Dartmouth Engineer - The Magazine of Thayer School of EngineeringDartmouth Engineer - The Magazine of Thayer School of Engineering

Dartmouth’s M.E.M. Program Teaches Engineers the Business of Technology

By Anna Fiorentino
September 2012 • Thayer By Degrees: MEM

Dartmouth's Master of Engineering Management (M.E.M.) program was created to help engineers understand management aspects of technology. So it comes as no surprise that as companies make the shift to rely more on technology, the program continues to thrive. The number of applications for the fall increased by a record 35 percent over last year, while the average class size remains at 50.

Professor Robert Graves
Robert Graves, director of Dartmouth's Master of Engineering Management program

"We sort from over 400 applications to get to an average of 50 incoming students each year," says Robert Graves, director of the M.E.M. program. Graves was named director in 2003, and a year later was instrumental in pulling together a group of professional alumni and others tied to Thayer School to form the M.E.M. program's Corporate Collaboration Council. Tasked with providing students with advice and industry perspectives, this group has been credited with building the program's reputation. Meanwhile, an affiliation called the M.E.M. Programs Consortium originating from Dartmouth shares best practices with similar programs at colleges including Duke, Cornell, Northwestern, Stanford, and MIT, on everything from curriculum to academic programs to management level decisions.

But it was the fathers of the M.E.M. program who had the foresight to understand the importance of establishing a partnership between the Tuck School of Business and Thayer School to tie in engineering design courses with business skills that graduates could use to bring their skills to market.

"When the M.E.M. program was created in 1988 as part of the M.E. degree (it was later made a separate degree in 1997) students didn't have a post-graduate avenue besides research, except to go full bore into an M.B.A. program," says Graves. "We wanted to maintain a program that allowed them to have a foot in technology and a foot in management."

That real-life experience begins with the required internship, a main component of the M.E.M. program, which lands one third of students in permanent positions. Graduates made an average of $10,000 more this year compared to graduating B.E.s at companies that have included Goldman Sachs, Campbell's Soup, and Nicole Miller.

"The idea is that these companies need to put out tech products and services on a regular basis, and the ability to put them out is not only driven by good design, but by good project management, good product management, from bench to marketplace," says Graves. "That's the niche of the M.E.M."

Tags: curriculum, faculty, M.E.M.

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