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Effectively Recruiting Engineers To Become Mba Students

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Emerging EM Areas

Tagged Division

Engineering Management

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.520.1 - 11.520.7



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Paper Authors


Erin Brown Valparaiso University

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Erin L. Brown is the Assistant Director of the Valparaiso University Master of Business Administration Program. Her area of research focuses primarily on the continued development of students who receive advanced degrees in business and engineering. Currently she is serving as an adjunct faculty member teaching first-year management courses.

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Doug Tougaw Valparaiso University

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Doug Tougaw is the Leitha and Willard Richardson Professor of Engineering and Department Chair of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Valparaiso University. His area of scientific research is nanotechnology, and his teaching interests include first-year courses and the interaction between engineering and business.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Effectively Recruiting Engineers to Become Graduate Management Students

1. Introduction Engineering is becoming an increasingly complex profession, one in which technical skills alone are no longer sufficient to guarantee professional success. In addition to a thorough understanding of the principles of engineering science and engineering design, one now needs to demonstrate exemplary communication and teamwork skills in order to succeed. Increasingly, it is also necessary for an engineer in a management position to understand and apply the principles of effective business administration, including knowledge of finance, operations management, and team development and leadership. Although these skills can be learned on the job, it is frequently more effective for aspiring engineering managers to develop them as part of a graduate management degree. In this paper, we will describe the benefits of a graduate management degree to a professional engineer, the graduate management programs available for engineering managers at Valparaiso University, and the methods used to recruit engineering graduates to become students in those programs. We will close with an assessment of the results of these efforts and lessons learned over several years of recruiting engineers to become engineering managers.

2. Benefits of Engineering Management Education for Engineering Students It has been recognized for a number of years that every engineering graduate should possess some knowledge about the world of business, and that those competencies can serve to help them advance their careers.1-2 The benefits of learning about the fundamentals of engineering management are numerous, including developing skills in leadership and teamwork that are valuable to the student even in other undergraduate courses.3,4 Furthermore, developing skills in this area can promote entrepreneurship, which is a natural complement to engineering management skills.5 Engineering management skills are so important and diverse that some universities offer accredited degrees that instill these skills in their students throughout their four-year undergraduate career. Although these programs vary in their areas of emphasis, all are designed to be practical degrees that prepare their graduates to become leaders in engineering organizations.6-10

Many undergraduate programs integrate engineering management skills into their senior design sequence.11-13 Frequently, this is done in an effort to commercialize the senior projects themselves, but it is also done in an effort to instill an entrepreneurial spirit in the engineering students as they are on the verge of graduation. Similar benefits have been observed when applying the principles of engineering management to an undergraduate research program— student performance in the research project saw gains, and students also developed important skills in project management and scheduling.14

Although the benefits of engineering management education are significant, there are also several hurdles that minimize or prevent its inclusion in typical undergraduate engineering programs. The primary hurdle is the large amount of technical and non-technical material that already must be fit into a four-year engineering degree.15 As the non-technical expectations on engineering graduates continue to increase, the faculty and administrators responsible for

Brown, E., & Tougaw, D. (2006, June), Effectively Recruiting Engineers To Become Mba Students Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--1148

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2006 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015