Context: this is a blog post describing a new MSc course for 2018. Therefore it is somewhat less objective than my usual posts – I have led the development of this course, and I am very proud of it! In addition it will be mainly of interest to potential students. The course, Engineering Business Management (EBM), is an interdisciplinary offering in the Engineering Management space. It joins our existing masters in Innovation and Technology Management. For more details, read on…
As engineering complexity continues to increase being technically skilled is no longer enough to progress in your career. Having a solid understanding of management concepts, and the ability to implement them are becoming basic requirements for career progression.
These are not my words but those of David Pearce, one of many experienced industrialists whose advice and support have helped shape this new course.
Engineering Business Management (or EBM to its friends) joins the highly successful course on Innovation and Technology Management (ITM), strengthening our commitment to training the next generation of technology leaders.
Why did we create these courses?
At the University of Bath, we are proud to have an Engineering Faculty and a School of Management that are both world class. We build both teaching and research around the collaborative strengths of these centres of excellence. EBM, like ITM, builds on this collaboration. The course is firmly based in real world practice, and the content has been enriched by input from industry, alumni, students and our academic research staff.
Our market research strongly suggests there is a need for these courses. ITM has already been a huge success, with our alumni gaining positions of responsibility in consultancies, engineering organisations, innovation hubs and NGOs. EBM broadens our offering to include business operations, supply chain, manufacturing and product development.
The course resonates with my experience too. My industrial background covers IT consultancy (Logica) and artificial intelligence research (Hewlett-Packard Laboratories. As I progressed through my career, I discovered a need for management skills, both in product development (leadership, project management and finance) and in R&D (creativity, teamwork and strategy). Frustratingly for an engineer, the real world is messy and the right decision cannot be proved through analytic logic. Nevertheless there are management approaches, theories of innovation and strategic tools that can all improve your chances of success. EBM and ITM provide a great chance for you to learn about all these techniques, to add them to your toolkit – and to try them out in a safe and supportive environment.
The reverse holds true for those from a management background. You may already have a firm grip on strategy, marketing or economics. Yet you would like to work in an engineering or high tech sector. EBM and ITM offer you a unique chance to apply your skills in a new context, learning from your peers (typically the cohort is 50% technical and 50% management background) and learning about the specific challenges of engineering management.
What would you gain from studying on these courses?
These courses have been designed so that you take control of your own learning – choosing topics centred around your own goals and aspirations. It’s important to us that the courses are not just about gaining knowledge (you could do that from books and papers). Our teaching is interactive, immersive and hands on. You will be expected to share your own expertise and experience, learning from each other as well as from the academic staff and from industry. Throughout the course you will be challenged to apply your learning to current areas of Engineering Management. Options cover a range of technical subjects (such as additive manufacturing) or a management approach (such as open innovation).
The nature of the cohort allows you to work in cross disciplinary teams, building skills such as leadership and negotiation. Typical activities might include: a team based exercise simulating the launch of a new product; a value engineering proposal with regular updates to the board; a change management programme following the merging of two engineering companies.
Our extensive network of industry partners are active participants in the development and delivery of the programme. Industrial engagement is strengthened by the use of invited lectures, real life case studies, industrial visits and opportunities to work with our partners on research projects.
What’s the structure of the course?
EBM or ITM – which is right for me?
Both EBM and ITM build a core of engineering management skills, including strategy, finance and marketing. You will gain experience of project and organisational change management. Both courses conclude with a common unit on creating sustainable value which brings together economic, environmental and societal aspects of value creation in Engineering Management.
In the summer period you will be given the option to undertake an individual academic dissertation on a topic of your choosing, drawing on real world engineering business management practice. An alternative option will be to tackle a real life engineering business management problem within a group. This will allow you to apply your learning in a real world context. We expect both options to be attractive; you will be able to make your choice during the programme.
So where do the courses differ? Well, both courses are suitable for applicants with a background in engineering, management or other numerate subject. The courses specialise in the Spring, with a focus on innovation and creativity (ITM) or operations and manufacturing (EBM). To be more specific:
- EBM is best suited to students seeking to develop leadership and management skills within areas such as project management, business analysis, design leadership, product development and supply chain management. It is not necessary to have engineering training, but applicants should be interested in exploring the implications of new technology, and incorporate the learnings into engineering management.
- Students interested in design creativity, idea generation and the innovation process should consider ITM. Graduates would be expected work in areas such as: industrial research; new product introduction; innovation hubs & incubators; start-up companies or government agencies.
In either case, you should be interested in one or more of the following:
- Leadership and management
- Strategic planning
- Incubators and Business Support
- Government and NGOs
If, instead, you are interested in deepening a specific technical skill then you should look at one of our other courses like Automotive Engineering, Engineering Design, Data Science or Business Analytics.
I am always happy to be contacted for informal inquiries. We are also expecting to run a virtual open day on 7 FEBRUARY 2018. Further details will be given to all offer holders in due course.