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Finding a top ranked school for engineering with flexibility?

deadlogdeadlog 1 replies6 threads New Member
Hi, so I am going to be a senior in high school and am currently trying to decide what schools to apply for and what to major in. In the future, I see myself as a project lead or some kind of managerial position in an engineering/ tech company working on sustainability and such projects. I am unsure of what to major in but leaning towards engineering, specifically mechanical or aerospace. However I am hesitant about the rigor and difficulty of engineering as well as how well it is suited for me and want to keep my options open; I want to go to a school ranked highly in both engineering and business with a lot of flexibility so that if I decide engineering isn't a good fit for me, I can easily switch out into something else. The problem is most top ranked engineering universities require you to apply to a specific school within the college and there is not much flexibility if you want to switch out to a different school or change your mind about your major. I should also mention that I am aiming for the ivy league/ UCs/ highly ranked schools.
My main questions are a) what top ranked institutions for engineering/ business provide the flexibility that I am looking for b) what schools will "lock me in" in the sense that it will be very difficult for me to switch schools or majors if I want to
For some perspective, UPenn was previously my top choice but now I'm hesitant hearing about the difficulty of the engineering program/ struggles of top students and am unsure about the mobility between schools/ programs

Thank you in advance, any guidance would be much appreciated.
9 replies
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Replies to: Finding a top ranked school for engineering with flexibility?

  • merc81merc81 11912 replies203 threads Senior Member
    The University of Rochester generally matches what you are seeking.
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 10477 replies124 threads Senior Member
    Usually it’s not that hard to transfer out of engineering. It’s transferring in that is the problem.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 83947 replies745 threads Senior Member
    At many universities, switching from the engineering division to the arts/sciences division is not as difficult as switching from the arts/sciences division to the engineering division.
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  • me29034me29034 2190 replies110 threads Senior Member
    Ivy League schools in general are not the best engineering schools. Most of them also don’t have undergrad business. Wharton of course is the exception. If those are the two fields you are looking at, then you really need to broaden your search.

    Most engineering schools have very proscribed course progressions. This is needed in order for you to graduate with all the courses you need in four years. Many engineering students change their minds after one year. Engineering is hard. It’s generally easy at most schools to switch into an arts and science type major. Transferring into business can be harder as schools have limits on how many students they can accommodate in their business schools and usually have requirements such as micro and macro economics that won’t be in the typical first year engineering schedule. You will need to investigate each school individually to see if this type of transfer is allowed or likely.

    Also a comment on the career goal of being a project lead or engineering manager - certainly that is a possible goal but you should realize that unless you work at a very small firm or start up, you will have to work your way up into that type of position. You will be hired as an entry level engineer no matter where you go to school.
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  • RichInPittRichInPitt 2492 replies42 threads Senior Member
    Agree with the above - moving from Engineering to Business typically isn’t as difficult as the opposite.

    I’m familiar with both CMU (alum) and Purdue (daughter currently attending) and both have well respected business programs in addition to T10 engineering programs.
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  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn 42377 replies2288 threads Super Moderator
    UT-Austin also has top engineering and business schools. Very hard to get in OOS, though.
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  • kidzncatzkidzncatz 1144 replies7 threads Senior Member
    Penn State has excellent engineering and business schools, as well as a top-notch honors program. If you start in DUS (undecided), you could take engineering courses your first semester or two. If you decide you'd rather be in business, you could take the entrance to major requirements for Smeal starting your 2nd or 3rd semester. No one at Penn State is actually in a major until junior year. Penn State would not be a good choice, however, if you need financial aid.
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  • Eeyore123Eeyore123 2090 replies25 threads Senior Member
    CWRU has both a respected Engineering and B school. They have a one door admissions policy that allows for easier movement.
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 7647 replies36 threads Senior Member
    Before looking at this from an engineering vs business perspective. Look at the different engineering possibilities. I think your missing something here.

    If you combine engineering and business you get industrial engineering. Check into that at some target schools and learn about it. Many go into management, finance, start ups etc. Combine or gear towards sustainability minor and/ or entrepreneurship minor. BTW - this is exactly what my son is doing at Michigan.

    At lots of schools there are many business things /groups /activities you can get involved with. With entrepreneurship minor at my son's school you actually work with real companies etc.

    Many schools you can't just switch into business or into engineering. At Michigan they make it easier to go into engineering if your LSA first. But not business. You have to be accepted into. Transferring is very hard like 100 /people a year so don't count on that.

    Call some schools and talk to some advisors at both the business and engineering schools. They will help you also.

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