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Engineering graduates having a management degree are perfect for

project management, front-end sales, field applications and customer


facing jobs. However, if an organisation is innovation hungry, pure
engineering with masters specialisation is a lethal combination
Uma Gupta

Doing a masters course while on the job is straining, but the fruits are worth the
effort. This is especially so if you are an engineer who chooses to do an M.Tech or
MBA. This will not only add to your qualification but also help to advance your career in
the short term and mid term.
However, making a choice between MBA and M.Tech can be quite confusing for many.
M.Tech vs MBA
First, understand that there is no point comparing M.Tech and MBA. Both are specialised
degrees and have value in their respective fields. Both M.Tech and MBA provide excellent
career options and have gained importance in last few years. M.Tech or MBA is always
an additional advantage to an engineer whether it is in terms of knowledge, experience
or seniority.
Whether it be a manufacturing, IT or R&D driven organisation, there would be
requirements for both M.Techs and MBAs. The former would be more of a subject matter
specialist, while the latter would handle product marketing, sales, project management,
human resources, IT process, consulting or customer service management.
Doing M.Tech in a particular field will definitely make you more valuable to a company
that has business profile of that field. MBA, on other hand, will give you a totally
different business perspective and is broader in scope.
Choice is entirely up to you
Ideally, you should make the choice on the basis of your capabilities, career goals and
interests. If you want to continue your career in technical field, M.Tech is the right choice
for you. You can even switch to teaching or research. But if you want to work in the
industry, MBA is the way to go. MBA is a management course that will enhance your
managerial, communication and presentation skills.
After MBA, you get the entry to the field of business and administration where you can
go in for options like marketing, sales, human resources and operation management.
Specifically, M.Tech is suitable for a product-based industry where technical skills are
required. MBA is more suitable for a service- and customer-oriented industry.
Engineering graduates having a management degree are perfect for front-end sales, field
applications and customer facing jobs. However, if an organisation is innovation hungry,
pure engineering with masters specialisation is a lethal combination!
Fresh postgraduates vs experienced graduate engineers
Right qualifications are important but hands-on industry experience cannot be
discounted. So an already employed engineer may still have an edge over a fresher who
has an additional degree of MBA or M.Tech. But this completely depends on his
capabilities and the managements views.
However, a more qualified candidate usually enjoys a better compensation in the long
run. This is more so if the masters degree is completed from a reputed institute.
Some really good institutes for studying M.Tech are all the IITs, Delhi Technological
University (formerly Delhi College of Engineering), Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology
(NSIT), NITs and Birla Institute of Technology & Science (BITS). Some MBA colleges of
repute are all the IIMs, FMS, XLRI and IIFT. IIMs top the list in MBA training.
Starting off
To enrol for M.Tech in a reputed institute like IITs, you need to crack GATE. In case you
plan to pursue MBA, there are entrance exams like CAT and MAT which you need to
clear.
Though it is easier to continue M.Tech in the stream as you did your BE or B.Tech, you
have many options for doing M.Techelectronics and controls engineering, VLSI design
communication systems, embedded systems technology, power electronics and drives,
digital communication and networking, remote sensing and GIS, information technology,
computer science and engineering, and biomedical and instrumentation engineering to
name a few.
When on the job, you learn to put your theoretical knowledge into use, but to improve
upon your knowledge of design or research aspect, you need to go for the masters. It,
however, will be difficult to crack the entrance exam (GATE) while you are on job. So it
is recommended to qualify the GATE exam in the final year of study and get a job
thereafter, as GATE score is valid for two years.
MBA, on the other hand, is preferable after you have gained some work experience.
Part-time: Good choice for working professionals
If you are a working professional who cannot take time off work to attend full-time, a
part-time programme will give you the opportunity to pursue an advanced degree.
Academically, part-time programmes are identical to full-time programmes. With the
part-time programme, you can work full-time while attending classes on days off or in
the evenings. So you can improve existing skills or develop new ones without affecting
your current job.
To pursue a part-time/evening programme in M.Tech, the minimum eligibility is
B.Tech/M.Sc or equivalent in relevant field with CGPA of 6.75 on a 10-point scale or 60
per cent marks in aggregate for general category, and some work experience. You must
submit no objection certificate from your employer at the time of interview. Selection is
generally made on the basis of a written test and/or interview.
Similarly, many colleges and universities offer part-time MBA programmes. The
advantage of a part-time MBA programme is that you can bring and discuss real-world
situations and problems into the classroom, where solutions can be explored that could
be implemented in real life. In fact, such presentations and discussions make the classes
more interesting.
Tuition assistance and student loans may be available. Also, there are many employers
who sponsor their candidates for higher education.
A part-time programme will also save you from the hassles of a long commute to classes
on a daily basis, as you would be attending classes only once or twice a week. At the
same time, you must be ready to sacrifice your weekends for classes lasting morning till
evening.
Opportunities coming your way
A postgraduate qualification is becoming increasingly important for engineers. M.Tech is
a long-term investment in your technical career. It will secure your position in the
organisation and also help you gain a higher position. Most government organisations
and research bodies ask for M.Techs or MEs as they consider these people to be more
resourceful than the normal B.Techs or BEs. Some public-sector units even call M.Tech
students for interview directly; M.Techs need not give any written test.
If you want to come out from the engineering cocoon and multitask, it makes sense to
widen your knowledge and skills in the management area. Having already obtained a
technical degree, an MBA will complete your skills in the wider areas of management
that usually include finance, marketing, human resource management, organisational
behaviour and management strategy.
Doing an MBA is also important because an engineer today is the primary manager of
change within the organisation who implements new practices and technology.
An MBA will make you the perfect candidate for the role of a group leader. As a group
leader, you will lead a small technical group and work under minimal supervision. You
will be required to provide guidance, set expectations, clarify responsibilities, and
provide feedback for project team members in accomplishing tasks and goals.
You will participate as a key contributor and assign work to meet group commitments.
You will contribute to the solution of complex technical problems, by providing resources,
removing barriers and ensuring application of common approaches. You will demonstrate
depth of knowledge of engineering discipline and leverages expertise on projects.
Growing further to the role of an assistant manager, manager and so on, you may
eventually reach the top management level!
I am pursuing B.Tech (ECE). I want to do MBA after this. Please tell me about the specialisations
suitable for me. Give me information about the institutes offering the courses.
Ramakrishna
Before thinking about a specialisation, consider once again why you want to opt for MBA in the first
place. If you are thinking that after two years the degree would get you a lucrative job as a manager in
a reputed organisation, then you are not completely right. MBA degree increases your prospects. But to
gain all that the course aims to impart, you need to have some basic understanding of the business set
up. And this is possible when you have some work experience.
The skills that you have garnered over these years of your engineering education are different from
those required to succeed as a manager. And to be able to assume managerial roles in organisations
that are into engineering, you need experience.
So unless you are looking for a complete shift from science field to management field, pursuing MBA at
this point is not ideal. So for now, it is better you take up some job and work for a few years. Then
based on your career aspirations at that point, you can go for MBA. As you are from ECE background,
you can find employment in telecom, defence, instrumentation, electronics and allied fields.