Some university engineering programs have minors or specializations in Business or Finance, or similar areas. Our Management Science Option (like a minor) is available for any engineering student and covers some business and finance topics, but is not quite the same thing. Does this mean that Waterloo engineering students lack business skills and opportunities? No, not at all because the co-operative education model provides lots of hands-on learning opportunities for students interested in the business-side of things. Why take a bunch of courses, when you can learn on the job with business mentors? As I noted in a previous post, there are lots of examples of students starting successful businesses, even before graduation, so it clearly seems to be working.
Then there is a recent story about a Systems Design Engineering student working with Manulife Financial, and her experience as a project manager in a large complex finanical company. It reminds me that I’ve been told quite a few Systems Design Engineering students get co-op jobs in the financial industry. I guess their problem solving and analytical skills dealing with complex systems serve them well in those jobs. Just another example of how an engineering education can be a solid basis for careers in all sorts of unexpected places.