I'm not saying that an MBA assures a good life, or an engineering degree prevents one. I am arguing that from the sample size I have seen:
1. Damn hard working, ridiculously smart engineers make OK money, get a little recognition if their lucky, and maybe even a 9x12 cube instead of a 9x9 one.
2. Dolts with MBA's (many of them also with engineering degrees, though often shoddy engineers who had to go to plan B) often easily slip into some form of management, start life with a 9x12 cube, and get heaps of recognition when projects succeed (usually despite, not because, of their "leadership").
Just my distilled observations from 10 years in the trenches.
The most heartbreaking example I witnessed while at HP/Agilent was seeing one of they most amazing engineers I'd ever met take early retirement in disgust. He is the holder of many patents, and was the driving force behind numerous kick-ass microwave instruments (i.e. ones they were huge money making platforms for a decade or more). As the story goes his wife, who was originally hired on as a secretary as part of his recruitment, had worked her way up through management. She was not a bad manager, but nothing special either, and was making 2x what he was making as the best damn engineer in the company (at least in the top 1%, and widely recognized as such).
Just saying that the incentives as they stand today are against someone smart going into science and engineering. If you do the math, as smart hard working dude can make a lot more, and be a lot less stressed going for the MBA track, than if they go the science or engineering routes. Once you add in the relative portability of an MBA, versus being a pigeon holed expert in a corner of engineering, the MBA starts to look a lot better.