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Are You Shoring Up Your “Business Engineering” Skills?

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Studies show that strong business management, leadership, and communication skills are as important as technical skills when it comes to success and advancement in the engineering field.

Engineers are recognized for their innate analytical skills, problem-solving abilities, curiosity, creativity, and flexibility. What may not come as second nature to them, however, are business management and leadership skills. And studies show that these, along with strong technical skills, are all crucial to a successful career in engineering.

While engineers typically focus their time on product development and the delivery of technical solutions and services, experts at The Engineering & Leadership Project contend that engineers are often “never taught to understand financial statements or other critical markers of organizational health”. Those critical markers are all “business engineering” skills that could help them better understand the organizations they work for and drive improved outcomes by their teams and company.

In-Demand Skills

A recent Harvard Business School analysis of job opportunities for engineers concurred. While strong technical, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills were all among the top capabilities sought by leading employers, the study found that these were only part of the equation. Strengths in communication, management, business operations, and leadership rounded out lists of most critical traits for a job candidate and successful engineer.

Across the various engineering job opportunities featured in their survey, the same Harvard Business School study noted that business and leadership skills were more universally requested and in higher demand than some technical competencies. For instance, while demand for computer science skills appeared in 16% of the engineering job postings they analyzed, communication and management skills were required in 34% and 24%, respectively. This suggests that the ability to connect/work with people and effectively manage operations may be more versatile, applicable, and necessary to all engineering fields as well as predictive of success than any one technical skill.

Engineering, Business, and Leadership: A Powerful Link

Interestingly, studies show that many of the skills that engineers naturally possess position them to be strong business leaders. Among them, their ability to manage highly detailed projects and problem-solve enables them to multi-task and meet deadlines, while their technical literacy and strength with numbers provides a leg up in both the use of modern technology and the ability to prepare business plans and analyze financial and other data. As a result, it comes as no surprise that Harvard Business Review’s recent analysis of 100 top-performing CEOs around the globe found that a full 34% of them possess an undergraduate degree in engineering.

Experts from Indeed agree that training in business and leadership skills can be invaluable to an engineer’s professional advancement and career aspirations. According to Indeed, possession of these skills can not only enhance an engineer’s candidacy for a specific job but can more positively position them for successive roles and leadership positions down the line.  These skills can also provide engineers with a strong foundation should they elect to switch jobs during their career or even start their own business.

The bottom line?

Let IEEE Help You Boost Your Business and Leadership Skills

A wealth of experts confirms that the days of operating in field-specific silos are over and that the best and most empowered engineers are those who bring a combination of technical, business management, and leadership skills to the table.

IEEE is here to help engineers fill the gap with its unique IEEE | Rutgers Online Mini-MBA for Engineers.

Offered by IEEE in conjunction with Rutgers Business School and flexible in format, this course is specially designed to help engineers and technical professionals bridge the gap between business and engineering, prepare for professional growth, and obtain the critical business skills needed for well-rounded and long-term career success

Covering such key topics as Business Strategy, Managing New Product Development, Analyzing Financial Statements, Intellectual Property Strategy, Sales and Marketing, Leadership, and more, the convenient and self-paced 12-week Mini-MBA course involves a combination of expert instruction, peer interaction, self-paced video lessons, interactive assessments, live office hours, and a hands-on capstone project experience. This winning program – currently the only online Mini-MBA curriculum specifically designed for engineers and technical professionals — will help participants make more informed business decisions, better align their technical capabilities with proven business strategy, and prepare to meet the market’s growing demand for well-rounded engineers with demonstrated skills in business management and leadership.

Reserve your spot in the IEEE | Rutgers Online Mini-MBA for Engineers course today, either as an individual or as a company! For more information or to explore opportunities to further develop your business management skills, contact us today!

Resources

(23 January 2022). Business Engineering: Why Engineers Should Have Business Skills. The Engineering & Leadership Project.

Landry, Lauren. (5 January 2023). 6 Business Skills Every Engineer Needs. Harvard Business School.

Clayton, Ben. (19 March 2023). Why Engineers Make Good Business Leaders. QS Top Universities.

McGregor, Jena. (24 October 2018). More Top CEOs Now Have Engineering Degrees than MBAs. Financial Post.

(26 January 2023). 12 Business Skills for an Engineer Resume. Indeed.

7 Essential Business Skills for Engineers. Canadian Institute of International Business.

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