Top Feeders to Engineering

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.

Updated July 2022

Rank (Total)Institution# EmployedTop Employers (Total)Top Employer (Share)
1University of Southern California1610AmazonApple
2Georgia Institute of Technology1392MicrosoftLockheed Martin
3Carnegie Mellon University1192GoogleApple
4University of California, Berkeley1057GoogleTesla
5University of Washington1047MicrosoftBoeing
6University of California, San Diego1005AmazonNorthrop Grumman
7University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign952GoogleBoeing
8University of California, Los Angeles854GoogleNorthrop Grumman
9University of California, Irvine776AmazonDisney
10Northeastern University722AmazonDisney
11Purdue University715AmazonRaytheon Technologies
12University of Michigan705AmazonSpaceX
13University of Texas at Austin650AmazonDisney
14Cornell University611GoogleSpaceX
15Columbia University590GoogleAmazon
16University of Florida579AmazonDisney
17Texas A&M University542Lockheed MartinRaytheon Technologies
18University of Maryland511AmazonNorthrop Grumman
19Stanford University506GoogleApple
20San Jose State University453AmazonTesla
21Penn State University449Lockheed MartinNorthrop Grumman
22University of Central Florida436Lockheed MartinDisney
23North Carolina State University393AmazonNASA
24Cal Poly - San Luis Obispo382AmazonNASA
25Massachusetts Institute of Technology377GoogleNASA
26University of Pennsylvania367GoogleDisney
27Virginia Tech349MicrosoftNorthrop Grumman
28University of Wisconsin - Madison312AmazonSpaceX
29University of Colorado Boulder307Lockheed MartinRaytheon Technologies
30Rochester Institute of Technology304MicrosoftTesla

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

Colleges Worth Your Money

2024 Edition

A Guide to What America's Top Schools Can Do for You

Buy on Amazon Now
College Transitions Dataverse Book Image