The Wall Street Journal Says It Best: “Move Over M.B.A.s, Here Come the Engineers”

Studies Show 

The Wall Street Journal concludes that two recent studies conducted by the Harvard Business School and Identified (a firm that analyzes individuals’ professional relevance) suggest that managers with technical experience and engineers are becoming increasingly more valuable in today’s companies.

General Managers Out, Functional Mangers In 

The Harvard Business School study, released in early January, discovered that US firms have “radically changed since the mid-1980s,” with generic management positions decreasing and functional management positions on the rise. Referring to Julie Wulf, Harvard strategy professor and co-author of the study, the Wall Street Journal states that “there may be implications for midlevel managers looking to advance their careers, as corporate succession plans might favor functional experts with managerial capabilities.” Essentially, as companies streamline, they re-organize around specific fields such as marketing and information intelligence, which means top-ranking positions require hands-on, technical experience beyond the managerial experience an MBA provides.

Identified: Engineering Entrepreneurs 

As part of their “Revenge of the Nerds” series, Identified surveyed 36 million Facebook profiles and discovered the following: for company founders and CEOS undergraduate degrees split almost perfectly 50/50 between engineering and business, and yet 3,337 chose to pursue advanced degrees in engineering compared to 1,016 with advanced degrees in business. The change in demographic suggests that as IT, social, and mobile industries grow, more entrepreneurs find advanced degrees in engineering more profitable and relevant than advanced degrees in business. For Identified, this means a new “corporate culture with younger, more technically inclined entrepreneurs at the helm.”

How do you think engineers can adjust to fill newly available managerial positions?  Why do you think entrepreneurs find engineering degrees more relevant than business degrees when developing new companies?

McCormick News Article