This week U.S. News and World Report released their picks for the top engineering graduate schools in the country. McCormick came in at #3 for Industrial/Manufacturing/Systems Engineering and #20 overall. But when pursuing a small and specialized program like MEM, is the graduate school ranking even important? The answer is a definitive “yes” and we’ll tell you why.
Beyond MEM. Students choose to pursue a Master’s degree in Engineering Management for a variety of reasons: they want to take on more responsibility at work, they want to move up into management, and they want to learn more about the other fields, such as finance. In the end, every MEM student has ambition and a thirst for knowledge. They often launch into an engineering career only to discover that they want to expand their knowledge far beyond what they ever could have imagined as undergraduates. Similarly, attending classes in the NU MEM program leads them to discover new interests, such as entrepreneurship.
First year student Christopher Brown is one great example: “An important reason I chose Northwestern’s MEM program over others was the entrepreneurship courses offered. I plan to apply to the NUVention Web course because it sounds like the perfect opportunity to create a real-start up, while receiving advice from professors and industry experts. It’s an opportunity too good to pass up.” NUVention courses are part of the Farley Center for Entrepreneurship and allows students of all degrees and disciplines (another great reason to want to be part of a highly ranked university across schools) to create a start-up in one of three categories: medical, web, and energy.
Facilities. Speaking of start-ups, one of the reasons Northwestern can offer classes like NUVention is because of their amazing range of facilities. The U.S. News and World Report analysis of Northwestern cited the incredible research capabilities and facilities as a major advantage. “The McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science at Northwestern University budgets $1.5 billion each year for research efforts. That money is put to good use at the more than two dozen research institutes and centers housed at the school’s campus in Evanston, Ill.” Facilities range from the Motorola Center for Seamless Communication to the interdisciplinary Transportation Center to the Segal Design Institute housed in the same building in which most MEM classes take place. Students participating in entrepreneurship classes, for example, can use the extensive labs in the Ford Design Center to build prototypes while management focused students can work alongside MBAs in classes offered at the Kellogg School of Business (ranked #4 in the nation).
Degree. Of course, the most important aspect of choosing a graduate program is choosing the correct program for you. While the Georgia Institute of Technology and University of Michigan‒Ann Arbor might rank higher as overall Industrial and Systems Engineering graduate programs, they do not offer the same specialization as an MEM degree. If you want to be surrounded by motivated, ambitious engineers hoping to expand their world and their careers, to learn more about management while also continuing to develop their technical skills, then you can’t beat an MEM degree. Having an amazing graduate school to back you up is just a fantastic benefit.