Engineering students are prepared by their degree to design and build most anything, from cities to computers, but one basic component to success is barely mentioned in their classes: business concepts. A familiarity with business, especially management concepts, can turn an engineer into an entrepreneur, or a technical expert into a manager.

To meet this need, the Center for Executive Development at Mays began offering an accelerated certificate program in business management created specifically for the needs of engineers. The course, offered each August, is three weeks of 8-to-5 days in the classroom. The 50 student participants cram in 120 hours, or the equivalent of three 3-hour courses in that short span. The students are drilled in the basic principles of accounting, finance, management, and marketing.

It’s intense and exhausting, but a worthwhile investment in their future careers.

Max Leutermann ’12, a computer engineering major, says that though he knows about leadership as a member of the Corps of Cadets, he wanted to learn more specifically about management in a business setting. He hopes that the certificate from Mays will help him gain admission into an MBA program in the future.

“Engineers with MBAs are really sought after,” echoes Matt Fransted ’10, a nuclear engineering major and naval officer. He graduates soon and will continue his position with the Navy, working on nuclear reactors. He’s looking ahead, making plans to earn an MBA, and after his military career is finished, start his own business.

Chemical engineering student Kelsey Fuller “10 is preparing for a career with ExxonMobil after graduation. She was interested in the certificate program, as she will soon be working in a corporate environment—something she knows little about. A firm grounding in the basics of business will be helpful as she makes workplace decisions, especially as she aspires to be a manager. While some of the material covered in the course, such as team building, was not new to her, she appreciated the finance and accounting lessons, as they provided practical information she’d never encountered before. Beyond the corporate applications, Fuller says that the material will also serve her well as she considers matters of personal finance.

Several MBA programs around the country, including Harvard’s, offer similar certificates, but offering such a course to undergraduates is a unique feature of the Mays program.