Strong leaders are essential to any business or industry, and engineering is no exception. To become a good leader who inspires others, it’s important to develop the right engineering leadership skills.
According to the National Society of Professional Engineers, “In an engineering context, leadership incorporates a number of capabilities that are critical to function at a professional level.
“These capabilities include the ability to assess risk and take initiative, the willingness to make decisions in the face of uncertainty, a sense of urgency and the will to deliver on time in the face of constraints or obstacles, resourcefulness and flexibility, trust and loyalty in a team setting, and the ability to relate to others.”
Engineers hold a responsibility to design and create solutions for global problems, and those with strong leadership qualities can steer and lead teams successfully to meet these objectives.
To develop these engineering leadership skills, students need a broad skillset that help them become leaders. This is in addition to a strong academic background in their particular engineering field.
This is why Master’s degree courses in Professional Leadership or Engineering Leadership are become more popular among engineers who already hold Bachelor degrees and a few years of working experience.
By furthering their education, students can take their career to new heights and become innovative and capable leaders.
Not only do they learn the relevant tools and business acumen needed to develop engineering leadership skills, they also develop other skills relevant to succeed in the future such as adaptability, innovative thinking and critical thinking.
Here are five universities in North America offering programmes that help students develop engineering leadership skills.
The University of British Columbia (UBC) offers a unique 12-month Hybrid Master’s programme combining technical skill development with leadership and management.
Offered across two sectors, Engineering and Healthcare, these courses (the Master of Engineering Leadership and the Master of Health Leadership and Policy) were developed in direct response to industry needs.
A number of large organisations across Canada approached UBC looking for a solution to the skill shortage within their management teams. They recognised a need for leaders within their organisation that were able to combine the technical and clinical elements of their roles with a profound understanding of the complexities of leadership and management.
The UBC Master of Engineering Leadership (MEL) and the Master of Health Leadership & Policy programs were designed to meet that need. Alumni of the program have furthered their careers and with many moving into leadership roles and helping instil change across two rapidly evolving industries.
Specialisations within the Master of Engineering Leadership programmes include; Advanced Materials Manufacturing, Clean Energy, Dependable Software Systems, High Performance Buildings, Integrated Water Management, Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering and Urban Systems.
Through these innovative programmes, UBC Professional Leadership Master’s program teaches students how to make impactful change.
At John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, the Master of Science in Engineering Management programme offers students the chance to tailor the programme to their own needs and goals, while simultaneously developing engineering leadership skills to advance their careers.
Students are able to combine engineering knowledge with a wide selection of management and leadership courses offered through the Center for Leadership Education.
There is also the Doctor of Engineering programme, which provides professional working engineers with the advanced technical expertise they need to become leaders in the industry.
The programme entails research collaboration between the student’s employer and the Whiting School of Engineering, where learners are mentored by a primary advisor in the Whiting School as well as a co-advisor at their place of employment.
The Whiting School of Engineering also offers flexible options so students can learn at their own pace and according to their own schedules.
At the University of Miami, students in the Department of Industrial Engineering, housed within the College of Engineering, look forward to a bright future in engineering leadership.
The department offers the BSIE – Engineering Management Concentration degree, accredited by the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET).
This programme integrates business and management knowledge with an engineering curriculum to prepare engineers for leadership roles in technology-based organisations.
There is also the MS in Management of Technology programme, designed for students who want to develop their communications skills and build a strategic mindset to drive enhanced business performance through technology.
At the University of Georgia, students who want to gain engineering leadership skills and accelerate their careers can do so by undertaking a dual degree in Bachelor of Science in Engineering and Masters of Business Administration (MBA).
The programme takes five years to complete and is the first and only BS/MBA degree offered by the university, taught by leading faculty members with industry experience.
The combination offers students with the ideal engineering expertise needed for the industry, as well as the chance to develop business skills and acumen.
Students at this university also get a world-class education through the schools’ commitment to cutting-edge research, flexible and collaborative culture and state-of-the art facilities.
At NYU, students can undertake the Master of Science in Biotechnology and Entrepreneurship to develop business and leadership skills in this specialised engineering field.
They also develop innovative skills to advance in the field in applied sciences and launch high-tech businesses. Students in this programme can also take project courses for more hands-on learning opportunities.
If they’re interested in diversifying their programme or learning more about business knowledge, they can also take an elective course at other schools within NYU (subject to advisor’s approval), like the NYU Stern School of Business.
Students who want to apply for this programme should hold an undergraduate degree in a science or engineering discipline, and must have taken undergraduate courses in biochemistry and cell and molecular biology.
*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International