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Thoughts on having an MS in Engineering [#permalink]
31 Jul 2007, 07:24
Just wondering if there's a general positive or negative outlook on candidates who apply with an MS degree. Does the time spent getting the MS degree count towards your "years of experience", or does "years of experience" count based on when you got out of full time school?
I'm a little worried because some schools seem to boast their advanced degree students (like Berkeley), and others mentioned in Business Week's Best School Guide mentioned something about "think twice about applying if you have an advanced degree". I"m also worried about the years of experience, since I will have 7 years by matriculation if I get in for Fall 08, but would have 9 if you count my MS degree.
No real inside knowledge on the subject just my thoughts on the whole masters before a masters issue...You have enough real world experience to not have the issue of coming across as just someone looking to collect degrees. If you had an MS and then went to work for a year or not at all before then appllying to an MBA school that might work against you since you wouldn't have 3 years experience. Schools want post grad work experience, so if someone has 4 years of work experience with no MS but they have a leadership role at their job then they will have a leg up on a person who is just a basic engineer with an MS. Since you have plenty of experience you should be able to sell why you want another degree to reach your career goals where someone with little experience couldn't.
Schools wouldn't offer duel degrees if they didnt think that an MS was worth having. I think the advantage for a non-masters holder is in their length of work experience and with that the chances of more responsibility in a company. Honestly my friends who have a masters of engineering and got them fulltime right out of school are no higher up than they would be if they just went to work straight out of school and in some cases since they have less seniority (sadly in some places its still important) they aren't given leadership roles as often.
Its a tough question - I think it varies for each individual. I worked with FedEx part time on a safety project while doing my Masters - my whole thesis was evaulating and improving their truck safety operations. That required me to come in and work with them on a 9 to 5 basis daily.
Some schools look upon an MS as an additional work experience. Some don't, but I think through your essays, you have to show what valuable experiences you have learnt and what skills you have developed.
I developed more leadership and "crowd control" skills while teaching a bunch of undergraduates, than by working with my peers in my office.
Also, I worked with huge data sets, made financial models, used probability distributions in school. At office, I am an analyst and the only thing I have done is analyze the different fonts in Excel.
End of the day, its how you put your experiences in your application- you may have worked 10 years and learnt nothing, but you may have worked 1 year and learnt a lot.
thanks for the comments! At my company, having a masters means you start off a level higher than just bachelor's degree, so I did get more "seniority" with my masters. Maybe that's good in the fact that it got me into some leadership rotations and programs. I'll definitely mention that.
The other thing about my masters is I got it with the intent of doing engineering all my life (back when I was young and naive =P), and it's only after 5-6 years of work, rotations, exposure to business that I'm realizing *that's* where I want to be (business). I guess it could make a good story, wouldn't you say?
you are essentially making a career switch, like me - so irrespective of your MS, prove to the ad-com that your technical degree cant help you suceed in the field that you aspire to work in - if you can pull that off, there is not stopping you.
haha, I feel that we need to have a heart to heart talk, aviroop! =)
Yup, you hit the nail on the head. the MS degree is great if I want to pursue technical or a very technical managerial role at a company, but it's not helping me as much in getting to a more strategic role and getting me out of an industry that I've been working in for the past few years. Will brainstorm that story!
I don't know of any schools that will credit time spent getting an advanced degree towards years of experience; however with 7 years of full-time experience, more will not help you at any of the top schools. In fact, you're approaching the range where schools will start to question why you need an MBA rather than an EMBA. For example, you're right at the upper edge for schools like Stanford and Harvard. At other schools, your advanced degree and experience will be viewed more favorably.
haha, no, I just take the time to post messages on this beloved board =)
pelihu, Yeah, I'm more worried about them COUNTING my MS degree as experience than not. I'm trying to decrease the number of years of work for myself, as you are correct that I'm hitting the upper levels of the work experience range.
I have a Master of Engineering and am starting school this fall. It came up in some interviews, just the normal questions regarding the motivation for it. I never got the impression that it hurt me in any way though. Not sure if that helps...