Engineering management

Ron Diftler (left), NASA Robonaut manager assisting in a Robonaut familiarization training session in the Space Environment Simulation Laboratory at NASA's Johnson Space Center.

Engineering Management is a specialized form of management that is concerned with the application of engineering principles to business practice. Engineering management is a career that brings together the technological problem-solving savvy of engineering and the organizational, administrative, and planning abilities of management in order to oversee complex enterprises from conception to completion.[1] A Master of Science in Engineering Management (MSEM, or MS in Engineering Management) is sometimes compared to a Master of Business Administration (MBA) for professionals seeking a graduate degree as a qualifying credential for a career in engineering management.[2]

Engineering management is considered to be a subdiscipline of industrial engineering/systems engineering. Successful engineering managers typically require training and experience in business and engineering. Technically inept managers tend to be deprived of support by their technical team, and non-commercial managers tend to lack commercial acumen to deliver in a market economy. Largely, engineering managers manage engineers who are driven by non-entrepreneurial thinking, and thus require the necessary people skills to coach, mentor and motivate technical professionals. Engineering professionals joining manufacturing companies sometimes become engineering managers by default after a period of time. They are required to learn how to manage once they are on the job, though this is usually an ineffective way to develop managerial abilities.


Stevens Institute of Technology is believed to have the oldest Engineering management department, established as the School of Business Engineering in 1908. This was later called the Bachelor of Engineering in Engineering Management (BEEM) program and moved into the School of Systems and Enterprises. Drexel University established the first graduate engineering management degree in the U.S., which was first offered in 1959.[3] In 1967 the first university department titled "Engineering Management" was founded at the Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T, formerly the University of Missouri-Rolla, formerly Missouri School of Mines).

Outside the USA, in Germany the first department concentrating on Engineering Management was established 1927 in Berlin.[4] In Turkey the Istanbul Technical University has a Management Engineering Department established in 1982, offering a number of graduate and undergraduate programs in Management Engineering.[5] In UK the University of Warwick has a specialised department WMG (previously known as Warwick Manufacturing Group) established in 1980, which offers a graduate programme in MSc Engineering Business Management .[6]

More recently in the United Kingdom, Teesside University's School of Science and Engineering introduced an MSc Engineering Management alongside its engineering-focused MSc Project Management.

Michigan Technological University began an Engineering Management program in the School of Business & Economics in the Fall of 2012.[7]

In Canada, Memorial University of Newfoundland has started a complete master's degree Program in Engineering Management Master of Engineering Management.

In Denmark, the Technical University of Denmark offers a MSc program in Engineering Management (in English). MSc in Engineering Management.

In Pakistan, University of Engineering and Technology (UET), Taxila, University of Engineering and Technology (UET), Lahore and National University of Science and Technology (NUST) offer admission both at Master and Doctorate level in Engineering Management while NED University of Engineering & Technology, Karachi and Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology have been running a Master of Engineering in Engineering Management program. A variant of this program is within Quality Management. COMSATS (CIIT) offers a MSc Project Management program to Local and Overseas Pakistanis as an on-campus/off-campus student.

In Italy, Politecnico di Milano offers degrees in Management Engineering.[8]


Operations research and supply chain management

Operations research deals with quantitative models of complex operations and uses these models to support decision-making in any sector of industry or public services. Supply chain management is the process of planning, implementing and managing the flow of goods, services and related information from the point of origin to the point of consumption.[9]

Information technologies

The "information technologies" theme focuses on how technology is designed and managed to support effective decision-making. Topics deal with technical applications in software design and development, data mining and telecommunication as well as the organizational and social issues associated with the use of information technologies.[9]

Decision engineering

Decision engineering seeks to use engineering principles in the creation of a decision, which it views as an engineering artifact in its own right. From this point of view, the creation of a decision includes agreeing to objectives, developing a detailed specification, and then creating a decision model, which captures the key cause-and-effect elements of the decision environment (a systems thinking approach) with a focus on the particular decision, instead of the entire system (which can be otherwise intractable). Like other engineered artifacts, a decision model can be subject to Quality assurance review, and-since it is documented-is amenable to Process improvement over time. Decision engineering models draw from the information technologies described above for data supporting the decision, but are distinguished from IT in that they model the decision, not just the data supporting it.

Management of Technology

The Management of Technology (MOT) theme builds on the foundation of management topics in accounting, finance, economics, organizational behavior and organizational design. Courses in this theme deal with operational and organizational issues related to managing innovation and technological change.[9][10]


Engineering Management programs typically include instruction in accounting, economics, finance, project management, systems engineering, mathematical modeling and optimization, management information systems, quality control & six sigma, operations research, human resources management, industrial psychology, safety and health.[11][12]

There are many options for entering into engineering management, albeit that the foundation requirement is an engineering degree (or other computer science, mathematics or science degree) and a business degree.

Undergraduate Degrees

Although most engineering management programs are geared for graduate studies, there are a few elite institutions that teach EM at the undergraduate level. Some of the ones that are accredited and/or recognized by ASEM include: West Point (United States Military Academy), Norwich University, New York Institute of Technology, Stevens Institute of Technology, Illinois Institute of Technology, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, George Washington University, Arizona State University, Missouri University of Science and Technology. Graduates of these programs regularly command nearly $65,000 their first year out of school.[13]

Outside the USA, Istanbul Technical University Management Engineering Department offers an elite undergraduate degree in Management Engineering, attracting top students. The University of Waterloo offers a 4-year undergraduate degree (5 years including co-op education) in the field of Management Engineering. This is the first program of its kind in Canada. In Peru, Pacifico University offers a 5-year undergraduate degree in this field, the first program in this country.

Graduate Degrees

Many universities offer Master of Engineering Management degrees. Missouri S&T is credited with awarding the first Ph.D. in Engineering Management in 1984. The National Institute of Industrial Engineering based in Mumbai has been awarding degrees in the field of Post Graduate Diploma in Industrial Engineering since 1973 and the Fellowship (Doctoral) degrees have been awarded since 2008. Massachusetts Institute of Technology offers a Master in System Design and Management, which is a member of the Consortium of Engineering Management.

Students in the University of Kansas' Engineering Management Program are practicing professionals employed by over 100 businesses, manufacturing, government or consulting firms. There are over 200 actively enrolled students in the program and approximately 500 alumni.[14]

Istanbul Technical University Management Engineering Department offers a graduate degree, and a Ph.D. degree in Management Engineering.

According to the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) PRISM Magazine (March 2008) the largest Master's of Engineering Management (MEM) programs (in terms of degrees awarded for 2005 -2006) are shown in the following chart.

Engineering Management Consulting

As engineering firms are usually small partnerships, they cannot afford in-house management, therefore giving rise to the need for engineering management consultancy. It involves providing management consulting advice that is specific to engineering. Indifferent from the traditional focus of the, A T Kearney, Boston Consulting Group and McKinsey, science and engineering requires a particularly holistic approach involving art and science. There are many branches of engineering management consultancy (commerce), including law, accounting, human resources, marketing, politics, economics, finance, public affairs, and communication. Commonly, engineering management consultants are also used when firms require special technical knowledge, though many prefer to use engineering educational consultants for such a task, to upgrade organizational knowledge and in able to keep the intellectual property confidential. Though many firms opt to use traditional management consulting firms, many lack the know-how to tailor the traditional theories to accommodate professional engineers and other technical workers.

Engineering management consulting is concerned with the development, improvement, implementation and evaluation of integrated systems of people, money, knowledge, information, equipment, energy, materials and/or processes. Consultants strive to improve upon existing processes, products or systems. Engineering management consulting draws upon the principles and methods of engineering analysis and synthesis, as well as the mathematical, physical and social sciences together with the principles and methods of engineering design to specify, predict, and evaluate the results to be obtained from such systems or processes. Engineering management consulting puts a focus on the social impact of the product, process or system that is being analyzed.

Examples of where engineering management consulting might be used include designing new product development process, or an assembly workstation, strategizing for various operational logistics, consulting as an efficiency expert, developing a new financial algorithm or loan system for a bank, streamlining operation and emergency room location or usage in a hospital, planning complex distribution schemes for materials or products (referred to as Supply Chain Management), and shortening lines (or queues) at a bank, hospital, or a theme park. Management engineering consultants typically use computer simulation (especially discrete event simulation), along with extensive mathematical tools and modeling and computational methods for system analysis, evaluation, and optimization.

Professional organizations

There are a number of societies and organizations dedicated to the field of engineering management. One of the largest societies is a division of IEEE, the Engineering Management Society, which regularly publishes a trade magazine. Another prominent professional organization in the field is the American Society for Engineering Management (ASEM), which was founded in 1979 by a group of 20 engineering managers from industry.[15] ASEM currently certifies engineering managers (two levels) via the Associate Engineering Manager (AEM) or Professional Engineering Manager (PEM) certification exam. The Master of Engineering Management Programs Consortium is a newly formed consortium of prominent universities intended to raise the value and visibility of the MEM degree.[16] Also, engineering management university programs have the possibility of being accredited by ABET, ATMAE, or ASEM. In Canada, the Canadian Society for Engineering Management (CSEM) is a constituent society of the Engineering Institute of Canada (EIC), Canada's oldest learned engineering society.

See also



Further reading

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