Master of Engineering Management: One Year Later

When asked about his first year as a student in the master of engineering management (MEM) degree program, Jim Dougherty, a senior software engineering manager at Iron Mountain, finds it hard to contain his enthusiasm. “I’ve got to say 2010 was a great year!” And a great year it has been for the program. One year since its launch, the MEM degree has a lot to brag about: a doubling of the residential enrollment, an increase in the number of new applications, and an expansion of the geographic residential delivery.

Kailash Satyamurthy, M.B.A., Ph.D., assistant professor of engineering and management, attributes this success to developing a curriculum that recognizes the changing role of today’s engineers. “When engineers get promoted, their responsibilities increase to include new challenges such as managing teams,” says Satyamurthy. “Most [of them] don’t know how to manage [staff] since their focus has always been on technical designing and practical job responsibilities.” He contends that a major part of the program focuses on creating a balance of two disciplines—engineering and building team relationships—which helps technology-based engineers develop a better overall perspective of managing in an engineering-related management position.

But what makes this program truly successful is how students feel they are not compromising the technological aspect of their background while executing the financial, economic, and people aspects of engineering and technology management positions. Students also appreciate the immediate applicability of what they learn in class. Aaron Falcone, IT manager/technical architect at Lincoln Financial Group, couldn’t agree more. “In retrospect, enrolling in Penn State’s MEM program was an excellent decision. I’ve been able to apply newly learned skills to my work environment almost immediately.” Dougherty concurs. “I’ve learned lots of things that apply to real-world problem solving. I have never had school work track the real world so closely.”

In March, Penn State representatives officially announced the lauching of the online delivery of the MEM program through Penn State’s World Campus, taking a local success to the global market.