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Masters in Engineering Management vs MBA: Which is better?

There has always been a battle between MBA and MEM; choosing between them is always a challenging task, but career goals define the whole objective to make a decision. Choosing between an MBA and Masters in Engineering Management all depends on the career goal priority and bachelor’s background.

Technical skills are important for all engineers, but soft skills like relatability, flexibility, and empathy are also important for the finest engineering managers to succeed. Practical leadership entails excellent interpersonal and communication skills that can propel a group of forward-thinking engineers to new heights.

MBA schools emphasise both soft and quantitative abilities. Still, graduate school is an expensive investment, and not all of the topics offered in a standard MBA programme are relevant to engineers. Of course, engineers are not excluded from MBA career routes. Still, individuals interested in engineering management can get a graduate degree more tailored to the issues they would confront in managing technological enterprises.

The difference between engineering management and MBA programmes in terms of graduate-level degrees is their courses’ extent and intended audiences. Both degrees produce a blend of quantitative, leadership, and other desired soft skills, but a master’s in engineering management allows industry workers to develop these qualities while managing technical teams.

What is MBA?

Masters in Engineering Management vs MBA - what is mba

MBA is considered the most popular degree worldwide. This programme gives a holistic view and experience of management and organizational business. The MBA programme is a well-recognized degree worldwide, providing industrial exposure and transforming the raw potential into opportunities.

Many top colleges or universities of the world have very stringent criteria for taking admissions like a certain amount of work experience, substantial professional achievements, academic distinctions etc. The world-class MBA degree specifically targets the work-experienced professional who wants further career development by adding practical business, management, and leadership skills.

The only declining factor for MBA is that the elite B-schools don’t consider fresh graduates for this programme.MBA is an ideal degree to boost a career to the next step. This can be in terms of switching career fields, promotion, high paying job opportunities etc.

MBA degree provides:

  • Adequate and robust experience in business foundation concepts.
  • Industrial exposure via internships, live projects etc.
  • Strong business and management core knowledge.

MBA programmes worldwide are of different variants like Full-time MBA, Part-time MBA, Distance MBA, Online MBA, etc. You can choose the one according to your requirement.

World’s Top MBA colleges are Harvard, Stanford, LBS, HEC Paris, etc.

World’s Top MBA colleges     

  • Stanford Graduate School of Business, Stanford has QS Global MBA Rankings 2022 of 1 and an Average Tuition Fee for International Students of 119,964 USD/ year
  • Harvard Business School, Boston has QS Global MBA Rankings 2022 of 2 and an Average Tuition Fee for International Students of 73,440 USD/ year
  • Penn (Wharton), Philadelphia has QS Global MBA Rankings 2022 of 2 and an Average Tuition Fee for International Students of 83,230 USD/ year
  • HEC Paris, Jouy En Josas has QS Global MBA Rankings 2022 of 4 and an Average Tuition Fee for International Students of 78,000 EUR/ year
  • MIT (Sloan), Cambridge  has QS Global MBA Rankings 2022 of 5 and an Average Tuition Fee for International Students of 82,250 USD/ year
  • London Business School, London has QS Global MBA Rankings 2022 of 6 and an Average Tuition Fee for International Students of 97,500 EUR/ year
  • IE Business School, Spain has QS Global MBA Rankings 2022 of 7 and an Average Tuition Fee for International Students of 72,200 EUR/ year
  • INSEAD, Paris, Singapore, France has QS Global MBA Rankings 2022 of 7 and an Average Tuition Fee for International Students of 91,000 EUR/ year
  • Columbia Business School, New York has QS Global MBA Rankings 2022 of 9 and an Average Tuition Fee for International Students of 77,376 USD/ year
  • IESE Business School has QS Global MBA Rankings 2022 of 10 and an Average Tuition Fee for International Students of 93,500 EUR/ year
  • UC Berkeley (Haas), Berkeley has QS Global MBA Rankings 2022 of 11 and an Average Tuition Fee for International Students of 71,817 USD/ year
  • Chicago Booth, Chicago has QS Global MBA Rankings 2022 of 12 and an Average Tuition Fee for International Students of 74,919 USD/ year
  • Esade Business School, Barcelona has QS Global MBA Rankings 2022 of 13 and an Average Tuition Fee for International Students of 73,800 EUR/ year
  • Said Business School, Oxford has QS Global MBA Rankings 2022 of 13 and an Average Tuition Fee for International Students of 65,520 GBP/ year
  • UCLA (Anderson), Los Angeles has QS Global MBA Rankings 2022 of 15 and an Average Tuition Fee for International Students of 70,368 USD/ year
  • Northwestern (Kellogg), Evanston has QS Global MBA Rankings 2022 of 16 and an Average Tuition Fee for International Students of 76,368 USD/ year
  • Cambridge (Judge), Cambridge has QS Global MBA Rankings 2022 of 17 and an Average Tuition Fee for International Students of 61,000 EUR/ year
  • Yale School of Management, New Haven has QS Global MBA Rankings 2022 of 18 and an Average Tuition Fee for International Students of 100,000 USD/ year
  • NYU (Stern), New York has QS Global MBA Rankings 2022 of 19 and an Average Tuition Fee for International Students of 54,765 USD/ year
  • Michigan (Ross), Ann Arbor has QS Global MBA Rankings 2022 of 20 and an Average Tuition Fee for International Students of 72,114 USD/ year

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What is MEM?

Masters in Engineering Management

As its name suggests, it is an engineering degree, and this program is designed to enrich the blend of advanced technical courses with core business courses. As a result, it is considered the best fit for today’s technology companies with a core curriculum in economics, operations, and marketing.

MEM gives you an advantage of business acumen in strategy, marketing, and finance, much similar to an MBA, with technical background and knowledge.

While MBA gives only the business administration, marketing, and leadership aspect, this program covers various business aspects like accounting, operations, organizational behaviour, economics, finance, leadership, etc. It does not explicitly focus on technology but focuses on core business and marketing concepts.

The MEM program is mainly for those with hands-on technology or engineering education background who want a career boost with management and engineering experience.

The syllabus is comprised of technology and business courses. Engineering Statistics, Project Management, Foundations of Engineering Management, Quality Systems, Six Sigma, Information Systems Engineering.

MEM degree is known by different names like MSEM (Master of Science in Engineering Management), Masters in Technology Management (MTM) and SDM (System Design & Management). MEM programs have the advantage of having the core subjects of engineering as well as management. A specific MEM elite school group is known as “MEMPC”.

What is MEMPC?

MEMPC (Master of Engineering Management Programs Consortium), The Master of Engineering Management (MEM) consortium is a highly selective and elite group of professional graduate programs to provide the right programs for the right candidate.

MEMPC members work as a consortium to guide high potential students to enlighten their blend of technical and management to improve them and make them capable of leading companies of the generation ‘Z’.

MEMPC members

  • Cornell University
  • Dartmouth College
  • Duke University
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Northwestern University
  • Purdue University
  • TUFTS University
  • University of Southern California

MEM program also provides specialization in many core subjects. Electives are mentioned below:

  • Accounting for Managers
  • Corporate Finance
  • Organization Design and Behavior
  • Marketing Management
  • Organization Information Systems
  • Operations Management
  • Industrial Financial Decisions
  • Leadership in a Global Environment

Difference between MBA vs MEM

What should I pursue?

Opting for MEM vs MBA as a postgraduate programme ultimately boils down to your passion and goal. For example, suppose you have an engineering bachelor’s degree and want to continue that with management skills and knowledge and have an interest in the field of engineering. In that case, you can go for a master’s in Engineering Management (MEM).

And opting for MBA ultimately focuses on business management, communication, and leadership skills and is suitable when you have more interest in management skills. MBA colleges accept a wide variety of bachelor’s degrees, but the bachelor’s degree should be of engineering background in MEM.

Program’s focus: MBA vs MEM

This may be the most crucial factor to consider while deciding between a master’s degree in engineering management and an MBA. The MBA combines classic areas of study such as accounting and finance with new and developing fields in such a way that graduates are prepared to excel as leaders in a various industries.

A master’s degree in engineering management allows students with an engineering or technical background to supplement their knowledge with the business skills necessary to bridge the gap and succeed as leaders and decision-makers in high-tech organisations, departments, and corporations—in a programme designed specifically for, by, and with engineers.

Curriculum of MEM vs MBA:

Make sure to examine the curriculum offered by an MBA or engineering management master’s programme to ensure that it corresponds with your academic and career goals.

MBA programmes are designed to give students a broad understanding of essential business concepts such as marketing, finance, management, and legal and ethical issues. In addition, some programmes allow students to specialise in areas such as leadership, human resources, and entrepreneurship, allowing them to focus their studies on a specific aspect of the business.

Unlike strictly business-oriented master’s degrees, engineering management master’s programmes have a greater practical focus. Students in the engineering management master’s programme can learn financial modelling. Still, they do so within the context of engineering, so the coursework is directly applicable to what engineers must accomplish to become or grow as managers.

The electives are another critical variation between the engineering management and MBA curriculum. Students can combine engineering, mathematics, and business electives in an engineering management master’s programme, whereas an MBA programme is unlikely to offer electives tailored to engineers.

Salary: MEM vs MBA

According to an Ohio University article on MBA v/s MEM, the MBA median salary after 10 years is $107,765, whereas the MEM median salary after 10 years is $98,626.

Programme duration: MBA vs MEM

MEM program duration is usually from 9 months to 24 months.

Whereas the MBA program duration is generally from 12 months to 24 months.

Career outlook: MBA vs MEM

Engineers are in charge of the future of innovation. These technological masters, who can not only build advanced technologies but also inspire and lead teams of engineers to create some of the world’s greatest inventions, have no bounds.

Those pursuing a career in engineering management may disagree about whether to seek an MBA or an engineering management master’s degree. Still, graduates of both programmes are qualified for similar jobs.

 The difference between engineering management and MBA graduates in the work market is that the former has practical engineering knowledge. Even students are pursuing a graduate certificate in engineering management benefit from this distinction, as they develop technical skills in the engineering industry.

Recruiting companies: MBA vs MEM

Top companies that recruit MBAs are:

  • Mckinsey & Co
  • Boston consulting group
  • Google
  • JPMorgan
  • Amazon
  • Deloitte
  • Goldman Sach
  • Bain & company etc.

Top companies that recruit MEMs are:

  • GE
  • Google
  • IBM
  • Oracle
  • Lockheed Martin
  • Microsoft
  • Intel etc.

Admission requirements MBA vs MEM:

The applicant’s academic background is one of the variations between engineering management and MBA programme entrance requirements. For example, a bachelor’s degree in engineering or another STEM field, such as math or physics, may be required for engineering management master’s degrees.

Because most MBA programmes are not industry-specific, most applicants will be accepted with a finished bachelor’s degree in any discipline as long as they match their GPA admission requirements. Many top-ranked MBA programmes additionally demand that students take the GMAT or GRE to demonstrate their business and communication skills.

Many MBA programmes have broad criteria, allowing for a diverse student body with various academic and professional backgrounds. This can be advantageous for students who want to network with people from various disciplines or industries. Another benefit of an MBA is the chance to build abilities in other business areas; for example, someone with a strong experience in marketing could improve their budgeting and financial skills with an MBA.

The admissions requirements for an engineering management master’s degree, on the other hand, foster a classroom of engineers who have a common goal: to lead engineering and other technical enterprises effectively. As a result, students can have in-depth, industry-specific class discussions and network directly with colleagues in the field when they learn with like-minded experts.

Both types of programs commonly require a minimum undergraduate GPA of around 3.0 to apply and likely need students to maintain a certain GPA to remain enrolled in the program. This is because graduate programs offer advanced curricula that demand exceptional time-management skills.

 Requirements and eligibility for MBA are:

  • A bachelor’s degree from a recognized university.
  • English language proof ( TOEFL)
  • Updated CV
  • Essays and letter of recommendation
  • Letter of motivation
  • GMAT score
  • Work experience proof
  • All transcripts related to academics

Requirements and eligibility for MEM are:

  • TOEFL or IELTS scores for non-native students.
  • A bachelor’s degree in engineering or STEM discipline.
  • GMAT or GRE scores.
  • Letter of Recommendation.
  • A Statement of Purpose and a few essays on the specific topics mentioned.

How to choose the right university for your MBA or MEM degree?

It might be difficult to choose a university to attend. Here are some of the important aspects to take into account while choosing the best university for your MBA or MEM:

  • Academic Excellence: Check to see if the university you choose to attend has outstanding teaching standards and a high standard of education.
  • Support for foreign students – It is recommended to pick an institution with a well-thought-out framework for international students that includes orientation to the university, assistance with housing, and other advisory services.
  • Analysis of the university’s location and the surrounding region is important because you will be spending a lot of time there.
  • Cost: Keep in mind that program costs differ from institution to university.


There’s a fine line between choosing between a MEM and an MBA to specialise in management. The MEM program is developed primarily for students with an engineering background. It also aids those who wish to advance to a manager position within their technical specialisation.

While everyone, regardless of their experience, can benefit from a Master of Business Administration (MBA). They may, however, be ineligible for the perks that a MEM graduate is entitled to. After engineering, students often overlook the advantages of MEM over MBA.

Choosing MBA or MEM depends on the interest, bachelor’s degree background, and career goal. However, both the degrees have global recognition and ample career development opportunities.



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What is the distinction between a MEM and an MBA?

MBA is a postgraduate management degree that covers a wide range of topics. MEM is for Master of Engineering Management, and it is a postgraduate degree in engineering management that focuses on the technical management side of the organisation. Marketing, business law, finance, and accounting are only a few examples.

Why should I pursue an engineering management master's degree?

Graduates of the Master of Engineering Management programme have advanced knowledge of engineering, finance, design, processes, and more and the ability to lead and motivate others. As a result, graduates with a master’s degree in engineering management are in great demand by employers.

Is an MBA better than a master's degree in engineering management?

MBA focuses on business management, communication, and leadership abilities, so learning more about control is a good choice. In addition, MBA colleges accept a wide range of bachelor’s degrees, whereas MEM requires a bachelor’s degree in engineering.

What role does management play for engineers?

Engineering management assists them in translating their engineering discipline’s language into the worlds of business and industry, resulting in greater cohesion with those who make financial and commercial decisions regarding the future of their projects.

What is an engineering manager's most important responsibility?

research and development of new products and plan and coordinate engineering projects.

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