I had considerable experience in Civil Engineering (Construction Management, Geotechnical and Water Resources Engineering) before I moved to Canada to pursue a masters’ degree in Engineering Management (MEM) in 2016. My last role at my former company was a Project Manager. In the project management role, my responsibilities were transitioning from a purely technical role/engineering into more management; people management, logistics management and financial management. I was really loving this new addition to my responsibilities and so when I decided to pursue a master’s degree, I was looking for a program that had a blend of management and technical aspects. Initially I targeted MBA but I could not get an MBA program with some pure technical engineering aspects. I came across some project management programs and engineering management in different schools but Engineering Management at Uottawa looked convincing after comparing the program content with many other programs at different schools.
One interesting thing about Uottawa MEM is that, all students from different engineering backgrounds had the opportunity to take courses in their background aside the business courses and project management courses that were common to all students. I took courses like Project Information Management (EMP 5109B) akin to contract management, Project Life Cycle Costing (CVG 6308 1X), Project Management 1 &2 (ADM6260C & ADM6261D).These courses gave me more insight and improved my knowledge in Civil Engineering. The case studies also improved my analytical and problem solving skills tremendously.
On completing MEM program I didn’t immediately get into a Project Management role or higher obviously because I had no Canadian work experience then. But after a year, I got back into a project management role as a Project Engineer with top tier mining company in British Columbia. In this role I performed both technical and management functions on a hundred million dollar project. After a year in this role, I have taken on the Project Management role 100%. I can testify that this rapid progression from a purely technical role after school to now a management role in less than three years would not be possible without the knowledge from the MEM program. I am better at management resources (people, finances and logistics). I learnt and now appreciates the most important resources on any project or in any organization.
Among the many courses I took, Management Accounting Information and Decisions (MBA 5241E), Project Life Cycle Costing (CVG 6308 1X), Corporate Finance 1 (MBA 5250E) and Human Resources and Organizational Behavior are valuable assets now. The rapid growth in my career after school is largely due to the knowledge gained from the MEM program. The Management Accounting Information and Decisions is one course that has plummeted me to mid-level senior management role. Application of knowledge from this course has helped me in strategic planning, management control and above all decision making.
The course gave me the tools to perform financial and cost analysis to arrive at the best decisions for projects that I currently work on. My current role involves making decisions on big expenditures including contract awards, purchases etcetera. Knowledge from this course helps me to analyze bids and know the best one to choose for my projects. I really use the tools from the course in negotiation. I am also been great at working with the accounting department of my current organization in providing the information on the projects I work in providing information for the investor community. With my background in managerial accounting, I understand the relevance of information needs of the accounting department and I also understand the accounting system. This acumen puts me above the ordinary engineer in the organization. This course greatly improved my analytical and problem solving skills and I couldn’t be this better without the MEM program.
I will recommend the MEM program to any Engineer who is looking to transition to a management role without joining the long queue to the limited management positions in engineering organizations.