College of Business: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Career Skills for Top Engineers


by Sarah Small

Most engineers start their careers performing technical duties almost exclusively. But by the time they have five years of experience, they have begun to assume leadership roles and many discover the need for professional managerial training. Getting an MBA or other graduate degree presents a common solution, however, once gainfully employed, such education must be achieved during scarce personal time, after hours and on weekends. As a result, these young engineers can spend two or more grueling years getting the training they need to advance.

The College of Business at ILLINOIS now offers a Masters of Technology Management (MS TechMgmt) Program designed specifically for newly graduated engineers before they enter the workplace. This new program takes only one year and it provides practical business training for people who will work in a technology-backed environment.

Called the “Graduate Track” MS TechMgmt program, it differs from the “Advancement Track” in that it is designed for students who have worked for less than two years, said the director of the program, Dilip Chhajed, professor in Business Administration. The Advancement Track is the original program and will still assist students with more than two years of work experience.

A unique characteristic of the Graduate Track of the program is the option for students to complete an internship during the summer months of the program, Chhajed said.

“The new track will begin in the summer, from June to May,” he said. “People who come without experience have the option to do an internship in the summer to gain experience for the classroom.”

Chhajed hopes the optional internship encourages students to build professional connections with companies that continue through the academic year, enabling them to connect the theory they learn at ILLINOIS to workplace practices.

“The main goal is to help engineers become better leaders and better managers,” Chhajed said. “The program is a general management program with a technology focus for people with a technology background. The type of courses include core business administration areas like marketing, organization behavior, or finance that you would find in any MBA program, but also includes courses focusing on the management of technology, such as new product development, managing innovation, and intellectual property management.”

The differentiating advantage of the Graduate Track is that students spend only one year in school, but begin their careers with the managerial training that helps them quickly assume leadership roles within their companies, Chhajed said.

For more information, interested students are encouraged to attend an information session on one of the following dates:

Tuesday, November 16, from 4-5 p.m. at 301 Coordinated Science Lab, located directly southwest of the Beckman Institute on the University of Illinois campus.

Wednesday, December 1, from 4-5 p.m. at 301 Coordinated Science Lab

Program directors and experienced professionals will be on hand to help you decide if this is an opportunity for you. Inquiries and RSVPs should be directed to Donna Foley, or 217-265-6706.

UIUC College of Business