New Dual Degree MS/MBA Program Shows Initial Signs of Success
The first eight students of the new dual degree MS/MBA program in Engineering and Business have already developed important business and management skills, one year after the program was launched by Porto Business School (PBS) and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). This partnership offers a unique interdisciplinary and international education program, combining an MS in Electrical and Computer Engineering with an MBA, from two different institutions, in two different continents. According to the students, so far the experience has been both positive and intensive. (http://www.pbs.up.pt/?page_id=9446)
The Professional MS in Electrical and Computer Engineering, offered by Carnegie Mellon University, and the Master of Business Administration, offered by Porto Business School, seek to provide students the skills to develop advanced technologies and products, while maintaining an informed business and managerial perspective. The program aims at creating a new breed of engineering leaders who understand the language and practice of business, and are proficient in softer skills such as communication, team management, negotiation or leadership. With this combination of skills, they are favorably positioned to help technology companies achieve success in the marketplace in today’s very complex organizational settings.
In this first year of the program, the students stayed in Portugal, where they attended classes at the Porto Business School, as part of The Magellan MBA, and also at the Faculdade de Engenharia of the Universidade do Porto, where they worked toward the completion of their MS in Electrical and Computer Engineering. So far, the students highlight having learnt about the components of a business plan and having developed communication, presentation and negotiation skills, “which are not only related to business but also useful in all fields including engineering,” stated Yu-Chi Chen, a student who is now transferring to CMU. “The program provided a very good international experience and a different learning practice and methodology,” he stressed.
With a background as an electrical engineer, Yu-Chi Chen considers that is important to be familiar with management. For Po-Lin Yeh, also a student in this program, furthering his knowledge as an engineer was always the main goal, but he also acknowledges that he wanted to develop the ability to work together with people from different nationalities, something that was made possible through the MBA program. “The reason why I chose this dual-degree was that I wanted to move from pure hardware design engineering to becoming a systems developer, someone who also knows how to develop application software”. Furthermore, according to Po-Lin Yeh, an “MBA can teach me how to become a top manager, and therefore I think the dual-degree is very suitable for me,” he concluded.
According to these two students, the experience has been both very positive and intensive, as it challenges students to gain not only new know-how in engineering, but also new know-how and soft skills in communication, management and business plans. According to Yu-Chi Chen and Po-Lin Yeh, the most challenging aspect was the team work and the relationship with colleagues from different backgrounds. Overall, in the end, the first year of studying in Portugal met their expectations. “The interdisciplinary feature, international experience and the team work with colleagues from various backgrounds broadened my horizons and enhanced my soft skills,” stressed Yu-Chi Chen.
In the next semester the students will move to Carnegie Mellon University's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, in Pittsburgh, in order to stay two semesters at the CMU campus to improve their engineering skills. By the end of the dual degree program, the students will receive a Master in Business Administration ("The Magellan MBA") from the Porto Business School and a Master's Degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.
Now that the first year of the MS/MBA dual degree program has come to an end, it is time for the program to welcome another class in Portugal, starting this fall.