leadership, and more.

Master's Degrees Comparison

CategoryMEMMBA
Curriculum Technical & Operational knowledge/skills; Aligned with EMBOK: Engineering Management Body of Knowledge Core Business & Marketing Knowledge for General Business
Industry Managing & Leading
Engineering & Technology
General
Business Management
Academic Background STEM; Mostly Engineering
Work experience
No Restriction (A to Z: Art to Zoology)
Work Experience (Mixed)
Learning Env. & Experience Streamlined Courses & Resources
Cross Pollination of Ideas
Academic Preparedness & Perspectives
Credit hours Most 30 Credits Most in 40s and Higher
Focus Operations & Functional Level
Applied; Immediate Job Utility
High; Firm/Business Level
Conceptual
Faculty Engineering degrees
With engineering industry experience
Business degrees
Academic experience or lacking engineering experience
Finances
(Reimbursement)
Employer Tuition
Reimbursement Benefits
Confirm with Supervisor or HR



SOURCES:



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Connect with us to learn more about our online Master of Engineering Management program.

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