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Top Feeders to Engineering

Updated July 2021

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 170 million workers across the United States. Specifically, we identified and analyzed the undergraduate backgrounds of more than 49,000 entry-level engineers (with 0 to 5 years of work experience) across 10 companies most frequently cited by engineering majors as the “most desirable to work for.” They include Amazon, Apple, Boeing, ExxonMobil, 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 nine companies. USC’s second top employer is SpaceX because its graduates comprise a larger share of all employees at SpaceX 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 Space X 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)

Rank (Total)Institution# EmployedTop Employers (Total)Top Employer (Share)
1University of Southern California1,502AmazonSpaceX
2Carnegie Mellon University1,253GoogleApple
3Georgia Institute of Technology1,205AmazonSpaceX
4University of Washington1,001MicrosoftBoeing
5University of California, Berkeley991GoogleApple
6University of California, San Diego863AmazonApple
7University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign809AmazonApple
8University of California, Los Angeles738GoogleNASA
9University of Michigan720AmazonSpaceX
10The University of Texas at Austin649GoogleSpaceX
11University of California, Irvine594AmazonBoeing
12Columbia University587GoogleAmazon
13Stanford University572GoogleApple
14Cornell University566GoogleSpaceX
15Purdue University559AmazonTesla
16Northeastern University550AmazonTesla
17Texas A&M University514Lockheed MartinExxonMobil
18University of Florida510AmazonLockheed Martin
19San Jose State University371AmazonTesla
20Massachusetts Institute of Technology367GoogleSpaceX
21University of Pennsylvania355GoogleSpaceX
22University of Maryland369AmazonNASA
23Penn State University350Lockheed MartinBoeing
24University of Central Florida336Lockheed MartinNASA
25North Carolina State University325AmazonApple
26Virginia Tech291MicrosoftNASA
27Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo287AppleSpaceX
28Ohio State University277AmazonTesla
29Duke University275AmazonGoogle
30Washington University271BoeingAmazon

Top Feeder Rankings (adjusted for undergraduate enrollment)

Rank (Adjusted)Institution# EmployedTop Employer (Total)Top Employer (Share)
1Carnegie Mellon University1,253GoogleApple
2California Institute of Technology94GoogleSpaceX
3Columbia University587GoogleAmazon
4Stanford University572GoogleApple
5Massachusetts Institute of Technology367GoogleSpaceX
6Georgia Institute of Technology1,205AmazonSpaceX
7University of Southern California1,502AmazonSpaceX
8Harvey Mudd College66GoogleSpaceX
9Olin College of Engineering19GoogleSpaceX
10Rice University194GoogleExxonMobil
11Duke University275AmazonGoogle
12Cornell University566GoogleSpaceX
13University of Pennsylvania355GoogleSpaceX
14Washington University in St. Louis271BoeingAmazon
15Princeton University178GoogleSpaceX
16Rose Hulman Institute of Technology64GoogleSpaceX
17Johns Hopkins University175AmazonNASA
18Brown University225GoogleMicrosoft
19University of Washington1,001MicrosoftBoeing
20University of California, Berkeley991GoogleApple
21Northeastern University550AmazonTesla
22Santa Clara University163AmazonApple
23University of California, San Diego863AmazonApple
24Northwestern University230AmazonTesla
25Harvard University161GoogleNASA
26University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign809AmazonApple
27University of California, Los Angeles738GoogleNASA
28University of Michigan720AmazonSpaceX
29Swarthmore College38GoogleAmazon
30Cooper Union19GoogleSpaceX
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