Today’s engineering managers have the advanced technical knowledge as well as the logistical know-how to oversee the work of other engineers; providing guidance, structure and mentorship.
Much of the work involves the management of complex and large-scale projects with multidisciplinary teams and therefore a solid background coupled with effective business and people management skills is essential.
According to Dr Milan Simic, program manager for RMIT’s Master of Engineering (Management), it’s also important for engineering managers to be versatile.
“Today’s engineering manager needs to be multidisciplinary, with exceptional problem-solving skills and an ability to take the lead,” he said.
“They need to have a sound understanding of comprehensive systems and subsystems that include mechanical, electrical, electronics, hydraulics, and computer hardware and software components.”
The Master of Engineering (Management) has been tailored to springboard qualified engineers to well-rounded leaders. It focuses on the supervision and organisation side of engineering production and manufacturing, teaching engineers to think strategically and innovatively.
The specialised program gives students training and experience in both engineering and business; expanding their knowledge in planning and project management and improving their communication skills.
Students become familiar with current best practice in conservation and sustainability, as well as common business models of management including supply chain management, just-in-time management and lean management.
"The Master of Engineering (Management) is comparable in many ways to the Master in Business Administration (MBA), in that students receive complementary skills to help them advance in their chosen field.
"This program has been designed for engineers who want to take a lead role in managing projects and people, so it delivers specific skills that aren't part of a more general program."
The program is responsive to the needs of working professionals giving students the option to choose between attending class on campus and studying online.
Students focus their study on areas such as technology, environment protection, performance and efficiency improvement, risk management, economics, international business, project management, quality control, logistics and systems engineering management.
“An awareness and understanding of environmental and sustainable practice is crucial as students learn to define and solve complex, real-world problems in the planning, developing and managing of engineering and technology-based projects, ensuring the principles of cleaner production and ecologically sustainable industrial development are understood and put into practice,” Simic said.
The unique program has a lot to offer, combining technical, design and production skills together with competencies in finance, project management, communications and operations.
“Graduates have a specialise set of skills that can be an attractive value-add to any organisation.”
Thanks to globalisation, the field of engineering management offers an ever-expanding choice of places to work in the areas of mining, agriculture, automotive, civil, mechanical, electrical, electronics and more.
“Special attention is also paid to international careers in the information and internet technologies,” Simic said.
“Our graduates have moved on to manage small-to-large businesses worldwide and in many cases they are now owners or shareholders in local (in their respective countries) or international businesses.”
This program teaches up-to-the-minute industry standard practices taught by staff who have extensive industry and management experience in large international organisations.
“Personally, I spent ten years at Honeywell where I started out as a production engineer and then worked my way up to peripherals department manager.
“Other lecturers have PhD qualifications in their specialised area coupled with years of industry experience in management roles in organisations including Holden, Ford, Toyota, CSIRO, GE, IBM, CISCO, Government, private enterprise and other universities.
Story: Rebecca McGillivray