All About Masters in Engineering Management (MEM/MSEM)

posted at Sept. 15, 2022, 4:54 p.m.

Masters in Engineering Management is largely offered in America. There are 3–4 options in Canada and a few in Australia. While graduating from a good university is always important, for a MEM degree, graduating from a top 15 university offering the program is critical. We don’t suggest you go to an ordinary American University to pursue a MEM. As long as you go to a top 15 MEM program, your prospects are bright.

The MEM degree gives you more of a specialized skill set, making you a manager who takes decisions backed by sound numbers. In today’s age of data-backed decision-making, engineering managers are a supremely valuable asset. If you take the right electives as a part of your program you become an instantly hireable asset. A lot of applicants with significant work experience have started to apply to more specialized programs such as Engineering Management, Supply-Chain Management, Operations Management, and Business Analytics instead of an MBA due to the skills these programs impart. Another reason for the popularity of the MEM is the fact that it is a STEM degree in the USA, hence making you eligible for a STEM extension and hence increasing the likelihood of procuring an H1B visa. Here’s my take on each of the MEM programs that students usually apply to- There are close to 50 Engineering Management programs in the USA. But only 15 are worth going to. We will mention some options that most students should consider. We won’t talk about MIT because it needs a ton of work experience.

Stanford: Hands down the best MEM program there is (it’s called Management Science and Engineering). Unfortunately, it's the most selective as well. The curriculum is more quant-oriented which may not be a bad thing because it helps during the job search. Along with Dartmouth, it is the most rigorous program there is. There are no downsides to this program. If you get in you must go!

Dartmouth: The little Ivy League school in the woods! The program with the best curriculum bar none without a doubt. Because of the quarter system and the sheer number of courses you have to take, the Dartmouth MEM will be hard work. It has the best mix of quant courses and traditional management courses such as marketing, business strategy, and managerial accounting. The small class size, and brilliant networking opportunities facilitated by the university and the career services team ensure that every Dartmouth MEM ends up with a job with an average salary of 85,000 dollars. The disadvantage of this program is that it is hard to get into (obviously because it has a class size of 50), it's expensive and it’s located literally in the middle of nowhere. It doesn’t offer any location advantages apart from being close to New York and Boston.

Duke: Perhaps the first name that springs to mind when MEM programs come up. The university has a great reputation and the degree will hold value globally. Its location in proximity to a whole bunch of industries in North Carolina also provides a great advantage. The curriculum is not very deep however and that’s a downer when you pay close to 60k in tuition. Also, it has one of the largest classes with close to 200 people. That can hurt your job search.

USC: Great location, great school. However, it's a two-year program and hence is expensive for what it offers. It tends to be more selective than Johns Hopkins and is an older program than Cornell and Purdue. Because it is an older program, the industry connection that the program has is great. If you get in you should be ok as long as you can afford the fee.

Johns Hopkins University: A great program that I recommend because of the class size, location, curriculum, and reputation of the university. One issue with the program is that it has a strong engineering component to it which a lot of applicants don’t like in an Engineering Management program. Computer Science grads should look this course up though! It is a little newer compared to the other programs however and is constantly increasing its class size.

Cornell: Ivy league, good curriculum, and good job opportunities Cornell is a great program that should feature among the top 3–4 in the years to come as the program gains in years. Don’t be fooled by the New York tag though. Ithaca, NY to New York City is a 5.5+ hour drive. You can get to NYC faster than Boston! Also, Ivy=Expensive. We believe the only reason that this program hasn’t trumped Duke is that it is relatively newer. The age of a MEM program determines the industry connections and reputation it has and Cornell needs a few more years under its belt. But it will be a mighty fine program.

Columbia University: The Management Science and Engineering program at Columbia is your go-to course if you love quantitative modeling and finance. Offered by the Department of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research, Columbia grads love crunching numbers. Its location in New York also increases the likelihood of securing a job. We hear a lot of people who go to Columbia tell me however that the program is not what they expected. This is because of the quant-heavy nature. If you want an education in broader management subjects like marketing and strategy you aren’t getting it here. Also, be prepared to shell out close to a crore on tuition and living expenses. An Ivy in NYC is a financial nightmare!

Northeastern University: A school that’s quite a bit lower down in the pecking order when compared to the rest. NEU is in Boston. The curriculum is good. The job opportunities are good. And its acceptance rate is higher when compared to the rest. You should certainly have this one on your list of safe schools.
Do comment on any other universities you want me to write about, we will be happy to oblige. Do log onto Gradvine to speak to current MEM students and grads to learn more about these programs and to understand what to expect from them.

[Webinar] Gradvine in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University for the MSEM program:

If you want to reach out for further questions you can schedule a free call with Gradvine ( or reach out to us on Linkedin. Our students go to universities like Stanford, Harvard, Columbia, UPenn, Carnegie Mellon, UC Berkeley, Duke, Dartmouth, Cornell, TAMU, and several others year after year.