If you already have a strong technical background and you would like to diversify into a more managerial role, then a Master of Engineering Management (MEM) degree program is the perfect further education option for you.
Providing you with the opportunity to increase your salary potential and work in a wide variety of exciting industries, some of the principle duties of engineering managers include project management, research and product development.
During your studies, you will learn how to effectively manage a team of engineers, ensuring the smooth and timely completion of a project within the allocated budget.
Although as an engineer you may not feel that these tasks come naturally to you, once you have completed your degree program, you will feel confident in your management abilities and ready for this exciting new chapter in your career.
Within the below ultimate guide, you will find out everything you need to know about undertaking an engineering management degree, including:
- Is this the right degree program for me?
- What qualifications and experience do I need to pursue this degree?
- What soft skills do I need to thrive in this career field?
- What jobs can I expect to go into?
- How much can I expect to be paid?
- Should I undertake my degree online or on-campus?
- What are the best countries for studying engineering management?
Is an Engineering Management degree the right choice for me?
Suppose you are looking to advance your career in the field of engineering. In that case, whether that be by progressing within your current position or broadening your horizons to another related area, an engineering management degree will teach you how to effectively communicate with your employees, your colleagues and your clients alike, whilst also honing your existing technical skills and expertise.
A Master’s in Engineering Management could be the right choice for your career if you are:
- An engineering graduate who is interested in developing skills in business, technology management or entrepreneurship
- You are interested in industrial management or construction management
- You are looking for an alternative to an MBA
In terms of salary potential, managerial positions within the following industries are extremely lucrative:
- Oil and Gas Extraction
- Scientific Research & Development
- Spectator Sports
- Commercial Equipment & Supplies Merchant Wholesalers
- Lessors of Nonfinancial Intangible Assets
That being said, whichever specific industry you decide to go into once qualified, you can expect to earn a higher than average wage, with strong job prospects across the board.
What can I expect to study during an engineering management degree course?
Although each specific degree course will vary slightly depending on where you to choose to study, you can expect to focus on the below core areas of engineering management:
- Budgets and financing
- Project management
- People management and leadership
- Analytics-driven decision making
- Product innovation management
- Operations management
- Quality control
Additionally, this degree program also typically incorporates areas of study, including:
- Systems engineering
- Industrial engineering
- Mathematical modelling
- Management information systems
- Product engineering
That being said, you will also have the opportunity to choose which specific modules you want to focus on as you advance in your studies and start to plan your future career path.
Do I have the skills needed to succeed in engineering management?
As a general rule, engineers are hired predominantly for their technical skills. However, if you want to diversify into a more managerial role, you will need to acquire a whole new set of skills.
You will learn to develop the below skills whilst undertaking your Master’s:
- Project management. As well as managing your team of engineers, you will also be required to oversee a project from start to finish. This means you need to have strong project management skills, including being able to allocate and manage budgets, meet deadlines and coordinate communication between different departments.
- As a manager, you need to be able to effectively communicate with your team, as well as with your clients.
- Decision-making. Once you are in charge, you will have to be able to make quick and decisive choices, especially when problems arise.
- You need to be able to delegate as a manager, with the ability to determine your employees’ strengths and weaknesses.
- Technical knowledge. As mentioned above, you will, of course, need to have excellent technical skills to succeed as an engineering manager or similar role.
- Team building. As with any management role, you need to be able to help your teamwork harmoniously together.
As well as the above, it can also be advantageous to have the below soft skills:
- Emotional intelligence
- Listening skills
- Be able to negotiate conflict
What qualifications and experience do I need to undertake a Master’s in Engineering Management?
Many different engineering roles would have helped prepare you for pursuing an engineering management degree. These include:
- Civil Engineer
- Chemical Engineer
- Electrical Engineer
- Software Engineer
- Software Developer
- Research Analyst
- Research Scientist
That being said, for most universities, the requirements for undertaking this specific degree course are:
- Minimum 2 years’ experience in engineering work experience
- Bachelor’s degree in engineering, computer science or physical science
- Two letters of recommendation
- Strong resume
However, it is always advised to check your preferred university’s requirements before applying to avoid disappointment.
Why choose a Master’s in engineering management over an MBA?
If you are not sure whether to undertake an MBA, master’s in business administration, or a MEM, them it is worth knowing the key distinctions that characterise the latter. These include:
- Focused application. A MEM is ideal for those who want to work within an organisation that is highly focused on engineering and technology.
- Name recognition. Although an MBA may be more instantly recognisable, global employers generally regard a MEM at the same level as this popular qualification.
- Background in STEM. If you have experience in science, technology, engineering or mathematics, then a MEM is a better further education option for you than an MBA.
What jobs can I expect to go into once I have completed my engineering management degree?
As touched upon above, there are a wide variety of exciting and lucrative industries that you can choose to go into once qualified.
Here are some of the most popular engineering management graduate jobs below, including each one’s expected salary.
Engineering Project Manager
Responsible for planning and directing all design engineers, technical engineers and drafters, you will manage specific projects from start to finish. You will also have to evaluate and approve changes that affect both the budget and schedule of each project you undertake.
The average salary for an engineering project manager is:
- £48,977 in the UK
- $141,558 in the United States
- CA$154 in Canada
Construction Management Engineer
A construction management engineer, also known as a site engineer or construction manager, is responsible for the successful completion of construction projects. You will also have to estimate and plan the associated costs for each project and effectively manage your team.
The average salary for a construction management engineer is:
- £55,000 in the UK
- $92,184 in the United States
Industrial Management Engineer
Industrial engineering management involves the design, improvement, installation and management of integrated systems of people, materials and equipment. Duties include approving supplies and labour, analysing costs, effectively executing projects and supporting employees.
The average salary for an industrial engineering manager is:
- £54,483 in the UK
- $103,543 in the United States
Senior Lead Analyst
A senior lead analyst provides strategic business analysis services to business partners. You will be responsible for addressing operational, financial and technological risks, as well as identifying opportunities where you can improve overall efficiency.
The average salary of a senior lead analyst is:
- £50,501 in the UK
- $103,208 in the United States
Other popular careers you may want to consider with this qualification include:
- Chemical Process Engineer
- Client Services Analyst
- Design Engineer
- Associate Marketing Manager
- Automation Engineer
- Economics Consultant
- Director of Hardware Engineering
How do I choose the right university to study for my Engineering Management degree?
Choosing where to pursue your degree in engineering management can be just as challenging as choosing the degree program itself, with so many factors that need to be considered.
As you are studying for an advanced degree, you are likely to be already working in the field of engineering, or a related sector such as computer science or physical science. Therefore, unless you are willing to take a sabbatical from work or you are currently in between jobs, you will need to find a degree program that offers flexibility in terms of where and when you can study.
Online vs. on-campus degrees
Online degree programs have become increasingly popular in recent years, offering students the chance to earn their degree from anywhere in the world without the need for a visa or for travelling.
Furthermore, there are now more online universities than ever before, allowing you to enjoy a level of teaching that rivals any on-campus facility.
Some of the benefits of studying for your engineering management degree online rather than on-campus include:
If you are currently working or you have family commitments that make travelling to and from a campus difficult, then an online degree is the obvious choice for you. Offering complete flexibility, both in terms of where and when you can study, you can continue to work full-time and still complete your degree within a reasonable timeframe.
Although the tuition fees for online universities and on-campus courses are fairly similar, you can save money on other expenses when you choose to study online. For example, you won’t have to pay for childcare or travel costs. Plus, you can continue to earn as you study.
Although you won’t have face to face contact with your tutors and your fellow students when studying online, that doesn’t mean that you won’t be supported in your overall learning journey. You can expect exactly the same amount of contact hours as you would get by undertaking your master’s on-campus.
Plus, you will have access to webinars, virtual forums and other forms of e-learning that will help you succeed in your degree.
High accreditation standards
If you are worried that an online degree course will not offer the same high standards as one carried out on-campus, then rest assured this is not the case. Online courses are just as academically rigorous as their on-campus counterparts and will be subject to the same accreditation standards.
Furthermore, once qualified, potential employers, will value an online Master’s in the same way as they would an on-campus one. Possibly even more so, as completing a degree online takes a lot of self-motivation and drive, plus, you need to have excellent time management skills.
What are the best countries for studying engineering management?
While there is a growing demand for engineering management professionals worldwide, there are certain countries that are known for their expertise in this field and that offer superior degree programs.
That being said, with so many universities offering this particular degree course, you need to ensure that you do your research before applying. Make sure you read student tutorials, check out what student services are offered and look into the faculty members. Undertaking a master’s degree is a big commitment, and you want to ensure that you pick the right university to support your learning and development and to help maximise your success.
Companies and organisations across many different industries are invested in hiring qualified engineers, with those who also display strong leadership and managerial skills being even more sought-after.
A degree in engineering management can enable you to combine your technical skills with savvy business acumen, effective leadership and strong interpersonal communication skills, transforming you into a highly in-demand candidate worldwide.
Whether you want to climb the career ladder at your current employer or you want to broaden your horizons (and your salary), this challenging and rewarding degree program can help you achieve your career goals in as little as two years.
What are you waiting for? Take your first step to a brighter future today!