You're a few years out of school and you're ready for a new professional challenge beyond your day-to-day engineering duties. Earning your MBA is a strategic move that can help you move up the career ladder and increase your earning potential. Engineers with MBAs can move into industrial production and engineering management positions. Although you can break into these careers by boosting your experience, getting that piece of paper makes moving up easier.
Moving into Management
Although you don't need an MBA to move into the management ranks, BNET writer Steve Tobak says that getting one will improve your chances of securing a position. Although Tobak himself made the transition without it, he says a top-tier MBA would have made his career climb easier, especially because so many recruiters require management candidates to hold the degree. If you have an exceptional work history and you're a talented networker, you could get by without it, but breaking into management without an MBA is getting harder in an increasingly competitive workplace.
Engineering Managers and Production Managers
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an undergraduate degree in engineering plus an MBA make solid preparation for careers in industrial production and engineering management. Although engineers can transition into finance and other careers not related to engineering, those interested in combining engineering skills with business logic choose management positions related to their undergraduate backgrounds. Production managers work at production facilities, making decisions about the use and purchase of resources like raw materials, machines and workers. Engineering managers develop plans to meet departmental goals, which could include anything from developing new products to getting a software release out the door, depending on the company and type of engineering involved.
Engineering Manager Salary
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, engineering managers made a mean hourly wage of $60.53 per hour in 2010. The lowest-paid 10 percent earned $37.23 or $77,440 annually. Meanwhile, the highest-earning 10 percent took home $70.76 per hour, or $147,180 per year on average. Some of the best-paid engineering managers worked in the oil and gas industry. Those working for petroleum and coal producers made $76.72 per hour or $159,570 annually, while those involved with pipeline oil transportation made just slightly less, earning $74.30 hourly or $154,540 per year. Engineers who moved into positions involving securities and commodities trading earned the most, making a reported $84.36 per hour or $175,460 annually.
Production Manager Salary
Production managers also have the potential to earn well, although their salaries are slightly lower than those of engineering managers. 2010 Bureau data supplied a mean hourly wage of $45.99 per hour for these professionals. The lowest paid 10 percent made $25.31 per hour or $52,640 annually, while those at the top of the pay scale took home $71.16 hourly or $148,020 per year. Similar to engineering managers, production managers in the energy sector received some of the heftiest pay checks. Those employed in oil and gas extraction earned $61.49 per hour or $127,910 annually, and those in petroleum and coal production weren't far behind, receiving $61.20 hourly or $127,290 per year for their efforts.