I know the feeling, wanting to get out of the monotonous routine, get out from the cubicle, and get away from your boring boss that has been working for the firm for 30 years. I’ve been there and I am seeing more and more that many engineers get that same itch. That need to use the other half of your brain, to engage that creative nature that has been suppressed. The desire to act on a vision, build with your hands, mix it up, do what feels natural and control your own destiny.
Right now you feel like:
Here is your problem,
here is your paycheck,
now go solve it monkey.
… but you have so much more potential. About 35% of the students in my MBA program that did engineering for their undergrad and are now looking to follow their true passion (which may not have been socially acceptable in their mind to their family when they were younger) to be an entrepreneur. It is only natural to ask if getting the MBA is the right bridge to connect your future:
- My good buddy Pat began working in Silicon Valley with his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering as a Sales Engineer for the company that makes processor testing equipment. Within five years he had the have that change, left his job, sold all of his possessions and went to Alaska for a year.
- My buddy Mike designed radio antennas on vehicles in the Midwest for years before ditching it all to come out to Lake Tahoe and become a message therapist.
- I worked for HDR Engineering, and Domenichelli & Associates on Wastewater Treatment, Reservoir Design, Hydrology and Hydraulics; today I am working on business plans for independent movie theaters, adventure voluntourism projects, local business investment funds, and most importantly a new type of entrepreneurship competition.
But is the MBA the answer? Or is it just another, “do what you’re told, and I’ll give you what you want,” in this case a passing grade. I have serious concern for those engineering undergrads who want to become entrepreneurs because doing what you’re told is not an entrepreneur. Many important business tenets (that you may not experience otherwise) can definitely be learned through and MBA (such as time value of money, basic accounting, and how to work effectively in teams to accomplish a goal) but much of the same must be learned when you’re in the fire of a startup business.
I would argue that you are no more ready to be an entrepreneur as an engineer with and MBA than you were as an engineer without an MBA.
“I hereby grant you the permission to start doing whatever you need to do
to be the person you claim you want to be.”