This is the most frequently asked question and also the doubt in almost every individual doing there B.Tech.
Doing a master’s course while on the job is straining, but the fruits are worth the effort. This is especially so if you are an engineer who chooses to do an M.Tech or MBA. This will not only add to your qualification but also help to advance your career in the short term and mid term.
However, making a choice between MBA and M.Tech can be quite confusing for many.
M.Tech vs MBA
First, understand that there is no point comparing M.Tech and MBA. Both are specialised degrees and have value in their respective fields. Both M.Tech and MBA provide excellent career options and have gained importance in last few years. M.Tech or MBA is always an additional advantage to an engineer whether it is in terms of knowledge, experience or seniority.
Whether it be a manufacturing, IT or R&D driven organisation, there would be requirements for both M.Techs and MBAs. The former would be more of a subject matter specialist, while the latter would handle product marketing, sales, project management, human resources, IT process, consulting or customer service management.
Doing M.Tech in a particular field will definitely make you more valuable to a company that has business profile of that field. MBA, on other hand, will give you a totally different business perspective and is broader in scope.
Choice is entirely up to you
Ideally, you should make the choice on the basis of your capabilities, career goals and interests. If you want to continue your career in technical field, M.Tech is the right choice for you. You can even switch to teaching or research. But if you want to work in the industry, MBA is the way to go. MBA is a management course that will enhance your managerial, communication and presentation skills.
After MBA, you get the entry to the field of business and administration where you can go in for options like marketing, sales, human resources and operation management.
Specifically, M.Tech is suitable for a product-based industry where technical skills are required. MBA is more suitable for a service- and customer-oriented industry. Engineering graduates having a management degree are perfect for front-end sales, field applications and customer facing jobs. However, if an organisation is innovation hungry, pure engineering with master’s specialisation is a lethal combination!
Fresh postgraduates vs experienced graduate engineers
Right qualifications are important but hands-on industry experience cannot be discounted. So an already employed engineer may still have an edge over a fresher who has an additional degree of MBA or M.Tech. But this completely depends on his capabilities and the management’s views.
However, a more qualified candidate usually enjoys a better compensation in the long run. This is more so if the master’s degree is completed from a reputed institute.
Some really good institutes for studying M.Tech are all the IITs, Delhi Technological University (formerly Delhi College of Engineering), Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology (NSIT), NITs and Birla Institute of Technology & Science (BITS). Some MBA colleges of repute are all the IIMs, FMS, XLRI and IIFT. IIMs top the list in MBA training.
To enrol for M.Tech in a reputed institute like IITs, you need to crack GATE. In case you plan to pursue MBA, there are entrance exams like CAT and MAT which you need to clear.
Though it is easier to continue M.Tech in the stream as you did your BE or B.Tech, you have many options for doing M.Tech—electronics and controls engineering, VLSI design communication systems, embedded systems technology, power electronics and drives, digital communication and networking, remote sensing and GIS, information technology, computer science and engineering, and biomedical and instrumentation engineering to name a few.
When on the job, you learn to put your theoretical knowledge into use, but to improve upon your knowledge of design or research aspect, you need to go for the masters. It, however, will be difficult to crack the entrance exam (GATE) while you are on job. So it is recommended to qualify the GATE exam in the final year of study and get a job thereafter, as GATE score is valid for two years.
MBA, on the other hand, is preferable after you have gained some work experience.
Part-time: Good choice for working professionals
If you are a working professional who cannot take time off work to attend full-time, a part-time programme will give you the opportunity to pursue an advanced degree. Academically, part-time programmes are identical to full-time programmes. With the part-time programme, you can work full-time while attending classes on days off or in the evenings. So you can improve existing skills or develop new ones without affecting your current job.
To pursue a part-time/evening programme in M.Tech, the minimum eligibility is B.Tech/M.Sc or equivalent in relevant field with CGPA of 6.75 on a 10-point scale or 60 per cent marks in aggregate for general category, and some work experience. You must submit no objection certificate from your employer at the time of interview. Selection is generally made on the basis of a written test and/or interview.
Similarly, many colleges and universities offer part-time MBA programmes. The advantage of a part-time MBA programme is that you can bring and discuss real-world situations and problems into the classroom, where solutions can be explored that could be implemented in real life. In fact, such presentations and discussions make the classes more interesting.
Tuition assistance and student loans may be available. Also, there are many employers who sponsor their candidates for higher education.
A part-time programme will also save you from the hassles of a long commute to classes on a daily basis, as you would be attending classes only once or twice a week. At the same time, you must be ready to sacrifice your weekends for classes lasting morning till evening.
Opportunities coming your way
A postgraduate qualification is becoming increasingly important for engineers. M.Tech is a long-term investment in your technical career. It will secure your position in the organisation and also help you gain a higher position. Most government organisations and research bodies ask for M.Techs or MEs as they consider these people to be more resourceful than the normal B.Techs or BEs. Some public-sector units even call M.Tech students for interview directly; M.Techs need not give any written test.
If you want to come out from the engineering cocoon and multitask, it makes sense to widen your knowledge and skills in the management area. Having already obtained a technical degree, an MBA will complete your skills in the wider areas of management that usually include finance, marketing, human resource management, organisational behaviour and management strategy.
Doing an MBA is also important because an engineer today is the primary manager of change within the organisation who implements new practices and technology.
An MBA will make you the perfect candidate for the role of a group leader. As a group leader, you will lead a small technical group and work under minimal supervision. You will be required to provide guidance, set expectations, clarify responsibilities, and provide feedback for project team members in accomplishing tasks and goals.
You will participate as a key contributor and assign work to meet group commitments. You will contribute to the solution of complex technical problems, by providing resources, removing barriers and ensuring application of common approaches. You will demonstrate depth of knowledge of engineering discipline and leverages expertise on projects.
Growing further to the role of an assistant manager, manager and so on, you may eventually reach the top management level!