Does Biomedical Engineering School Matter?

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Cg2
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Does Biomedical Engineering School Matter?

Post by Cg2 »

New to the site--hope this isn't a topic that's been done to death. But it seems that this site might have a lot of engineers on it. We are trying to advise my DD (HS senior) about engineering (wife and I are both in medical fields). Looking for honest opinions from hiring managers or experienced
engineers.

How much does where you go matter?
1. DD wants to major in biomedical engineering. She applied to five schools and is now down to two finalists. Her test scores are top 0.5%
a. Flagship state school (27-31 middle ACT range). Accepted into honors program and engineering school. Expected scholarship of $3000 per year. Engineering school in mid-20s by US News (i know, I know..US News...)
b. Local state school (19-26 middle ACT range). Accepted into honors program and engineering school. Expected scholarship of $16,500 per year (and decent shot (⅓) at 100% of tuition, room, board (will know soon). Engineering school not listed by US News (so outside of top 50-60%).

Considerations
1. Hard to ask local engineers whether this matters. The ones who went to the local public school may not want to tell me that it has harmed them. The ones who went to the flagship are probably loathe to criticize the local school.
a. I hear things like “it only matters for your first job”
i. Does your engineering school matter to hiring managers if it is flagship state school versus local state school (not talking MIT here or Johns Hopkins for Biomedical) on the first job? on subsequent jobs? Will the flagship U open doors..and is it worth it.
b. It seems like your first job might determine the rest of your career path but...again...not an engineer.
c. Is it different for biomedical? does that matter more (seems a bit of a different animal to this non-engineer)
2. For my wife any I, we have found that in our medical fields the school barely matters. Almost doesn’t matter at all. But some other professions clearly matter a lot. The top of many professions seem vastly over-represented by top schools (even if the numbers are still small)
3. Time Value of the money in DD’s 529. The 529 has enough to go to state school with no scholarship for ~ 4 ½-5 years.
If she saved $66k - $120K on school that could grow (from 20-65 at 8%) to $2.1MM-3.8MM if i took it out and put it in a Roth for her over 10 years. And we would be willing to do that.

Any advice would be very much appreciated. Now whether my fiercely independent DD will follow that advice is a different story:) :)
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Re: Does Biomedical Engineering School Matter?

Post by mighty72 »

[moved to Personal Finance forum]
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Vulcan
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Re: Does Biomedical Engineering School Matter?

Post by Vulcan »

How much extra academic rigor/prestige is worth is a perennial question, and the less stark is the difference between the choices, the more difficult it is to justify a six digit price difference.

Ultimately, it is the student, not the institution, that matters most. But the institution, and its peer group, matter some, and so do the internship/research opportunities.

As a 99+th percentile student, she will have very few, if any, academic peers at a school where 75% of student body are below 90th percentile. A top 20 engineering program (we're talking Purdue level?) will be a lot more challenging and stimulating. It is, of course, impossible to predict what the payout will be in monetary and non-monetary terms.

Is she still waiting for some RD decisions from reach schools - or did she not apply to any? A STEM girl with 99+th %ile scores has a shot at the very top schools that would be either generous if you qualify for need aid, or easier to justify the price difference for.
If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything. ~Ronald Coase
Millennial
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Re: Does Biomedical Engineering School Matter?

Post by Millennial »

I'm an engineer, but admittedly in a different field. I been hiring manager or on hiring team for >25 entry level engineers. For reference, I went to a well regarded private school for my degrees, but many of my coworkers went to state schools with decent programs. Some went to private schools not known for engineering.

Interview, internships, and extracurriculars have all mattered more, in my experience, than the exact school.
Gropes & Ray
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Re: Does Biomedical Engineering School Matter?

Post by Gropes & Ray »

Close family member of mine has a biomedical engineering degree from a relatively prestigious institution. He found the job prospects and even grad school opportunities to be a lot worse than people with mechanical or electrical engineering degrees.
sapper1371
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Re: Does Biomedical Engineering School Matter?

Post by sapper1371 »

Engineer in another field but agree that it’s probably most important for 1st job, if anything. To be sure there are probably a few jobs that you will only get a shot at coming out of a top private university but by and large most jobs will be open to anyone that went to a flagship school.

And those top jobs are probably only going to the top students in those Ivy League schools. The mid level graduates are not likely to see much benefit from those Ivy League degrees.

All bets are off once you start the first job. I personally work with engineers from Ivy League schools that are of lesser value than some flagship school engineers. If you have the money and they like the school, great, but I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it if not.
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pezblanco
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Re: Does Biomedical Engineering School Matter?

Post by pezblanco »

Gropes & Ray wrote: Mon Feb 24, 2020 6:14 pm Close family member of mine has a biomedical engineering degree from a relatively prestigious institution. He found the job prospects and even grad school opportunities to be a lot worse than people with mechanical or electrical engineering degrees.
I'm sure there will be much good advice given in this thread but this comment is the one you (and your daughter) should pay attention to. Tell her to get a EE (or depending on interests an ME) degree ... take some biomed and biology courses if she wants ... but get the EE degree.
retire14
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Re: Does Biomedical Engineering School Matter?

Post by retire14 »

I would vote for the state flag ship school. Probably will have more opportunities for internship, advising, network, etc. but once she gets her first job, performance is all that matters.
sd323232
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Re: Does Biomedical Engineering School Matter?

Post by sd323232 »

pezblanco wrote: Mon Feb 24, 2020 6:28 pm
Gropes & Ray wrote: Mon Feb 24, 2020 6:14 pm Close family member of mine has a biomedical engineering degree from a relatively prestigious institution. He found the job prospects and even grad school opportunities to be a lot worse than people with mechanical or electrical engineering degrees.
I'm sure there will be much good advice given in this thread but this comment is the one you (and your daughter) should pay attention to. Tell her to get a EE (or depending on interests an ME) degree ... take some biomed and biology courses if she wants ... but get the EE degree.
I agree. EE or ME will be far better choice career wise. But if she is set on biomed, still good. EE and ME will set her up much better though.
stoptothink
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Re: Does Biomedical Engineering School Matter?

Post by stoptothink »

Cg2 wrote: Mon Feb 24, 2020 8:48 am
i. Does your engineering school matter to hiring managers if it is flagship state school versus local state school (not talking MIT here or Johns Hopkins for Biomedical) on the first job? on subsequent jobs? Will the flagship U open doors..and is it worth it.
My +1. My star employee was valedictorian of the engineering and tech college of local U (that I doubt most here have even heard of - she got a full-ride into the honors program), I hired her a few weeks before she graduated, and now (3yrs later) she is headed to Johns Hopkins for her PhD in biomedical engineering in the fall.

It didn't matter to me (hiring director) and it didn't matter to admissions at Johns Hopkins either.
blastoff
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Re: Does Biomedical Engineering School Matter?

Post by blastoff »

Do they want to work as an engineer?
almostretired1965
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Re: Does Biomedical Engineering School Matter?

Post by almostretired1965 »

So one thing you should keep in mind is if she decides that BioMed Eng is not what she wants to pursue, are the alternatives a lot better/more interesting at the Flagship? From what you described, the local state school might not have a big enough cohort of top flight students to ensure that your daughter will be challenged in her courses. I suspect that will be much less likely at the Flagship.

I attended a top-tier school for both undergrad (on financial aid) /grad (on fellowship) and it did affect where I got my first job (since that particular employer only recruited from specific schools). But as others have noted, no once really cares (though they might pretend to be impressed after a drink or two) once you have demonstrated work experience.

There are those who claim that there is a "networking" component and I would imagine in certain professions like high end consulting, legal, investment banking, it may well matter and affect your ability to succeed. But for better or worse, in the places I've been, it really did not make a difference.
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Re: Does Biomedical Engineering School Matter?

Post by Horsefly »

I'm a retired electrical engineer, and my youngest daughter got a Masters in Biomedical Engineering from Cal Poly, which I think is a good school, but not the top tier the OP is talking about.

I agree with what some others have said in this thread, that internships, summer jobs, extra curriculars, and interview skills probably mattered to me as a hiring manager more than what school the applicant went to.

The thing that my kid was able to do at Cal Poly is get lots of opportunities for summer jobs and internships. That may be partly because of being in California, but it seems like there was just lots of companies looking for summer hires. She ended up with three summer jobs in her field, and one six-month co-op / internship. That was a huge deal when it came time for her to graduate, as companies seemed to be falling over themselves to get to her.

Oh and by the way: I've realized as this was all happening that Biomedical Engineering is an incredible field, with tons of opportunity. Good on your kid for choosing it.
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Re: Does Biomedical Engineering School Matter?

Post by Vulcan »

Vulcan wrote: Mon Feb 24, 2020 5:49 pm Is she still waiting for some RD decisions from reach schools - or did she not apply to any? A STEM girl with 99+th %ile scores has a shot at the very top schools that would be either generous if you qualify for need aid, or easier to justify the price difference for.
OP, is your daughter an NMF? (with her scores she should be)
If so, did she apply to any of the schools that offer full ride/full tuition to NMFs? They aren't top tier, but also not unranked ones. Think Bama, UTD, UCF, UK.

It may be too late, but five applications sounds really low in this day and age for a top-flight student that wants to have options.

Our son, also a senior, applied to thirtee, and had two more applications ready to go, but they became irrelevant before he submitted them.
Last edited by Vulcan on Mon Feb 24, 2020 7:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Normchad
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Re: Does Biomedical Engineering School Matter?

Post by Normchad »

I don’t know what the job prospects for somebody with a bachelors degree in biomedical engineering look like. Are there any? Or is an advanced degree needed to get a good job on that field?

I interview and hire lots of recent college grads, but not for that field. Sometimes though I do get people with undergrad in biomedical eng applying for systems engineering type jobs. I don’t honestly know what they’re qualified to do. They’re weaker than MEs for mechanical jobs. They’re weaker that EEs and CEs for systems jobs, etc. so maybe it is just very niche and there aren’t that many jobs relative to the number of graduates.

If an advanced degree is needed, then get the least expensive bachelors you can, and save the money for the masters degree.

Also know there is probably a 50% chance they will change their major in the first two years.
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Re: Does Biomedical Engineering School Matter?

Post by Vulcan »

Normchad wrote: Mon Feb 24, 2020 7:29 pm I don’t know what the job prospects for somebody with a bachelors degree in biomedical engineering look like. Are there any? Or is an advanced degree needed to get a good job on that field?
BME is a graduate program at most institutions.
If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything. ~Ronald Coase
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Re: Does Biomedical Engineering School Matter?

Post by Normchad »

Vulcan wrote: Mon Feb 24, 2020 7:33 pm
Normchad wrote: Mon Feb 24, 2020 7:29 pm I don’t know what the job prospects for somebody with a bachelors degree in biomedical engineering look like. Are there any? Or is an advanced degree needed to get a good job on that field?
BME is a graduate program at most institutions.
That seems appropriate to me. It should be an advanced degree. A quick google reveals quite a few schools (Yale, MIT, BU, etc) offer it as a bachelors degree though. So I imagine those grads would be at a compatible disadvantages the job market if the typical candidates hold advanced degrees.
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Re: Does Biomedical Engineering School Matter?

Post by Vulcan »

Normchad wrote: Mon Feb 24, 2020 7:39 pm
Vulcan wrote: Mon Feb 24, 2020 7:33 pm
Normchad wrote: Mon Feb 24, 2020 7:29 pm I don’t know what the job prospects for somebody with a bachelors degree in biomedical engineering look like. Are there any? Or is an advanced degree needed to get a good job on that field?
BME is a graduate program at most institutions.
That seems appropriate to me. It should be an advanced degree. A quick google reveals quite a few schools (Yale, MIT, BU, etc) offer it as a bachelors degree though. So I imagine those grads would be at a compatible disadvantages the job market if the typical candidates hold advanced degrees.
MIT only offers it as a minor.
They have biological engineering major though.
If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything. ~Ronald Coase
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Re: Does Biomedical Engineering School Matter?

Post by Horsefly »

Normchad wrote: Mon Feb 24, 2020 7:39 pm
Vulcan wrote: Mon Feb 24, 2020 7:33 pm
Normchad wrote: Mon Feb 24, 2020 7:29 pm I don’t know what the job prospects for somebody with a bachelors degree in biomedical engineering look like. Are there any? Or is an advanced degree needed to get a good job on that field?
BME is a graduate program at most institutions.
That seems appropriate to me. It should be an advanced degree. A quick google reveals quite a few schools (Yale, MIT, BU, etc) offer it as a bachelors degree though. So I imagine those grads would be at a compatible disadvantages the job market if the typical candidates hold advanced degrees.
My daughter did get the Masters in BME, but she was in the normal bachelors program until one of her professors suggested she apply for the "4+1" masters program during her Junior year. I think most of the biomedical engineering majors at Cal Poly graduate with a BS degree.
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Re: Does Biomedical Engineering School Matter?

Post by Normchad »

Thank you for the correction Vulcan. I was led astray by the quick google results.
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Re: Does Biomedical Engineering School Matter?

Post by bryansmile »

As the parent of a student from a top engineering school, my only advice is to go to the highest ranked college that your family can afford, that your student likes and got in. She will definitely have better opportunities in internships and co-ops. As sophomores. My son and his friends will make >$30/hr as interns, and most of them got multiple offers.

You might want to check the list of employers that come to campus to recruit, unless you are well connected in the field.
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Re: Does Biomedical Engineering School Matter?

Post by TallBoy29er »

We never know where life will lead us, except to the extent it will most certainly not be in a straight line.

I'm a believer in having an engineering degree as a foundation. I am a chemical engineer and I work in finance, after a long and winding path that would confuse and baffle you. I don't believe your high-achieving daughter's limits will be determined by either of these schools she is choosing between.
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Re: Does Biomedical Engineering School Matter?

Post by adam1712 »

I have a BS and PhD in BME. It's impossible to know without knowing more about the two programs and your daughter. BME is a very diverse major and career path. There's a joke that if you tell somebody you are majoring in BME, they ask what type.

As has already been alluded to, if you really want to be a classic engineer, you want to make sure you are choosing and focusing on either electrical, mechanical, or chemical engineering. A lot of BME programs have different tracks. Or else a double major or simply majoring in one of the classic engineering degrees should be strongly considered. And many BME programs have a strong lean to either Mech, EE, or Chem with weaker in the other areas. Otherwise, most of my classmates with a BME undergrad went into more soft engineering roles: think device rep in a medical setting, handling FDA compliance issues, consulting, being the team member with biology knowledge, etc. In some situations the starting pay might not be as good but there is also strong potential for people with good people skills. Then BME programs typically have some of the highest percentages of any engineering major that go to grad school, medical school, or other professional school.

I'd strongly recommend finding out what the recent placement history looks like at the schools. How many grad student/med school/industry? Then what type of industry jobs. It seems like a lot of engineering companies recruit at a very small number of schools and I think this is even more common for BMEs. I'd say where you goes matters but it's not a simple prestige thing, the programs could be training people for very different careers.
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Re: Does Biomedical Engineering School Matter?

Post by sapper1371 »

bryansmile wrote: Mon Feb 24, 2020 7:58 pm As the parent of a student from a top engineering school, my only advice is to go to the highest ranked college that your family can afford, that your student likes and got in. She will definitely have better opportunities in internships and co-ops. As sophomores. My son and his friends will make >$30/hr as interns, and most of them got multiple offers
If you footed that bill, you probably need to tell yourself that to sleep at night but I don’t think it’s really true. My megacorp pays interns/co-ops in that same neighborhood that were recruited from local flagship schools so it’s not too telling. Agree about checking which companies come to recruit but you will find very prestigious companies recruiting from flagship schools.

If your kid is something special they will rise to the top of industry with or without that Ivy League degree IMO.
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Re: Does Biomedical Engineering School Matter?

Post by Normchad »

I think it varies by degree field. Right now, for CE, EE, and CS, it really doesn't matter where you go to school. The job market is hot, and people will pay.

The FAANG companies hit the top schools hard, but they are also hiring from your local directional universities. And don't underestimate the impact that staffing companies are having on the hiring process.

I imagine for other things, like ME or Aero, it is more important to be at a really good school that will get recruited by those kinds of companies.
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Re: Does Biomedical Engineering School Matter?

Post by bryansmile »

sapper1371 wrote: Mon Feb 24, 2020 8:21 pm
bryansmile wrote: Mon Feb 24, 2020 7:58 pm As the parent of a student from a top engineering school, my only advice is to go to the highest ranked college that your family can afford, that your student likes and got in. She will definitely have better opportunities in internships and co-ops. As sophomores. My son and his friends will make >$30/hr as interns, and most of them got multiple offers
If you footed that bill, you probably need to tell yourself that to sleep at night but I don’t think it’s really true. My megacorp pays interns/co-ops in that same neighborhood that were recruited from local flagship schools so it’s not too telling. Agree about checking which companies come to recruit but you will find very prestigious companies recruiting from flagship schools.

If your kid is something special they will rise to the top of industry with or without that Ivy League degree IMO.
You are making a lot of assumptions, which are mostly not true.
chalet
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Re: Does Biomedical Engineering School Matter?

Post by chalet »

my standard advice is ME, EE, CE


in this case CE does not fit, so it's

BS in Mechanical

or

BS in Electrical.


get concentration in biomed.
sapper1371
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Re: Does Biomedical Engineering School Matter?

Post by sapper1371 »

bryansmile wrote: Mon Feb 24, 2020 8:31 pm You are making a lot of assumptions, which are mostly not true.
Not trying to offend you, just stating that IMO as a career engineer at a megacorp engineering firm, your advice is seriously flawed.
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Vulcan
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Re: Does Biomedical Engineering School Matter?

Post by Vulcan »

sapper1371 wrote: Mon Feb 24, 2020 9:08 pm
bryansmile wrote: Mon Feb 24, 2020 8:31 pm You are making a lot of assumptions, which are mostly not true.
Not trying to offend you, just stating that IMO as a career engineer at a megacorp engineering firm, your advice is seriously flawed.
To me, the single most important question in comparing colleges is not one about internships or salaries (those statistics are pretty meaningless for a particular individual), it is the one which is the easiest to answer: who will my child be in class with.
If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything. ~Ronald Coase
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Re: Does Biomedical Engineering School Matter?

Post by KlangFool »

Gropes & Ray wrote: Mon Feb 24, 2020 6:14 pm Close family member of mine has a biomedical engineering degree from a relatively prestigious institution. He found the job prospects and even grad school opportunities to be a lot worse than people with mechanical or electrical engineering degrees.
+1,000.

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Re: Does Biomedical Engineering School Matter?

Post by e5116 »

I majored in BME undergrad at a school consistently top 10 in rankings and top 3 for the department. Got decent amount of (need-based) financial aid. Never was an engineer after graduating though. That was probably the benefit of going to a top school - options outside of engineering after graduating. Everyone thinks it's for them when they start and I enjoyed studying it, but realized there were other things I wanted to pursue more. But engineering teaches you how to think.

Only about 1/3 of BMEs from the University I studied at become engineers/go to engineering grad school. Another third go to med school. Last third goes into other careers, with consulting and technology gigs being particularly popular along with business-type careers. It's a pretty broad curriculum.
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Re: Does Biomedical Engineering School Matter?

Post by sawhorse »

If you're willing to share, what are the two schools? In some states, the quality gap between the flagship state school and a top non-flagship state school is small. For example, the University of Colorado is the flagship state school and Colorado State is not considered as prestigious, but Colorado State is still a really good school and in some departments may be better than the University of Colorado. In other states, however, the quality gap is huge.
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Re: Does Biomedical Engineering School Matter?

Post by CoastalWinds »

Normchad wrote: Mon Feb 24, 2020 7:29 pm If an advanced degree is needed, then get the least expensive bachelors you can, and save the money for the masters degree.
This is horrible advice. For engineering, advanced degrees are covered in full with RA/TA positions plus stipends.

OP should focus on getting the best education possible (within reasonable costs relative to their budget) for whatever field of engineering the DD is set on.
Last edited by CoastalWinds on Mon Feb 24, 2020 11:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Normchad
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Re: Does Biomedical Engineering School Matter?

Post by Normchad »

According to this, the majority of students getting a masters degree in biomedical engineering from Brown are self funded. And it’s quite expensive. https://www.brown.edu/academics/biomedi ... rs-program

It doesn’t appear that all advanced engineering degrees are free or provide stipends and TA/RA support.

Unless you have unlimited funds, recommend spending it on the terminal degree rather than the undergrad. In my experience as a professional engineer, great engineers can come from anywhere.
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Re: Does Biomedical Engineering School Matter?

Post by CoastalWinds »

Normchad wrote: Mon Feb 24, 2020 11:32 pm According to this, the majority of students getting a masters degree in biomedical engineering from Brown are self funded. And it’s quite expensive. https://www.brown.edu/academics/biomedi ... rs-program

It doesn’t appear that all advanced engineering degrees are free or provide stipends and TA/RA support.

Unless you have unlimited funds, recommend spending it on the terminal degree rather than the undergrad. In my experience as a professional engineer, great engineers can come from anywhere.
You’ve cherry picked one private school, one of the most $$$ in the country. That is not representative.

Speaking from direct experience...

Your odds of getting an RA/TA/stipend are significantly better if you go to a higher-tier school. It is a huge weighting factor. If you have no intent of getting an advanced degree, then your approach could be ok.

I can tell you that everyone in my engineering MS/PhD program at a large state school went to a top tier school for undergrad and received a full RA/TA/stipend.

I don’t disagree that great engineers can’t come from anywhere. It’s all about the drive and determination of the individual. But if one has significant intrinsic drive (usually those are the same people who want to get an advanced degree), then a top tier school will provide more opportunities, challenge, and competition that will push their minds further.
sawhorse
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Re: Does Biomedical Engineering School Matter?

Post by sawhorse »

CoastalWinds wrote: Mon Feb 24, 2020 11:08 pm
Normchad wrote: Mon Feb 24, 2020 7:29 pm If an advanced degree is needed, then get the least expensive bachelors you can, and save the money for the masters degree.
This is horrible advice. For engineering, advanced degrees are covered in full with RA/TA positions plus stipends.

OP should focus on getting the best education possible (within reasonable costs relative to their budget) for whatever field of engineering the DD is set on.
For the programs I'm familiar with, PhD programs are covered in full, but terminal masters programs are not.
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Re: Does Biomedical Engineering School Matter?

Post by CoastalWinds »

sawhorse wrote: Tue Feb 25, 2020 12:05 am
CoastalWinds wrote: Mon Feb 24, 2020 11:08 pm
Normchad wrote: Mon Feb 24, 2020 7:29 pm If an advanced degree is needed, then get the least expensive bachelors you can, and save the money for the masters degree.
This is horrible advice. For engineering, advanced degrees are covered in full with RA/TA positions plus stipends.

OP should focus on getting the best education possible (within reasonable costs relative to their budget) for whatever field of engineering the DD is set on.
For the programs I'm familiar with, PhD programs are covered in full, but terminal masters programs are not.
Agreed. That is why you always apply for the PhD. You have the option of “downgrading” it to a masters in the first year. The funding will remain.
pennywise
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Re: Does Biomedical Engineering School Matter?

Post by pennywise »

pezblanco wrote: Mon Feb 24, 2020 6:28 pm
Gropes & Ray wrote: Mon Feb 24, 2020 6:14 pm Close family member of mine has a biomedical engineering degree from a relatively prestigious institution. He found the job prospects and even grad school opportunities to be a lot worse than people with mechanical or electrical engineering degrees.
I'm sure there will be much good advice given in this thread but this comment is the one you (and your daughter) should pay attention to. Tell her to get a EE (or depending on interests an ME) degree ... take some biomed and biology courses if she wants ... but get the EE degree.
Commenting here as a former career advisor at an engineering school (private research institution, accredited BME program though not top ranked). BME majors do have a surprisingly tough time getting that first career opportunity and the major is a detriment in most cases, not a positive.

Biomedical engineering is a relatively new stand-alone undergrad degree and a student aiming for a medical career who also has a bent toward mechanical or electrical is usually going to be better positioned by doing that major while concentrating electives and internships in whatever medical area appeals.

Recruiters still tend to look at a mech-e, an electrical or even in industrial engineer grad as moldable clay in a biomedical setting....and they are. Whereas the biomedical engineer doesn't have the depth to go after a straight up ME/EE/IE option if that becomes necessary.
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Re: Does Biomedical Engineering School Matter?

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

My advisor in my BSEE program at an engineering focused private New England college was a PhD in Biomed. He told me that his Biomed degree was a EE with some biology courses. I suppose you could do the same with mechanical engineering courses.

My son is at that same school and they publish all kinds of statistics about their graduates. We looked up, for comparison Biomed and Civil (what he is). Average starting salary of a Biomed BS is $60k. Civil $61.2k. For a Masters in Biomed, it goes up a lot to $75k. By comparison, BS in computer science is $80k. EE, ME and Chem are in between. This school has a huge, new biomed complex (and it is not a big school to begin with).
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smackboy1
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Re: Does Biomedical Engineering School Matter?

Post by smackboy1 »

I am not an engineer but come from a family of engineers. I also studied a few years of biomedical engineering in college before abandoning it for another major. Your daughter is that the start line of a marathon. What are her possible career plans? Only having a BE level degree is going to be limiting for higher level jobs and management in engineering, which typically require ME level degree or higher. Or is there a possibility for future lateral move to MD, MBA, JD, etc.? Engineering is a great background for many non-engineering careers. So her undergrad school is just the first step of many. As other people have pointed out biomedical engineering is a relatively new field and to be perfectly honest, it's really just traditional engineering with an extra helping of biology thrown in. At the undergrad level she will likely be in all the same basic, math, science, comp sci, mech, EE, chem classes as all the other engineering undergrads. For job hunting, it's much simpler to teach a mech, EE, chem engineer how to do a biomed job than the other way around.
Disclaimer: nothing written here should be taken as legal advice, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.
knightrider
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Re: Does Biomedical Engineering School Matter?

Post by knightrider »

One thing I can say is that engineers at the top schools care very little about engineering! They are there because it looks good on their resume. Their objective is jobs on Wall Street. At least that was my experience 20+ years ago.. I heard now things are a little different, with tech being the sought after first job.. Anyways just something to think about..
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MaryO
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Re: Does Biomedical Engineering School Matter?

Post by MaryO »

bryansmile wrote: Mon Feb 24, 2020 8:31 pm
sapper1371 wrote: Mon Feb 24, 2020 8:21 pm
bryansmile wrote: Mon Feb 24, 2020 7:58 pm As the parent of a student from a top engineering school, my only advice is to go to the highest ranked college that your family can afford, that your student likes and got in. She will definitely have better opportunities in internships and co-ops. As sophomores. My son and his friends will make >$30/hr as interns, and most of them got multiple offers
If you footed that bill, you probably need to tell yourself that to sleep at night but I don’t think it’s really true. My megacorp pays interns/co-ops in that same neighborhood that were recruited from local flagship schools so it’s not too telling. Agree about checking which companies come to recruit but you will find very prestigious companies recruiting from flagship schools.

If your kid is something special they will rise to the top of industry with or without that Ivy League degree IMO.
You are making a lot of assumptions, which are mostly not true.
I believe recruitment is the key. The OP has to look at the companies who recruit at both colleges. And also determine if the school is near desirable megacorps. Sure megacorps will hire kids from less prestigious local schools. But the key is local. They're not sending recruitment teams to lower tiered schools all across the county. If they've found the pickings at top schools are good, and they're satisfying their recruitment goals by concentrating there, they will continue to do so. Recruitment is expensive. Bang for the buck is important.

But local schools often have great career options. A good example is NJIT, Rutgers, Stevens Tech here in NJ. They're not top 20 engineering schools, but they are good, solid programs that attract super bright kids who can attend for reasonable costs, due to in-state tuition at the state schools & scholarship $ at all three. The tech sectors nearby are happy to hire from these schools. In fact, they have established many industrial/educational partnerships with them, and this provides a ton of co-op and internship opportunities that make a kid attractive. Yale and MIT and Stanford may be fancier names, but those kids aren't getting the local co-ops that these NJ kids are.

The OP already has the tuition saved. That's a much different position than most families are finding themselves in. Personally, I'd pick the flagship because its program will have a bigger cohort of top students and also alternative majors if she starts doubting her choice. I can't speak to the value of the biomedical major vs. plain old ME. My husband is an ME who has worked his entire career in the biomed field, but I don't think BME degrees were common at all back in the day. The preference for BME vs. ME needs to be researched before she locks in on that.
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threebuns
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Re: Does Biomedical Engineering School Matter?

Post by threebuns »

I work in BME in the Midwest (10 yrs).

I hire BMEs all the time from top schools and bottom schools. Though anecdotal, I generally have had more success with the kids coming from non-top schools (new hires). Less ego and entitlement. Go to the best school you can afford. There are good and bad kids at all schools. I'm always more interested in your willingness to learn and try rather than where your degree came from.

I agree with many of the others: the ME, EE, CE degrees are the way to go. Get a masters in BME.
jambadoc
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Re: Does Biomedical Engineering School Matter?

Post by jambadoc »

I went to a premier biomedical engineering undergraduate school (tops at the time). I can't speak on any other school, but my undergrad engineering school experience was fabulous. I had significant research experience and ended up working for NASA for a time in physiologic zero gravity research. I, and a lot of my peers as was mentioned above, ended up going to medical school. Biomedical engineering, I would argue, probably gives you the best background and would make you a highly competitive applicant to medical school if that was even a possibility in the future. This may have changed in the last 20 years, but when I went to school there was a significant drop off between the top schools (say top 20 or 25) in terms of research funding and opportunities and those below this level. If med school would even be a possibility, I would say generally speaking the better quality school would be a sound investment.
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2pedals
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Re: Does Biomedical Engineering School Matter?

Post by 2pedals »

knightrider wrote: Tue Feb 25, 2020 10:29 am One thing I can say is that engineers at the top schools care very little about engineering! They are there because it looks good on their resume. Their objective is jobs on Wall Street. At least that was my experience 20+ years ago.. I heard now things are a little different, with tech being the sought after first job.. Anyways just something to think about..
Huh, I went to a top school in engineering in the early 80's. The students were very complex individuals. I didn't get a monolithic answer from them about career aspirations.
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Cg2
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Re: Does Biomedical Engineering School Matter?

Post by Cg2 »

Vulcan wrote: Mon Feb 24, 2020 5:49 pm How much extra academic rigor/prestige is worth is a perennial question, and the less stark is the difference between the choices, the more difficult it is to justify a six digit price difference.

Ultimately, it is the student, not the institution, that matters most. But the institution, and its peer group, matter some, and so do the internship/research opportunities.

As a 99+th percentile student, she will have very few, if any, academic peers at a school where 75% of student body are below 90th percentile. A top 20 engineering program (we're talking Purdue level?) will be a lot more challenging and stimulating. It is, of course, impossible to predict what the payout will be in monetary and non-monetary terms.

Is she still waiting for some RD decisions from reach schools - or did she not apply to any? A STEM girl with 99+th %ile scores has a shot at the very top schools that would be either generous if you qualify for need aid, or easier to justify the price difference for.
She applied to 5 schools but no reach schools. She was accepted to the honors programs of all (five publics 2 out of state). We don't qualify for any need based aid at any schools I agree with you about the student making her own opportunities. I also think about her being a biggish fish in a smallish pond. Might be good because she willfully do well might be bad because she won't be forced to work hard
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Cg2
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Re: Does Biomedical Engineering School Matter?

Post by Cg2 »

Millennial wrote: Mon Feb 24, 2020 5:54 pm I'm an engineer, but admittedly in a different field. I been hiring manager or on hiring team for >25 entry level engineers. For reference, I went to a well regarded private school for my degrees, but many of my coworkers went to state schools with decent programs. Some went to private schools not known for engineering.

Interview, internships, and extracurriculars have all mattered more, in my experience, than the exact school.
Thank you for your thoughts!
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Cg2
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Re: Does Biomedical Engineering School Matter?

Post by Cg2 »

Gropes & Ray wrote: Mon Feb 24, 2020 6:14 pm Close family member of mine has a biomedical engineering degree from a relatively prestigious institution. He found the job prospects and even grad school opportunities to be a lot worse than people with mechanical or electrical engineering degrees.
Good to know. I've heard similar concerns. She is also considering medicine after the biomedical undergrad.
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Cg2
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Re: Does Biomedical Engineering School Matter?

Post by Cg2 »

blastoff wrote: Mon Feb 24, 2020 6:51 pm Do they want to work as an engineer?
Not to be cute but I believe so. May be a stepping stone to med school but that doesn't seem a definite plan. Just a possibility.
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Cg2
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Re: Does Biomedical Engineering School Matter?

Post by Cg2 »

pezblanco wrote: Mon Feb 24, 2020 6:28 pm
Gropes & Ray wrote: Mon Feb 24, 2020 6:14 pm Close family member of mine has a biomedical engineering degree from a relatively prestigious institution. He found the job prospects and even grad school opportunities to be a lot worse than people with mechanical or electrical engineering degrees.
I'm sure there will be much good advice given in this thread but this comment is the one you (and your daughter) should pay attention to. Tell her to get a EE (or depending on interests an ME) degree ... take some biomed and biology courses if she wants ... but get the EE degree.
Thank you. My son is a first year student at another state's flagship school. He is planning on environmental engineering. Or civil with an Env focus. His passion is the environment (or somewhere to "make a difference"). Would you similarly think civil with Env classes would be better than Env as a major?
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