Top Feeders to Engineering

Updated July 2022

No matter your intended area of study within the broader field of engineering (electrical, civil, mechanical, biomedical, etc.), many future engineers aspire to someday gain employment at one of the world’s premier firms. One way to maximize your chances of achieving this goal is to attend an undergraduate institution with a proven track record of placing engineering graduates at the leading companies in this competitive sector. While the schools that sit atop most college ranking systems are, as you would expect, well-represented in this regard, there are also many more accessible universities that have sizable alumni networks and strong pipelines into the most coveted corporate destinations for engineers of all stripes.

To identify "top feeder" institutions in the engineering field, we relied on publicly available data from LinkedIn, a professional networking site featuring profiles of approximately 175 million workers across the United States. Specifically, we identified and analyzed the undergraduate backgrounds of more than 61,000 entry-level engineers (with 0 to 5 years of work experience) across the 12 companies most frequently cited by engineering majors as the “most desirable to work for.” They include Amazon, Apple, Disney, Northrup Grumman, Google, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft, NASA, SpaceX, and Tesla. We then constructed two lists. The first list looks at the raw number of alumni employed by this select group. The second list looks at the top 30 producers when adjusted for undergraduate enrollment, which allows us to highlight schools that may be smaller in size, but that still send a significant number of graduates directly to these prestigious companies.

Finally, we identified the two top employers for each “feeder” institution. The first top employer is the company employing the most undergraduate alumni from a particular school. The second top employer is the company with the highest share of employees from that undergraduate school. For example, USC’s first top employer is Amazon, because more USC (undergraduate) alumni work at Amazon than at any of the other highlighted companies. USC’s second top employer is Apple because its graduates comprise a larger share of all employees at Apple than they do at any other company in our analysis. If a school's first and second top employer are the same, we indicate the company with the second highest share of employees instead. Measuring both total graduates employed and the institutional share of a company’s employees allows us to identify schools offering the best pipelines to smaller yet highly prestigious companies, such as SpaceX and NASA, which may draw heavily from one particular institution but wouldn't otherwise make an institution's list of top employers because of their relatively small size.

Top Feeder Rankings (by total employed)

InstitutionRank (Total)# EmployedTop Employers (Total)Top Employer (Share)
University of Southern California11610AmazonApple
Georgia Institute of Technology21392MicrosoftLockheed Martin
Carnegie Mellon University31192GoogleApple
University of California, Berkeley41057GoogleTesla
University of Washington51047MicrosoftBoeing
University of California, San Diego61005AmazonNorthrop Grumman
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign7952GoogleBoeing
University of California, Los Angeles8854GoogleNorthrop Grumman
University of California, Irvine9776AmazonDisney
Northeastern University10722AmazonDisney
Purdue University11715AmazonRaytheon Technologies
University of Michigan12705AmazonSpaceX
University of Texas at Austin13650AmazonDisney
Cornell University14611GoogleSpaceX
Columbia University15590GoogleAmazon
University of Florida16579AmazonDisney
Texas A&M University17542Lockheed MartinRaytheon Technologies
University of Maryland18511AmazonNorthrop Grumman
Stanford University19506GoogleApple
San Jose State University20453AmazonTesla
Penn State University21449Lockheed MartinNorthrop Grumman
University of Central Florida22436Lockheed MartinDisney
North Carolina State University23393AmazonNASA
Cal Poly - San Luis Obispo24382AmazonNASA
Massachusetts Institute of Technology25377GoogleNASA
University of Pennsylvania26367GoogleDisney
Virginia Tech27349MicrosoftNorthrop Grumman
University of Wisconsin - Madison28312AmazonSpaceX
University of Colorado Boulder29307Lockheed MartinRaytheon Technologies
Rochester Institute of Technology30304MicrosoftTesla

Top Feeder Rankings (adjusted for undergraduate enrollment)

Rank (Adjusted)Institution# EmployedTop Employers (Total)Top Employer (Share)
1Carnegie Mellon University1192GoogleApple
2Columbia University590GoogleAmazon
3California Institute of Technology80GoogleSpaceX
4Massachusetts Institute of Technology377GoogleNASA
5Georgia Institute of Technology1392MicrosoftLockheed Martin
6University of Southern California1610AmazonApple
7Stanford University506GoogleApple
8Olin College of Engineering23AppleTesla
9Harvey Mudd College61GoogleSpaceX
10Rice University222GoogleMicrosoft
11Northeastern University722AmazonDisney
12Duke University301AmazonNASA
13Cornell University611GoogleSpaceX
14Santa Clara University216AmazonTesla
15University of Pennsylvania367GoogleDisney
16Princeton University169GoogleMicrosoft
17Harvard University183GoogleNASA
18Rose Hulman Institute of Technology69MicrosoftTesla
19Johns Hopkins University221AmazonRaytheon Technologies
20Cooper Union28GoogleRaytheon Technologies
21Washington University265BoeingRaytheon Technologies
22University of California, Berkeley1057GoogleTesla
23Brown University215GoogleMicrosoft
24University of California, San Diego1005AmazonNorthrop Grumman
25Northwestern University243GoogleTesla
26University of Washington1047MicrosoftBoeing
27University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign952GoogleBoeing
28University of California, Los Angeles854GoogleNorthrop Grumman
29University of California, Irvine776AmazonDisney
30Rochester Institute of Technology304MicrosoftTesla
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