McMaster's engineering degree, served with a side of business savvy - Macleans.ca

McMaster’s engineering degree, served with a side of business savvy

Students learn everything from a standard engineering degree, plus economics, communications and more

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    Students sit in a lecture hall in L.R. Wilson Hall in McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario on Thursday, September 22, 2017.

    Students sit in a lecture hall in L.R. Wilson Hall in McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario on Thursday, September 22, 2017.

    When planning their ways up the corporate ladder, many engineers decide to go back for an MBA midway through their career. But McMaster is building business savvy into their engineering undergrad program, giving graduates a professional edge right from the start.

    In the five-year program, students learn everything they would in a standard four-year engineering degree—which McMaster also offers—plus 15 more courses in business, three in economics and additional courses on subjects ranging from communications skills to innovation, creativity and project management. Students have the option to do co-op placements throughout their studies, and they conclude the program with a mandatory industry project, which they do in partnership with a company in the area. “They graduate really employment-ready,” says Baba Vishwanath, a professor of management and instructor at McMaster.

    Students apply to the program after their first year, and go against stiff competition. Only 50 to 60 per cent of those who apply get accepted—a selection process that’s based mainly on GPA. The program, which Vishwanath describes as “the granddaddy of all engineering management programs in this country”—has churned out success stories since its inception in the ’70s. Stephen Elop, the former Nokia CEO, is among its many graduates who’ve risen to the ranks of top executives.


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