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Assessing The Career Value Of A Graduate Engineering Management Degree

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Assessment in EM Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.235.1 - 7.235.5



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William Daughton

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Session 3642

An Analysis of the Career Value of a Graduate Engineering Management Degree

William J. Daughton Lockheed Martin Engineering Management Program University of Colorado at Boulder


The Lockheed Martin Engineering Management Program in the College of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Colorado at Boulder has been granting graduate degrees for 14 years, and in that time over 200 engineers have graduated. The focus of the graduate program is to prepare individuals who have been working as professional engineers for two to approximately six years for technical management career paths. We have been interested in the value of this degree to our graduates in initially moving into a management position and to the longer-term value to their career advancement. A questionnaire was prepared and disseminated to all graduates from 1988 through 1997, and a second questionnaire is now being processed for graduates from 1998 through 2001. The reason for conducting two different surveys is that the curriculum was significantly changed starting in 1997. In both surveys, information has been sought on the value of our graduate program to our graduates’ careers. This paper will report the results of the first survey.


The program evolved from discussion between the College of Engineering and Applied Science and local industry about the need to provide engineers with a practical set of management skills prior to undertaking early management assignments. High technology companies, such as the then Martin Marietta, were concerned that many engineers were entering management positions responsible for project or development teams or promoted to managers of small departments or work groups with little preparation. Ironically, these opportunities sometimes came as a reward for a job well done for engineering contributions but placed the individual in an awkward position. As Matson1 and Lancaster 2 have reported, and this author observed while working in industry, engineers usually find themselves very poorly equipped to take on their management assignments. To exacerbate this situation, many individuals cannot leave the workplace for an extended period to obtain the essential management education. In some cases this even extends to attending during evenings and on weekends. Business travel, work crises, and family obligations make attendance at regularly scheduled classes very difficult. Given the above considerations, a flexible and portable graduate program that students can take while they continue working is a highly desirable option.

Based on the issues highlighted above, the program’s guiding principles can be summarized as:

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition Copyright Ó 2002 American Society for Engineering Education

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Daughton, W. (2002, June), Assessing The Career Value Of A Graduate Engineering Management Degree Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10161

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