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MBA vs IE vs data analyst

I am currently a graduate MSc student in Chemical engineering. I have relatively low interest in Chem. Eng. (living is US). I am thinking about changing fields. My current options are MBA, Industrial engineering and Statistics. I have a wide range of interests, very adaptive, good at math, commited, not ambitious, like to work in team, and my family is my priority. Considering these, what to do you suggest I would do?
#MBA #industrial-engineer #statistics #data-analysis #career-counseling #career-path

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Virginia’s Answer

Hi Nazy -

First of all, what is your dream job? One thing you can do is go on Indeed or Ladders and look across and find the one whose description sounds the most fun, the most ideal, and the best match. What are the requirements in order to get that job? For this, try to consider your end game job rather than a job fresh out of college.

Second, have you reached out to folks in the workforce that have ChemE degrees? A lot of times, provided you are flexible and polite, you can follow these folks around for a day or two to shadow them. This also applies to any other major you might pick and would be good due-diligence to complete prior to changing your major officially.

Third, have you considered all of the different jobs available to you as a chemical engineer and evaluated all of those options? How far along into your Master's degree are you? Are you early into it or about to graduate? This might make a big difference in your path. For example, if you are 2 months from graduating, do you really want to spend another couple years in school and incur that additional cost?

In general, when you state that you are not ambitious I would direct you away from an MBA. Most folks I know try to use that to go into a management position and perhaps an individual contributor position might fit you better. For industrial engineering - what is making you consider this field? A ChemE could actually apply and do very well for a lot of these types of roles. For statistics - this is a very broad field that is used most everywhere and is a good option especially if you have an undergraduate degree in a science field. However, for all of these, you really do need to determine what your dream job is and go from there.

Lastly, as a person with a very odd career path (I can detail more if you are interested and want to chat further), do not think that your career is defined by your degree. Your degree gives you the basics and then opens the door. From there, movement into and out of different roles and fields is possible.

careerpath career-counseling
Thank you comment icon Thanks for responding. My dream job is to travel around the world! And since I don't have enough money and the right passport, I choose to go at it indirectly. Second, no. My gut is telling me to stay away from Chem. Eng. Third, I do not like the job atmosphere of chem. eng. jobs. I am an MSc graduate. Fourth, I considered Industrial engineering because its wide range of application. I deeply appreciate your suggestions and am going to think more about what path I wanna take. Nazy
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Reef’s Answer

Hi Nazy, I completed my undergraduate degree in Industrial Engineering, worked for a couple of years then went back and completed my MBA.

My advice is this: You are correct there is a large intersection between IE, Business and Data Analysis. However there is also a subset that is unique to either IE vs Business. For example if you definitely see yourself in Finance, then don't waste your time studying Industrial Engineering. If you are of the data analytics type, and see yourself as a data scientist then IE is best, because you will learn how to code as well as learn in depth statistics concepts. Whatever path you pick, eventually you will end up learning a lot about all 3 areas because there is a lot of intersection between them, just start with the one you enjoy doing the most.

Hope this helps.

Reef



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Sharon’s Answer

Hi Nazy!

Given your background, interests and priorities, I would strongly suggest looking further into Industrial Engineering. It is a very wide field based on process improvement. It'll give you opportunities to work in different industries where you can apply your previous knowledge, and it will overlap with some Engineering skills that you already have. In my opinion, statistics is too narrow and you'll learn all about it studying Industrial Engineering. MBA's are great but, adding to Virginia's comment, I do not think it'd be a great fit for you since they are more focused on people wanting to achieve management positions.
Thank you comment icon Thanks for your answer. It makes alot of sense. Nazy
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Sarah’s Answer

MBA's are very common, and statistics is very specific. If you want broad options I would recommend The IE path as it will cover the fundamentals of the MBA and statistics but also teach you things like process improvements and manufacturing engineering. My opinion, the IE degree will help you stand out more and give you more opportunities.
One more note if you are still unsure, there are some Universities that will let you do the MBA and IE together.

Sarah recommends the following next steps:

Look into school that offer MBA and IE together.
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Leonardo’s Answer

Hi Nazy!

That is an awesome question and being quite honest, i am very surprise to see how well you know yourself and your priorities.

I love that you know your family is your priority, regarding you not being ambitious well just think on it like that, if you find something that you love, you will want to do it very well ! :) (the world need good people)

Going back to your question, it depends .... an MBA will bring you closer to business management, IE will give you a lot of tools for planning processes, drafting factories and manage operations. Statistics will bring you a set of analytical tools to support insight generation and even medical trials.

It will all come down to what you see yourself doing in a more comfortable way.

Leonardo recommends the following next steps:

Try to figure it out what kind of activities bring you more joy and sense of fulfillment.
Based on that, try to match possible careers to use those skills, behaviors
Look out for professionals on those fields and ask for inputs. Linkedin is the best source for you to do it in a more focused way.
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Jason’s Answer

Hi Nazy,


Fantastic question and one that I struggled with and still contemplating in my own careers! I completed both a MS in IE and an MBA and currently work in data science. I think that the combination of my experiences are very helpful in my career but in the end I think (this will sound cliche!) I have been the most engaged when I was curious about the problem I was trying to solve. Earlier in my career, I wish that I would have thought more about the problems that I want to solve when considering what type of education I would need and I would encourage you to do the same. In addition, careers are long and finding a path that gives you a good foundation of skills is important. Best of luck on your journey!

-Jason

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