Is double majoring in Engineering and Business a good idea?

As answered on Quroa

If you want to be a business person with a bit of knowledge of engineering, go for it. If you want to be a competent engineer who can create a business, don’t double major in engineering and business. Stick to the engineering degree.

Let’s first back track to your goal, which is to create a business focused on rotobotics and nanotechnolgoy. That’s an awesomely ambitious goal! What do you think you will gain from each major? And what role do you want to play in this business?

It’s unlikely that either degree will fully prepare you for either the engineering required to develop new products in nanotechnology or to start and run a business. However the base level of knowledge you need of engineering is significantly higher than the base level required of business, and you’re unlikely to pick up all that much of value in the classroom worth directly applying to a brand new business. The business major will be a distraction to the one that matters.

Think about those two questions I posed, and then consider this: you should probably hold a job or two out of college before launching your business. Most people drastically overestimate how much their formal education will prepare them for “the real world” and similarly underestimate the value of education gained from regular old jobs. Find a company with a good engineering track record and work there for a couple of years. Get some first hand experience designing and building things in the real world, with real constraints, real products, and real customers. Note what works, what doesn’t, what you could improve. Learn, learn, learn. Then go launch your venture.

Originally published March 2013

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