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Job selection

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Senior Manager
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Job selection [#permalink] New post 25 Jan 2009, 09:35
Hi Alex,

I'm hoping for some of your insight. I'm graduating in May with a double-major in mechanical engineering and math. I've got a GPA of 3.99 and a GMAT of 740. My career goals are to eventually get into manufacturing management. So here's my question:

I initially had planned to go to work after undergrad as a design engineer to get some technical experience (think big defense contractors, a GE, or something like that), hopefully in a rotational program. However, I'm interviewing for a few operations/supply chain leadership rotational programs at engineering manufacturing/design companies. Given that I think I'd like a design and operations/supply chain role equally, do you think I'd be losing any edge for a future technical management career (and MBA admissions) by NOT taking a design job now for a few years before b-school?

I understand that at the end of the day, many people say "just do what you like and do it well" - and I aim to do well at my job. But I'm just wondering what the tradeoffs are for my long-term career goals, which at this point include getting into a good b-school.

Thanks for your time and input.

Last edited by ko on 14 Dec 2010, 11:16, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Job selection [#permalink] New post 25 Jan 2009, 10:10
It won't really matter if you're planning on switching to a business career, because a "business job" isn't a natural progression from a technical position, but a pretty clean break especially if they are the kinds of jobs that MBAs would get at the tech companies.

It's sort of like asking "what are the tradeoffs between doing radiology vs. endocrinology if I want to eventually become a hospital administrator?"

As for b-school admissions, it won't really matter either. In your case, it's very clear that you're analytically smart - but that doesn't necessarily play against the engineering stereotype (i.e. you're not telling them something they don't know about engineers that they're good at numbers). What isn't as obvious is whether you have strong interpersonal skills - which is something you will really need to focus on after college - either on the job, or in your extracurriculars.

If you are really trying to position yourself for a business career down the road, take the job that will give you more opportunities to interact and work in teams (i.e. the less solitary job). This might mean taking the less technical job (whichever one that is).

It's one of the reasons why I found historically that the "old school" engineers working as civil engineers, manufacturing, oil&gas, auto, etc. tend to have a bit more success in b-school admissions - part of it is because there's less of them, but also the nature of their work involves working closely with a wide variety of people (from the riggers, factory workers, etc. to executive mgmt) - and in some cases supervising teams (part of this is also driven by the nature of the businesses themselves - they are driven more by execution than by technical innovation).
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Alex Chu
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Senior Manager
Senior Manager
avatar
Joined: 29 May 2008
Posts: 278
Schools: MIT
Followers: 4

Kudos [?]: 24 [0], given: 3

Re: Job selection [#permalink] New post 25 Jan 2009, 17:17
This is great insight. Thanks!
Re: Job selection   [#permalink] 25 Jan 2009, 17:17
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