Tear my thoughts apart!!! Berkeley vs Cornell vs UPenn vs Northwestern

<p>I have my son's case I'd like all of you to tear apart completely.</p>

<p>Richard has Berkeley, Cornell, UPenn and Northwestern to choose from. All Engineering Undecided. No $ from any of them. We live in California. I am willing to pay the extra $100K if he is committed to take a full advantage of what a private school can offer over Berkeley, whatever those are. Currently his thought on his career is get a BS or MS, work for a while in Engineering track, get a MBA, and move on to Marketing and eventually to management.</p>

<p>Here is where my thoughts are on each school:</p>

<p>Berkeley: highest ranked Engineering school among those four, great school reputation domestically and internationally, close to a great city (I don't necessarily take this as one of the major criteria but it is very important for Richard), $100K less (but again I am willing to pay), but on the other hand, issues related to the school size is a concern: class size, accessibility and the level of relationship he can build with the professors. And he will miss out an opportunity to live on the other part of the country as a Californian.</p>

<p>Cornell: Engineering school comaparable to Berkeley and the best in Ivy, prestige as an Ivy domestically and internationally, great undergraduate program (very hard but still manageable enough not to lose too many student). But Richard hates the environment: middle of nowhere, study or drink, nothing much else to do other than those. My question is it is a private but a BIG private. Is he going to take the extra $100K worth advantage?</p>

<p>UPenn: An Ivy, great engineering/business program whether you do M&T or a double degree outside M&T. The best if you have Wall Street or business consulting in mind. But if you want to do just Engineering you are giving up too much Engineering ranking (compared to the other three). And he wants to be a pure engineering for a while before he makes a transition to Marketing or management. I personally think he will be more successful long term with a hard core Engineering degree and experience.</p>

<p>Northwestern: It was his top choice at the beginning: great Engineering school (although I would rank it after Berkeley or Cornell), private school setting and environment, a great city in the back yard. But he changed his mind after his visits to the other three. He and I were scheduled to fly to Chicago this morning. But last night he cancelled the trip knowing it would be difficult for him to put back on his list. So I guess at this point of time it is off the list unless you guys can give him a compelling arguments.</p>

<p>He is more leaning toward Berkeley for the time being. I say "for the time being" as he has had three different schools at the top of his list over last three weeks. Me personally it will be difficult for me to see him letting go of Cornell. Just a few more days to the final decision. Any advise will be highly appreciated.</p>

<p>One question (maybe it's a question for youself also): when one comes into Berk as "undecided", does that mean he can pick any engineering discipline he wants when the time of declaration comes or he still has to fight for a spot and can potentially be bumped out from his chosen major, particularly the so-called "impacted majors"?</p>

<p>It's unforunate he sorta gave NU up without visiting. Its really not much lower than Cornell overall (only couple spots on ranking) and actually better than Cornell in couple specialities such as industrial engineering, mat sci, and probably biomedical. It also has a very unique introductory engineering curriculum that exposes you to real engineering at the very beginning (the 1st quarter).</p>

<p>it depends on where you want to work afterwards. If you have to work for Intel, they pay a very low wage even for Cornell(lol). But both Cornell and Berkeley are hard for Engineering, you need to study a lot to get good grades, so pick one that has less distraction.
If it were my own money, I would go for Berkeley, you can always experience another coast after school, go to work there.</p>

<p>With his desire to get get an MBA and go through Marketing, I think NU would be his natural choice (the B-school is a block away from the engineering school). Northwestern's Business school is ranked #1 by Businessweek and #1 in the world by the Economist. Also NU is most known for it's marketing tract, also #1. In addition, NU's engineering is a pioneer in introducing the practical (applied) side of engineering first in its curriculum which is particularly helpful for undecided majors. NU has one of the top nanotechnology and material science programs which many consider fields which will be very important in the future of engineering. (It also has one of the largest percentages of female engineering students, one third, if that is important). Also Chicago is one of America's most vibrant and beautiful cities and Northwestern has a great lakeside campus. The downside, of course, are the winters. I definitely think if he gets the chance to visit (both Northwestern and Chicago), he should.</p>

<p>Sam Lee, I replied in the other thread. "Engineering Berkeley vs Cornell vs..."</p>

<p>SusieQ2007, less distraction...good point. Please see my comments on above mentioned thread.</p>

<p>Hormesis3, you just made me feel guilty. I should have insisted he and I go to Chicago today. Let's see if we still can go. At least I stll have the tickets. To some of your points, I personally would prefer him going back to school for MBA after a few years of work experience in the real world. It will make learning so much more valuable. I might have underrated NU's Engineering and Business. Thanks for your input. I hope female student ratio is not one of the key factors for him.</p>

<p>Hey RichardDad,</p>

<p>I went to NU so I am biased but then I am just selling you the facts (with a bit of opinion) here. ;)</p>

<ol>
<li><p>NU's quarter system, while kinda hectic, makes double-major quite easy (esp if your son has some AP under the belt) within 4 years. A popular combo is econ and industrial engineering (both ranked in top-10)</p></li>
<li><p>The co-op program at NU is well-established and popular--great way to jump start one's career. Many people graduate with the certificate--a year and a half of work experience upon graduation.</p></li>
</ol>

<p>P.S. A friend actually did 6 quarters of co-op (hence getting the co-op certificate) and graduated with dual-degree in econ/comp engg in 4 years! I learned from another old friend that she's in Harvard biz school now. I know two others, an IE and a ChemE, are now in MIT and Northwestern b-school. I have no idea how they happen to be all in MBA at the same time. It's possible they plan it as they all know each other and came from Hong Kong. :)</p>

<ol>
<li><p>Unique Engineering First curriculum through which you start solving practical engineering problem the first quarter of freshman year instead of just taking bunch of basic sciences/math like in most other schools.
<a href="http://www.mccormick.northwestern.edu/efirst/courses.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.mccormick.northwestern.edu/efirst/courses.html&lt;/a>
GREAT FOR UNDECIDED!</p></li>
<li><p>Other certificate programs like "Certificate in Engineering Design" under IDEA (Leadership in Engineering Design Education) <a href="http://www.idea.northwestern.edu/about.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.idea.northwestern.edu/about.html&lt;/a> and "Business Basic Certificate". <a href="http://www.mccormick.northwestern.edu/undergraduate/businessbasics.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.mccormick.northwestern.edu/undergraduate/businessbasics.html&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;/li>
<li><p>I heard the Ford Motor Company Engineering Design Center is almost completed (or maybe it's completed already). I don't know much about it but you should find more info about it to see how/if an undergrad can take advantage of it. <a href="http://fmcedc.mccormick.northwestern.edu/index.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://fmcedc.mccormick.northwestern.edu/index.html&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;/li>
</ol>