Choosing Between MEM and MBA after Engineering

MBA and MEM (Master of Engineering Management) are both management degrees, but the latter is tailor-made for students from engineering backgrounds. Find out which is better for you as an engineering graduate.

After engineering, many Indians are moving towards MBA programs abroad, since a management degree from an overseas university is considered to be the ticket to success in the modern corporate workplaces found pan-industry. But, another overseas management education alternative that engineering graduates have been veering towards is the MEM, or Master of Engineering Management.

Current popularity of MBA

The MBA is a traditional program with a focus on subjects like marketing and finance. Education and study abroad organization QS has revealed that the majority of students planning an overseas education take up courses in FAME (Finance, Accounting, Business Management and Economics). However, not all of these students are from a Commerce background. More and more top business schools around the world are accepting students from Science, Technology, and Engineering and Mathematics backgrounds. This includes Ivy League schools in the US and the Russell Group universities in the UK and many other schools across the globe.

Growing popularity of MEM

But MEM is becoming more popular with engineers, since it is a specialized management program applying engineering techniques and principles in business. It is suitable for scientists who want to become adept at the aspects of their work that require managerial skills. MEM is also commonly known as the Engineer's MBA. Have a look at a few universities that offer MEM programs: MIT, Dartmouth College, Cornell University, Stanford University.

MBA vs. MEM for General students

The major difference between MBA and MEM is that MBA can be pursued by students of any background, be it science, humanities, engineering, commerce or even medicine. No technical knowledge is required to apply for an MBA program.

On the other hand, MEM courses can only be taken up by engineering students who want to continue to build a career in the technological field but also develop their managerial skills. Work opportunities for engineering managers include jobs in the oil and gas sector, associate or analyst positions in scientific consulting firms and scientific R&D services.

As a result, educational background clearly demarcates who can join an MBA or an MEM course. But, when it comes to engineering students who are indecisive about which is preferable, there are some things to know.

MBA vs MEM for Engineering Students

The first question to ask before making a decision is why the student wants to pursue management. Students who want to continue in technical fields may not benefit from an MBA as much as those who want to pursue non-technical fields like marketing, finance, operations etc. Taking on an MBA could mean exploring areas such as advertising, banking, investment consultancy and other areas completely irrelevant to the student's technical background.

On the other hand, MEM programs teach managerial and engineering techniques so that students can stay rooted in their field while learning practical management skills to apply in it. MEM programs will include subjects like Computer simulation for risk, Financial issues or Accounting for engineers and so on.

Another important difference between the two lies in the application requirements. MBA only accepts GMAT scores but, if you have taken the GRE exam, you can apply for an MEM which accepts both scores. Since, each of these tests can be expensive to take students should carefully choose which test to take while making a decision between MBA and MEM.

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Author: Kailash Kumar14 May 2016 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 3

There are few other differences and similarities between MEM and MBA programs. Though the traditional MBA programs generally require two years to complete, MEM programs can be completed in one year. Also admission to regular MBA program in reputed universities is very competitive and generally require few to many years of work experience for admissions which is not the case with MEM programs. The students with MEM background generally find jobs related to management in a technology based organization, where as the traditional MBAs target general executive level management jobs. The core courses in MEM programs are generally marketing, management, finance and law, with a wide range of technical electives in engineering, management or business whereas in MBA programs the core courses are economics, marketing, accounting, finance etc. with electives in corporate strategy, management, human resources, international business and organizational behavior like courses.

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