MEM or MBA - What after engineering?
Updated on Dec 9, 2015 - 11:51 a.m. IST by Bedasree Das



MEM or MBA - 
Management is by far the most sought after graduate programme for students aspiring to study abroad. According to QS, Finance, Accounting, Business Management and Economics (FAME) capture the largest chunk of students planning to pursue their education abroad. However, it is not just students with commerce background who are opting for management. In fact, a large number of engineering students are increasingly taking up MBA to hone their strategy making skills in a largely corporate workplace. Not just that, top business schools across the world, too, are admitting more students from Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) background. For example, Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business has admitted 39% STEM students to its class of 2015. Not just Stanford, in another Ivy league- Harvard University - almost 36% of the MBA class for 2017 is from STEM fields.

However, while engineers are slowly taking over the management domain, many of them are pushing away from the traditional MBA relating to either finance or marketing. Instead, engineering students are exploring newer management specialisations, which ensure that they learn management tricks while sticking to the essential engineering environment. Master of Engineering Management or MEMs are, especially, tailored for that purpose.

But, the question here is what should an engineering graduate pursue? MEM or MBA? To answer that we need to understand what are these courses and vital difereences.

What is Engineering Management?

Master of Engineering Management or MEM is a specialised management programme which includes the application of engineering principles and techniques in a business structure. It is, basically, a combination of engineering and management. MEM is also known as the Engineer’s MBA as it is pursued by engineers as well as scientists who want to master the managerial aspects of their work.

 

Who can pursue MEM or MBA?

The most interesting point about an MBA programme is that it can be pursued by students from diverse backgrounds. An aspirant need not have prior technical knowledge in order to pursue MBA. Also, a graduate does not have to limit himself to a particular field or sector as there is a requirement for managerial decision making in every sector.

MEM, on the other hand, is tailor made for engineering students. Students who want to stay within the technological fields but want to also focus on the managerial aspects should take up engineering management. Some of the work opportunities for engineering managers include:

  • Scientific Research and Development Services

  • Analysts or associates in scientific consulting firms

  • Oil and Gas sector

So, if you are planning to pursue an MEM or MBA you need to first consider your educational background and the career direction you want to take.

MEM vs MBA – What should you opt for?

Before opting for an MEM or MBA, students should first consider why they really want to pursue management. An MBA is not an ideal programme for students who want to stick to the purely technical fields but can benefit students who want to explore other non-technical aspects of a business like finance, marketing, operations and so on.

Also you are required to have an engineering degree to apply for engineering management unlike for an MBA which accepts students from a variety of fields.

 

But again, going for a general MBA could also mean stepping into territory and opting for purely managerial experiences. As an MBA you would have to deal with investments consultancy, banking, sales and advertising which is a far cry from the technical knowledge you had otherwise received during your engineering studies.

 

The best thing about an MEM degree is that it is tailor made for engineers. Being a combination of engineering and management techniques, MEM teaches students how to manage the business aspects while still being rooted in engineering. A typical MEM programme includes subjects like Accounting for engineers, Financial issues for engineers and Computer simulation for risk and operations analysis, among others.

 

In terms of selection, too, one major difference between engineering management and MBA is that while MBA accepts only GMAT scores, MEM accepts both GRE and GMAT scores. In case of examination, this is a win win for MEM vs MBA as students can pursue the former course through any exam. Though in many cases, universities accept just GRE scores for admission to engineering management programme. It is advisable, therefore, to choose your exam carefully, if you are confused whether you want to pursue MEM or MBA.

 

Here is the list of the top universities which offer both MBA and MEM:

University

MEM

MBA

Test accepted

Score

Test accepted

Score

MIT

GRE/GMAT

GRE -Verbal 153; Quants155

GMAT- 656

GMAT

710

Cornell University

GRE

-

GMAT

700

Stanford University

GRE

165-168

GMAT

740

Duke University

GRE

Verbal 153-159

Quantitative 160-167

Analytical Writing 3.5-4.0

GMAT

694

Northwestern University

GRE/GMAT

Verbal: 160

Quantitative: 160

Writing: 5.0

GMAT

724

University of Southern California

GRE

Verbal-156

Quantitative-159

analytical writing-4.0

GMAT

690

Dartmouth College

GRE

-

GMAT

716

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