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How to Become an Engineering Manager

A career as an engineering manager promises a rewarding professional life and excellent compensation. Highlighted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), engineering managers enjoy a median salary of $159,920, proof of their critical role. To ascend to these positions, candidates must possess a blend of specialized education and practical experience, with a combination of finely tuned innate capabilities. Catering to these rigorous demands, Henderson State University offers an AACSB-accredited Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a Concentration in Engineering Management online program.

This program marries core business principles with the nuances of engineering management, emphasizing logistics, supply chain management and continuous quality improvement. The accelerated format ensures that learning is both flexible and accessible for working professionals, enabling them to complete their degree in as few as 14 months. Graduates enter the field equipped with a robust skill set, paving their way to a succession of high-profile positions in project management, consultancy and executive leadership.

Essential Skills for Engineering Management Professionals

Engineering management is a complex discipline that demands a well-rounded skill set, incorporating both technical expertise, known as hard skills, and interpersonal aptitudes, referred to as soft skills. Hard skills are essential for completing technical tasks and leading projects to success. In contrast, soft skills are crucial for managing personal interactions and one’s own resources.

The following are key skills every aspiring engineering manager should develop in a post-graduate program:

  • Strategic thinking: the ability to engage in high-level planning and envision the broader implications of project decisions sets apart effective leaders
  • Critical thinking and analytics: indispensable skills for evaluating the progress of business initiatives, solving intricate technical issues and making evidence-based decisions
  • Decision-making: about the willingness to make tough choices, as strong decision-making skills are essential for the progress of the engineering department
  • Project management: involves setting realistic budgets, allocating resources wisely, facilitating communication and ensuring they hit project milestones on schedule
  • Relationship-building: the capacity to forge and maintain quality relationships for creating a cohesive team and facilitating smooth collaboration across departments
  • Communication and inspiration: articulate complex ideas clearly and inspire their teams to achieve their best
  • Constructive feedback: allows managers to offer actionable feedback encouraging improvement without sparking conflict and fosters a positive and productive environment
  • Detail-orientation: keeping a keen mind to prevent minor errors from escalating into major issues, saving considerable time and effort in project development and code revision
  • Delegation: allows managers to distribute tasks efficiently, ensuring they can focus on strategic planning and other high-level responsibilities
  • Advanced mathematics: proficiency in calculus and other disciplines that are essential for developing tactical products and designs, as well as supporting tasks such as coding and review
  • Working well under pressure: managing stress effectively, solving problems on short notice and meeting tight deadlines to maintain project momentum

Cultivating these skills in the incubator of an engineering-specific MBA program can significantly enhance an engineering manager’s ability to lead their team to success, manage projects efficiently and contribute to advancing their organization’s goals.

Responsibilities of Engineering Managers

Engineering managers serve as crucial bridges between the technical aspects of engineering projects and the overarching goals of their organizations. These professionals oversee the coordination, planning and execution of engineering tasks, ensuring projects align with corporate strategies. Their role encompasses a wide range of responsibilities, from leading innovative development and research initiatives to formulating budgets and managing multidisciplinary teams. They not only delegate tasks according to team members’ expertise but also foster collaboration with other departments.

Day-to-day, engineering managers are deeply involved in the operational details of projects. They conduct meetings to update stakeholders on progress, analyze procedures to enhance productivity and ensure software and systems are up to date. Their leadership extends to recruiting and training new employees, establishing quality control standards and conducting market research in collaboration with technical experts. By balancing between technical oversight and strategic management, engineering managers play an essential role in successfully completing projects while adhering to quality, budget and time constraints.

What Will I Learn in HSU’s Online MBA in Engineering Management Program?

This accelerated program prepares students for the demanding role of an engineering manager by developing essential skills and insights through a diverse range of courses. The curriculum equips aspiring leaders with both the technical and soft skills needed to navigate complex projects and lead dynamic teams effectively.

Courses that do this include MBA Foundations, Logistics and Supply Chain Management, Project Management, Strategic Information Systems, Marketing Management, and Quality Control and Improvement. It emphasizes the practical application of theoretical knowledge as it prepares students to drive innovation and achieve organizational goals in this dynamic field.

Learn more about Henderson State University’s online Master of Business Administration with a Concentration in Engineering Management program.

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