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jazzmaster
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re: Do engineers need an MBA?
jazzmaster   9/27/2012 6:13:40 PM
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^ here is the problem, jackasses MBA/management people think they don;t have to understand a business to run it. The marriage of ignorance and arrogance has destroyed several once successful companies I have worked for. If you hire people like this, you deserve the failure coming your way.

Thomas McCormick
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re: Do engineers need an MBA?
Thomas McCormick   9/27/2012 5:44:53 PM
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I think that there is a world of difference between an engineer who earns an MBA later in their career as compared to someone who focuses exclusively on business management. As a member of the first group (or I will be after 2012/12), I think that the MBA and engineering disciplines complement each other very well. Engineering approaches to problems are pragmatic and technically focused whereas MBA approaches to problems (at least by the discipline; not necessarily the example of the practitioners) are more broadly applicable. Engineers and MBAs may be at odds in any given company setting, but it takes both engineering and business focus to have a successful product. A person with both skill sets is at an advantage. At least I hope so...

Thomas McCormick
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Blogger
re: Do engineers need an MBA?
Thomas McCormick   9/27/2012 5:43:43 PM
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I think that there is a world of difference between an engineer who earns an MBA later in their career as compared to someone who focuses exclusively on business management. As a member of the first group (or I will be after 2012/12), I think that the MBA and engineering disciplines complement each other very well. Engineering approaches to problems are pragmatic and technically focused whereas MBA approaches to problems (at least by the discipline; not necessarily the example of the practitioners) are more broadly applicable. Engineers and MBAs may be at odds in any given company setting, but it takes both engineering and business focus to have a successful product. A person with both skill sets is at an advantage. At least I hope so...

sh10453
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re: Do engineers need an MBA?
sh10453   9/27/2012 2:55:16 PM
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If we continue to concentrate on "BS", and on abandoning the engineering careers (by going to management, for higher pay), we'll eventually have quite a healthy number of managers, bean-counters, PowerPoint experts, who, combined together, cannot design a single transistor! We have already seen that a lot of our engineering design or work is going overseas, and a very large percentage of our technical people are from abroad. Corporate America is governed and driven by people (mostly non-technical) who are mainly concerned with their huge bonuses. They know all the "unethical" tricks to play around with the books, and to make things look better for the shareholders or the owners (are these tricks taught in MBA programs? You bet!). Engineers have become very much the first to go (expendable) when the bean-counters want to "save money" by a certain percentage, so things would look better, and the CEO, along with the rest of "the good old boys' club" get the maximum possible bonus. I see no end to this practice and mentality, unless engineers gain some sort of power, which is not possible without a union, and that is another subject that should be the topic for some next debate. I am not a big fan of unions, but I don't know of any other way for engineers to form a formidable weight. For now, things will stay the same.

Dave Callaghan
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re: Do engineers need an MBA?
Dave Callaghan   9/27/2012 1:51:31 PM
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A quick scan through the comments and I correlate most closely with your thoughts Jeff. The great divide between finance/business/sales and technical/engineering is getting worse. Often leading to shameless exploitation of good quality technical people who have dedicated their working lives to technical excellence. They are treated as completely and arbitrarily expendible. Business success is paying the price for this short-sighted attitude.

Bert22306
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CEO
re: Do engineers need an MBA?
Bert22306   9/26/2012 6:53:26 PM
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We are probably speaking past one another, and also, personal experiences might color this too. In my experience, most innovations we create for our products, including all-new products, are the result of engineering making the proposals to our management. Engineering has to "sell" the concept to management, and get R&D funds to make it happen. Rarely, if ever, has it been the other way around. Now sure, management gets to decide whether R&D funds will be provided. But even then, if management balks, we tend to try to figure out other ways of making the update or new product a reality. Perhaps even finding other sources of funding. In my personal opinion, this is the job of engineering. Management usually doesn't have the background or interest to be able to come up with viable new ideas on products and/or techniques.

abraxalito
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re: Do engineers need an MBA?
abraxalito   9/26/2012 1:53:47 AM
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I agree management does need to be guided by engineering but only rarely does that happen. One reason it doesn't is management and engineering speak different languages. Therefore management makes the decisions and engineering has to make do with what management decides.

abraxalito
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re: Do engineers need an MBA?
abraxalito   9/26/2012 1:51:28 AM
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Read the book first, then decide if there's something you need to understand beyond that - http://www.amazon.com/Ten-Day-MBA-4th-Step---Step/dp/0062199579/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1348624208&sr=1-1&keywords=10+day+mba

JeffL_2
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CEO
re: Do engineers need an MBA?
JeffL_2   9/26/2012 1:24:04 AM
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I really like the fact that you lead off a sentence with "management is a science..." because it allows me to highlight the problem here. I've now worked the majority of my career either as a software engineer or alongside them. Now lots of management textbooks will concede that a manager who makes the correct decision 55% of the time is doing an excellent job. Suppose you're participating in the design of a program that's a million lines of code. How much of your job is complete if you've written your portion of the million lines but only 55% of them are correct, how much of the program will perform correctly, how much of your bonus are you entitled to collect? But I've been continuously confronted by managers to remind me how "the manager's job is HARD and the programmer's is EASY". Not only is this (at best) NEGATIVE motivation, it treats the software people as if they're completely incapable of forming rational opinions, and why would they even hire people who they have such a low opinion of to do such demanding work, only to pretend it isn't demanding? This way they've managed to lose on all counts, yet I see the same situation over and over again...!

narra78
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Rookie
re: Do engineers need an MBA?
narra78   9/25/2012 11:50:11 PM
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As a Failure Analysis Engr where we are known to be "jack of all trades" in a semiconductor industry and deals with different kinds/levels of internal/external customers, I don't think that a degree in management will help us in finding the root cause of the problem.

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