Every week, we give you the opportunity to ask one of our chosen admissions experts anything you want to know about getting into business school. One question each week is chosen for our expert to answer.
This week, our question comes from Makarand Sawarkar (pictured) from Pune, India.
He completed his electrical electronics and power engineering degree in 2017 and has worked as a manufacturing engineer and service engineer for nearly two years.
His question is answered by Wendy Pearson, MBA and Masters careers consultant at Durham University Business School.
Applicant Question of the Week:
I completed my Electrical Electronics and Power Engineering degree in 2017 and worked as a manufacturing engineer and service engineer for 1.6 years. I am looking for job opportunities in the MBA field. Please guide me!
If engineers ask how, MBAs ask why.
As an engineer, you will have developed in-depth technical knowledge, which enables you to develop solutions to known problems.
An MBA will complement your technical expertise with a greater breadth of commercial understanding.
This enables you to take both strategic and operational perspectives, which makes you a valuable asset in a range of functions and industries.
Added to that, engineers tend to be very good at making connections, whether between the functions in a process or between parts of a complex business structure or supply chain.
Through your MBA, you will also gain skills in asking 'who'.
You will gain an insight into different aspects of a business, so you can lead projects which bring together stakeholders from marketing, finance and human resources, as well as your fellow technical experts.
You can also use the international aspects of your MBA to help you to coordinate projects over multiple locations.
Your engineering background, together with an MBA, can open the door to multiple career options.
You could stay close to your roots in a role that takes your engineering career to the next level.
Chief engineer or project management roles provide team and stakeholder management and require business, project, resource, and budget management, as well as the ability to plan ahead to be at the forefront of technology innovation and funding opportunities.
This kind of career progression will often require a higher level of client interaction, as well as the ability to act as a trusted technical adviser to help them to grow their business as well as yours.
You may choose to move further away from engineering and explore other career opportunities, which will use your skills in a different way.
These might include consultancy, or more data-driven analytical roles.
There are some consultancies who have a strong track record of employing engineers with MBAs. This is particularly the case for operational consultancy.
Whether you choose to stick with engineering or branch out in a new direction, it is important that you do your own research.
Before you commit to an MBA, check the roles available in your target market.
A simple search of jobs boards listing roles in your area will give you a feel for the qualifications and experience required by employers.
You can also check out the career paths of the alumni of the schools you are considering (LinkedIn works well for this). What do the engineers who attended the business schools of your choice go on to do?
Don’t just look at their jobs post-MBA, but their longer term progression to help you chart your own career journey.
Ideally, you will come to your MBA with a clear goal but also an open mind.
Your goal will make it easier for others to support you and give you a focus to work towards.
One of the most exciting aspects of an MBA program is the wealth of new insights, both personal and professional, that you will have access to.
Keeping an open mind will help you to engage with a wide range of guest speakers and develop your network to support your career development in the long term.
For most professions, an MBA is not a requirement, but more a signal that you are ambitious, ready to learn and are not afraid of new challenges.
It will be up to you to communicate what you can offer to potential employers.
Ask an Admissions Expert a Question!
Next week, you'll have the opportunity to ask Dawna Clarke, executive director of admissions for University of Virginia, Darden School of Business, anything you want about getting into business school.
Dawna joined Darden as executive director of admissions in October 2017.
She oversees the recruitment strategy for admission to the full-time MBA and the Executive MBA.
*Images are interviewees' own