Engineers might not want leadership roles when they enroll in an undergraduate engineering program, but they make great leaders, regardless. Journalists and business academics have postulated many reasons why this connection might be true.
Maybe it is the discipline that math and science courses require, which makes the difference between success and failure. Perhaps the scientific method, itself, teaches students a dependable, iterative process for identifying problems and testing possible solutions, and this process lay at the crux of leadership. Then again, perhaps it is the current business climate, dominated by the rapid progress of technology, which necessitates a quantifiable understanding of the natural world.
The reason matters much less than the empirical truth: undergraduates who majored in engineering are far more likely to lead S&P 500 firms than Ivy League graduates.
Listen to the math behind that conclusion. According to Business Insider, 33% of S&P CEOs obtained an engineering degree as an undergrad. Now compare that segment to the 10% who received an Ivy League BA or BSE.
Of course, this does not mean that an engineering degree is more likely to segue to a leadership role. There are far more engineering degrees than Ivy League graduates. However, it is clear that the rigorous study of math, logic, and scientific theory laid an ideal foundation for these leaders in business.
What Skills Do Engineers Need to Prepare for Leadership Roles?
Due to the rigorous nature of engineering programs, students rarely have the time to take leadership or business courses. Without a solid understanding of the contemporary business world or the opportunity to build people skills, graduates of scientifically based programs might be sitting on unrealized potential.
Reputable engineering programs might remedy this issue in the future. However, today’s graduates will need to follow their undergraduate education either with exposure to a leading role, or with continued education in business.
That is why we have seen a new type of business training emerge in recent years. Academic institutions, such as the University of Notre Dame, have identified an opportunity to finish engineering education with hands-on business acumen. In an accelerated 11-month program, ESTEEM gives you teambuilding and startup skills that bring a new and unique range of possibilities for our students.