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Top Feeders to Engineering

Updated June 2020

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 approximately 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 California1,487AmazonSpaceX
2Carnegie Mellon University1,343GoogleApple
3Georgia Institute of Technology1,116AmazonSpaceX
4University of Washington1,057MicrosoftBoeing
5University of California, Berkeley877GoogleApple
6University of California, San Diego860AmazonApple
7University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign782AmazonApple
8University of California, Los Angeles741GoogleNASA
9University of Michigan695AmazonSpaceX
10Columbia University614GoogleAmazon
11Stanford University579GoogleApple
12The University of Texas at Austin572GoogleSpaceX
13University of California, Irvine562AmazonBoeing
14Cornell University557GoogleSpaceX
15Northeastern University543AmazonTesla
16University of Florida537AmazonLockheed Martin
17Purdue University530AmazonTesla
18Texas A&M University510Lockheed MartinExxonMobil
19San Jose State University398AmazonTesla
20North Carolina State University397AmazonApple
21University of Maryland369AmazonNASA
22University of Central Florida351Lockheed MartinNASA
23University of Pennsylvania345GoogleSpaceX
24Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo343AppleSpaceX
25Massachusetts Institute of Technology324GoogleSpaceX
26Penn State University323Lockheed MartinBoeing
27Ohio State University306AmazonTesla
28Virginia Tech279MicrosoftNASA
29Washington University in St. Louis264BoeingAmazon
30Duke University259AmazonGoogle


Top Feeder Rankings (adjusted for undergraduate enrollment)

Rank (Adjusted)Institution# EmployedTop Employer (Total)Top Employer (Share)
1Carnegie Mellon University1,343GoogleApple
2University of Southern California1,487AmazonSpaceX
3Columbia University614GoogleAmazon
4Harvard University132GoogleNASA
5Stanford University579GoogleApple
6Brown University184GoogleMicrosoft
7University of Pennsylvania345GoogleSpaceX
8University of Washington1,057MicrosoftBoeing
9University of California, Los Angeles741GoogleNASA
10Yale University117GoogleAmazon
11California Institute of Technology95GoogleSpaceX
12Harvey Mudd College70GoogleSpaceX
13University of California, Berkeley877GoogleApple
14Swarthmore College32GoogleAmazon
15Cornell University557GoogleSpaceX
16Washington University in St. Louis264BoeingAmazon
17Duke University259AmazonGoogle
18Rice University200GoogleExxonMobil
19Northeastern University543AmazonTesla
20Dartmouth College87GoogleSpaceX
21University of California, San Diego860AmazonApple
22University of California, Santa Barbara171AmazonSpaceX
23University of California, Irvine562AmazonBoeing
24Massachusetts Institute of Technology324GoogleSpaceX
25Northwestern University246AmazonTesla
26Santa Clara University154AmazonApple
27University of Michigan695AmazonSpaceX
28San Jose State University398AmazonTesla
29Georgia Institute of Technology1,116AmazonSpaceX
30Princeton University169GoogleSpaceX


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