College Advice Needed

adamtortellini's picture
Rank: Chimp | 4

First, I hope I am posting this in the correct section. Anyhow, onto the main topic of this post. In the next 4-6 months, I will have to send in my college applications. As of now, I am planning on getting a bachelor's in some engineering field, but exactly what specialty is currently undecided. So this leads me to my first question: which engineering specialty offers the best opportunities in consulting? And secondly which colleges should I apply to? I live in Texas, and currently Texas A&M is my one, true "safety" school. I have a 30 ACT, so schools like University of Texas and Georgia Tech are definitely possible contenders, but what others should I try applying to (please don't suggest any Ivies/Stanford/MIT because lets be real, those are out of my reach at this point due to grades/test scores)?

Many thanks for any advice

Comments (24)

Mar 27, 2014

Someone get this underaged high schooler a beer.

Go in-state if you can or get merit money. If you can do a dual degree with McCombs and Engineering that'd be sick. Also I think you can do a dual degree between Georgia Tech and Emory. You may also want to consider Michigan and other Big Ten schools with top engineering programs.

Robert Clayton Dean: What is happening?
Brill: I blew up the building.
Robert Clayton Dean: Why?
Brill: Because you made a phone call.

Mar 27, 2014

UT-Austin is a great school--go there if you get in, unless you get some good $$$ to go private or out-of-state (and assuming money is of some concern).

As for engineering, I have already heard mechanical is great major because it joins many disciplines from a variety of fields within engineering. Like many engineering degrees, it also heavily incorporates problem-solving and process discipline into its curriculum, both great skills for consulting.

Just curious, is there a particular reason why engineering?

Mar 28, 2014

I'd second dual-degrees mentioned.

And sorry for posting something of zero value, but this is for future readers: although, I understand it might be too late for you to switch to econ/business. doing engineering for consulting is like doing ballet for opera.

Mar 28, 2014
greymn:

I'd second dual-degrees mentioned.

And sorry for posting something of zero value, but this is for future readers: although, I understand it might be too late for you to switch to econ/business. doing engineering for consulting is like doing ballet for opera.

I don't think you know what you're talking about. There are a ton of engineering majors in strategy consulting across MBB. It's probably one of the most common majors you see besides business.

While business major is an easier sell, engineering is a no brainer if you enjoy the subject and aren't completely wedded to businesses as a career (since you can have a great career as an engineer).

Mar 28, 2014

Seconded. Engineering disciplines are well sought after by MBB, plus if you choose to not become a consultant, engineers of all sorts typically face great job prospects and excellent starting salaries.

Mar 29, 2014

I'm an MBB consultant myself, so I kind of know what I'm talking about.
The fact that there're a ton of engineering majors across MBB does not at all mean engineering is a good choice to do management consulting (logic 101 here). There might be billions other reasons why this is so, and some of them kind of obvious.
But MBB promote going for an MBA (and not some engineering programs) because it's actually useful for a consultant to know what's taught at business schools. Going into MBB straight after undergrad already knowing some of what's taught at MBA programs gives you an advantage over people with engineering degrees all other things equal.
I mean think about it, how can stuff absolutely unrelated to your future job be as or more useful for it than stuff directly touching upon what you're gonna do on said job? It makes zero sense. Or ask any consultant with a business major, if there was any use of what he or she studied.

I have nothing against engineering degrees, because as mentioned above, they let you do both business and engineering. Also apparently OP would be much much better of doing an engineering degree.

Mar 28, 2014

As for why engineering... I have high SAT and ACT math scores but lower scores in every other categories and I excel in math/physics classes (because they actually make sense, unlike i.e. mythology or poetry). And my dad thinks that engineering is broad enough to really do anything (think you can do engineering or anything else, but an econ major can't do engineering) and engineering jobs will always be available if there was some crisis in the job market, etc.

Mar 28, 2014

As a student at UT Austin who will be joining MBB in September, I believe I am the right person to answer your questions haha.

You can do either business or engineering at UT and have an equal chance of getting recruited into MBB. Personally, I am an engineering student. Yes, I was at a slight disadvantage because I didn't learn about case study stuff in class, but it wasn't anything I couldn't learn on my own in a month. MBB views UT business and engineering students equally. I wouldn't bother doing a dual degree because it's too much work/time/effort for the same result.

Feel free to message me if you have more specific questions about UT and MBB recruiting there.

Mar 28, 2014

Regarding the engineering discipline - when I recruited for MBB, I did not find it had a significant impact for consulting recruiting based on looking at peers with different engineering degrees. Of course this is anecdotal and maybe they did give more weight to Chem E's than ME's, but it is not something that came up in interviews. But, if it was me and I could redo my engineering degree, I think I would have focused on EE instead. These days with tech (gadgets, medical devices, general consumer electronics) going the direction it is, EE seems to be in far greater demand. This would probably give you a more diverse choice of careers after undergraduate should you not become a consultant.

For schools, I'd highly recommend Georgia Tech (not that I'm an alumnus). It is a fantastic engineering school and it is a target school for just about all of the top companies that an engineer would want to recruit with. You say that MIT/Ivies/Stanford is out of reach now, and they may be, but if you plan to continue your education afterwards, GT is a excellent springboard to that next level. A number of the other fellows in my MIT program are - not to brag, but to inform about GT feeding into MIT. UT is also a good choice and haves significant representation on campus.

Mar 30, 2014

UT Austin is the clear winner here. TBH you'd have to have a three inch hole in your head to pick many of the more expensive liberal arts schools for engineering over UT, which outranks most of them.

Mar 31, 2014

You sound set on engineering and for valid reasons (e.g. you mentioned broad applicability and job security) so I don't want to dissuade you from engineering. If you're smart, you'll get into a top consulting firm whether you major in engineering or business. That being said, you may want to consider complimenting your engineering major with at least a minor in finance or another business discipline. This will make a lot of the work you do in consulting feel a lot more natural and intuitive, in my opinion. The quantitative rigor from engineering is fantastic, but a career in consulting will often more closely reflect what you learn in business than engineering.

Lastly, do you know what kind of consulting you're interested in? If you do, it can (potentially) make a big difference which major you choose. For example, if you want to work in private equity advisory or transaction advisory services, you'll want an accounting / finance background. If you want to go into IT consulting or implementation, engineering might be preferable (although not required).

Mar 31, 2014

As for which major, if you're set on engineering, another route to consider is industrial engineering. good feeder for McKinsey ops practice, for instance, and the stuff you study may be useful for some MBB operations work.

and industrial engineering is easier than other engineering, which leaves time for other collegiate extracurriculars (e.g., beer, parties etc.)

Mar 31, 2014

First off, A&M isn't a safety school (that would be Texas Tech). Don't discount A&M: their engineering program is on par with UT, and they have an incredibly strong alumni network, many of whom work at MBB. Plus, now you get SEC football.

Mar 31, 2014
the_stig:

First off, A&M isn't a safety school (that would be Texas Tech). Don't discount A&M: their engineering program is on par with UT, and they have an incredibly strong alumni network, many of whom work at MBB. Plus, now you get SEC football.

As a Longhorn, of course I love to make fun of A&M, but I'm serious when I say that at least in Houston, I have not met anyone at any of the three MBB firms who graduated from A&M.

Mar 31, 2014
NoName:
the_stig:

First off, A&M isn't a safety school (that would be Texas Tech). Don't discount A&M: their engineering program is on par with UT, and they have an incredibly strong alumni network, many of whom work at MBB. Plus, now you get SEC football.

As a Longhorn, of course I love to make fun of A&M, but I'm serious when I say that at least in Houston, I have not met anyone at any of the three MBB firms who graduated from A&M.

They were probably just avoiding you because you're a Longhorn. This is also a ridiculous inference.

There are plenty of Aggies at MBB (I know a few here in NYC), and plenty who are alumni of the firms.

As big as the rivalry is between the two schools, they're both a great academic institutions (as an Aggie, this is painful to admit), and both can get you into MBB.

Mar 31, 2014

I'm going to put in a plug for UT Engineering. I can't speak personally about how easy it is to get MBB offers from a UT Engineering background, because that is something I am only just starting to head down, but I do find it to be a wonderful, and challenging, environment. And it gives you a lot of good opportunities if Consulting does not work out.

Mar 31, 2014

I would honestly rate the intellect of folks in the engineering department at UT Austin on par with many elite private schools.

If you were from Georgia, I'd be telling you to go to Georgia Tech. Georgia Tech is also an amazing school, but it's not worth $100K more than UT for out-of-state tuition.

UT also has an excellent accounting program. Like #1 or #2 in the country, tied with Wharton in US News excellent accounting program. (To be fair, the rankings are based more on CPA pass rates and accounting firm placements than how many people wind up on Wall Street) It's a decent school overall- it deserves a top 50 US News ranking- but like most state schools, it especially shines in Engineering and Business.

Texas A&M has a perfectly good reputation too, but people who know Engineering and know you want to study Engineering would say it's *probably* between Georgia Tech and UT Austin, and the differences between the two schools are so subtle that it's not worth paying out of state for whether you live in Georgia or Texas.

Texas A&M also just isn't quite as well known on Wall Street, if that's what you're going for. If you asked someone from Wall Street whether USC or Berkeley was the flagship state school for California, they'd say Berkeley. If you asked someone from Wall Street whether it was UT or Texas A&M, they'd say UT Austin. UT Austin has a big MBA program- big enough to have a name attached to it- and banks do recruit there. So UT Austin has a bit of an advantage.

Again, it's always nuanced especially when you're posting in a thread with alumns from both programs, and obviously Texas A&M seems to be doing well with Texas-based MBB recruiting. But you came to WSO to ask this question, and from a Wall Street perspective, UT offers the better recruiting outcomes. From an engineering perspective, UT Austin truly has one of the best engineering programs in the country. If you look at the research getting produced there, the US News ranking, or the quality and placements of the graduates, it really does look more like an elite target school.

Now, getting into their engineering program doesn't mean that you'll graduate from it, but if you do well there, UT Austin will get you as far in engineering as a Cornell, Dartmouth, or Princeton engineer would get.

Mar 31, 2014

^ Yeahhh buddy

Apr 2, 2014
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