The Student Room Group

What Uni to pick for Mech Eng

Universities:
Bath
Bristol
University of Manchester
University of Southampton
UCL (University College London)

I’m just wondering which of these universities would be best for mechanical engineering.
I’m looking for the best in terms of education, facilities and a bit of reputation. Please tell me the top 3 in order
Reply 1
What do you want to do afterwards? That is the thing that should be determining which course you do. But failing that go and visit these places. And discount reputation. No one cares where you went. They care more that the skills and knowledge you have hit their requirements.

For me, I would choose the one that offers a sandwich year because that year in industry is worth way more than any form of standard degree or reputation. I'll take someone from a new uni no one has heard of with a year in industry over a Cambridge grad any day. And I'll take an fresh faced keen 18 year old before a grad too.
Original post by hotpud
What do you want to do afterwards? That is the thing that should be determining which course you do. But failing that go and visit these places. And discount reputation. No one cares where you went. They care more that the skills and knowledge you have hit their requirements.
For me, I would choose the one that offers a sandwich year because that year in industry is worth way more than any form of standard degree or reputation. I'll take someone from a new uni no one has heard of with a year in industry over a Cambridge grad any day. And I'll take an fresh faced keen 18 year old before a grad too.
Whilst industrial experience is very important, I certainly wouldn’t recommend picking any course with a YINI over Cambridge (even though Cambridge doesn’t formally have a placement program if you wanted to pause studies for 12 months or do 2/3 summer internships it’s still possible for Cam students to get experience during there studies), and amongst the most competitive engineering graduate programs with the highest starting salaries between £35-£50k (i.e. energy & consultancy Cambridge grads are very well represented in industry).

OP:
All the universities are very similar reputation wise, and will have comparable exit prospects, companies do recruit individuals not unis.

Id say Bristol, Bath & Soton are where id recommend based on offering a great university experience and having well respected engineering faculties.
Reply 3
Original post by mnot
Whilst industrial experience is very important, I certainly wouldn’t recommend picking any course with a YINI over Cambridge (even though Cambridge doesn’t formally have a placement program if you wanted to pause studies for 12 months or do 2/3 summer internships it’s still possible for Cam students to get experience during there studies), and amongst the most competitive engineering graduate programs with the highest starting salaries between £35-£50k (i.e. energy & consultancy Cambridge grads are very well represented in industry).

OP:
All the universities are very similar reputation wise, and will have comparable exit prospects, companies do recruit individuals not unis.
Id say Bristol, Bath & Soton are where id recommend based on offering a great university experience and having well respected engineering faculties.

Is that based on your personal experience of having recruited graduates into industry? Having recruited graduates myself, I find the university they studied at is a very poor indicator of how good they will be in the job. I have recruited non-graduates who were vastly more skilled up for the job than some Cambridge 1st class honours grads.

And as anyone who has looked at job adverts will testify, pretty much every job including graduate roles requires at least 1 or two years of relevant experience. I think we need to stop spoon feeding undergraduates the lie that the university you study at somehow counts for something. Would you employ someone because they lived in one town over another because that is effectively what we are pretending going to a "good" university will do.

Only last weekend I was talking to an accountant who hires grads. He much prefers 18 year old college leavers over graduates. His rationale is that grads feel they deserve a job and have their heads full of junk they learned at university which doesn't quite match the way the real world operates. Take a school leaver and you can train the from scratch plus he notes they are generally much more humble, hard working and keen to learn.

Take the gap year OP. After 5 years, the degree counts for pretty much nothing in a vocational job like engineering.
Original post by hotpud
Is that based on your personal experience of having recruited graduates into industry? Having recruited graduates myself, I find the university they studied at is a very poor indicator of how good they will be in the job. I have recruited non-graduates who were vastly more skilled up for the job than some Cambridge 1st class honours grads.
And as anyone who has looked at job adverts will testify, pretty much every job including graduate roles requires at least 1 or two years of relevant experience. I think we need to stop spoon feeding undergraduates the lie that the university you study at somehow counts for something. Would you employ someone because they lived in one town over another because that is effectively what we are pretending going to a "good" university will do.
Only last weekend I was talking to an accountant who hires grads. He much prefers 18 year old college leavers over graduates. His rationale is that grads feel they deserve a job and have their heads full of junk they learned at university which doesn't quite match the way the real world operates. Take a school leaver and you can train the from scratch plus he notes they are generally much more humble, hard working and keen to learn.
Take the gap year OP. After 5 years, the degree counts for pretty much nothing in a vocational job like engineering.

I work in industry, sit on one of the major advisory boards associated with an engineering council member and regularly attend the major conferences and panels discussing UK engineering industry. As such im fortunate to have great visibility of UK engineering sector.

Experience is definitely one of the most important things (alongside cultural compatibility, communication, technical skills and the most important factor: those who can demonstrate tangible impact from projects wether the project was on an internship or dissertation or summer research project or on a volunteer position) but what was implied was that a year in industry from a new uni “no one has heard of” is worth more than a Cambridge engineering degree (which I disagree with).

University name on the whole is not important but amongst the highest paying (and most prestigious engineering employers) you regularly see grads from Bristol, Imperial, Oxbridge, Bath, Soton, Loughborough, Strathclyde, Nottingham, Sheffield, leeds… you do get some from other institutions but no where near the same volume.

Amongst average engineering grad schemes in the £29k-£34k pay bracket you do get greater diversity but at the ones offering higher compensation the unis I listed above typically are where they go… Not providing a hypothesis as to why, but it is what I see.
Reply 5
Original post by mnot
I work in industry, sit on one of the major advisory boards associated with an engineering council member and regularly attend the major conferences and panels discussing UK engineering industry. As such im fortunate to have great visibility of UK engineering sector.
Experience is definitely one of the most important things (alongside cultural compatibility, communication, technical skills and the most important factor: those who can demonstrate tangible impact from projects wether the project was on an internship or dissertation or summer research project or on a volunteer position) but what was implied was that a year in industry from a new uni “no one has heard of” is worth more than a Cambridge engineering degree (which I disagree with).
University name on the whole is not important but amongst the highest paying (and most prestigious engineering employers) you regularly see grads from Bristol, Imperial, Oxbridge, Bath, Soton, Loughborough, Strathclyde, Nottingham, Sheffield, leeds… you do get some from other institutions but no where near the same volume.
Amongst average engineering grad schemes in the £29k-£34k pay bracket you do get greater diversity but at the ones offering higher compensation the unis I listed above typically are where they go… Not providing a hypothesis as to why, but it is what I see.


Thank you for this information
Reply 6
Original post by hotpud
What do you want to do afterwards? That is the thing that should be determining which course you do. But failing that go and visit these places. And discount reputation. No one cares where you went. They care more that the skills and knowledge you have hit their requirements.
For me, I would choose the one that offers a sandwich year because that year in industry is worth way more than any form of standard degree or reputation. I'll take someone from a new uni no one has heard of with a year in industry over a Cambridge grad any day. And I'll take an fresh faced keen 18 year old before a grad too.


Thank you for this information
Reply 7
Original post by mnot
I work in industry, sit on one of the major advisory boards associated with an engineering council member and regularly attend the major conferences and panels discussing UK engineering industry. As such im fortunate to have great visibility of UK engineering sector.
Experience is definitely one of the most important things (alongside cultural compatibility, communication, technical skills and the most important factor: those who can demonstrate tangible impact from projects wether the project was on an internship or dissertation or summer research project or on a volunteer position) but what was implied was that a year in industry from a new uni “no one has heard of” is worth more than a Cambridge engineering degree (which I disagree with).
University name on the whole is not important but amongst the highest paying (and most prestigious engineering employers) you regularly see grads from Bristol, Imperial, Oxbridge, Bath, Soton, Loughborough, Strathclyde, Nottingham, Sheffield, leeds… you do get some from other institutions but no where near the same volume.
Amongst average engineering grad schemes in the £29k-£34k pay bracket you do get greater diversity but at the ones offering higher compensation the unis I listed above typically are where they go… Not providing a hypothesis as to why, but it is what I see.

Agreed. But do Oxbridge graduates get the top jobs because they are the best candidates or because they went to Oxbridge? Given Oxbridge attracts the best candidates you could say it is a self fulfilling prophecy.

The point I am trying to get over to under grads is that university alone is not a stamp of future success. It is down to the individual and I would state that a top quality candidate from the university of who knows with a strong application should have the same chance of success as the equivalent from Cambridge.

Given many universities of no where are now competing by offering job specific additional extras and employability skills, it would be a very short sighted company to discriminate in favour of traditional universities on prejudice alone.

Both myself and my wife have recently been through and continue to study at universities and both of us have a rather dim view of our local Russel Group institution who only seem to sell themselves on 1824. By contrast the local new university is hands down better. New buildings, better resources, staff who have your learning at heart rather than other more important things, course structure that reflects the real world rather than a dusty tradition of what reading a subject is about and a huge programme of optional self enhancement opportunities abound.

I think as a country we need to get over the very old fashioned view that a group of universities formed when some VCs met in a bar in Russel Square are somehow better than the rest. It simply is not true by any measure. If universities are measured by value added like the rest of the education system it will be interesting to see how Oxbridge really fair.
Original post by hotpud
Agreed. But do Oxbridge graduates get the top jobs because they are the best candidates or because they went to Oxbridge? Given Oxbridge attracts the best candidates you could say it is a self fulfilling prophecy.
The point I am trying to get over to under grads is that university alone is not a stamp of future success. It is down to the individual and I would state that a top quality candidate from the university of who knows with a strong application should have the same chance of success as the equivalent from Cambridge.
Given many universities of no where are now competing by offering job specific additional extras and employability skills, it would be a very short sighted company to discriminate in favour of traditional universities on prejudice alone.
Both myself and my wife have recently been through and continue to study at universities and both of us have a rather dim view of our local Russel Group institution who only seem to sell themselves on 1824. By contrast the local new university is hands down better. New buildings, better resources, staff who have your learning at heart rather than other more important things, course structure that reflects the real world rather than a dusty tradition of what reading a subject is about and a huge programme of optional self enhancement opportunities abound.
I think as a country we need to get over the very old fashioned view that a group of universities formed when some VCs met in a bar in Russel Square are somehow better than the rest. It simply is not true by any measure. If universities are measured by value added like the rest of the education system it will be interesting to see how Oxbridge really fair.

I made no comment to Russell Group & didn’t mention them on prestige as I skipped many “prestigious” institutions i.e. Durham, st andys, ucl.... (and mentioned multiple non-RG unis in my list of unis i view that are most employable), i listed the institutions i see year in & year out placing high numbers of graduates in top engineering employers (and this includes Cambridge).

The capacity of the students is important (but most importantly I suspect of the culture and being surrounded by students who are highly capable & ambitious), another thing id note is my list broadly covers institutions which also typically have great engineering specific research output (engineering research in academia is typically much more industrially relevant relative to the rest of STEM).

I didn’t place a hypothesis but Ill expand on my thoughts: I believe the significant reason theses faculties do well is multifaceted and is a combination of industry research being completed by the professors (who can provide tangible examples in lectures of their work & students get a greater appreciation for the technical impact of engineering), strong employer connections (where past students from the uni come & do presentations explaining there recruitment processes on campus), in combination with highly capable students, and a culture of seeking out these opportunities amongst those on campus.
Original post by mintyfre
Universities:
Bath
Bristol
University of Manchester
University of Southampton
UCL (University College London)
I’m just wondering which of these universities would be best for mechanical engineering.
I’m looking for the best in terms of education, facilities and a bit of reputation. Please tell me the top 3 in order


There isn't really a top 3 those universities are all very equal, ik its not want you want to here but i don't think an employer will care whether you went to UCL, Bath Sheffield etc, as long as its accredited and top 10 thats good
Original post by mintyfre
Universities:
Bath
Bristol
University of Manchester
University of Southampton
UCL (University College London)
I’m just wondering which of these universities would be best for mechanical engineering.
I’m looking for the best in terms of education, facilities and a bit of reputation. Please tell me the top 3 in order

Bath, Southampton ... Loughborough is worth a look.

If you want to work as an Engineer then look for a year industry and do not ignore non-RG unis.

Many of my ex-students studied/study Engineering and few now look at Oxbridge even with 4 x A* grades because the degrees don't match what industry is looking for [the last 10 years have changed this so much]. They regularly get jobs ahead of Oxbridge and Imperial grads because they have more applied knowledge and skills.

One who probably earns the most now went to Brookes - look for a mix of theory and hands-on. Going to an interview able to show projects you've done [like Formula Student] are impressing employers and you can hit the ground running.
Original post by mnot
I made no comment to Russell Group & didn’t mention them on prestige as I skipped many “prestigious” institutions i.e. Durham, st andys, ucl.... (and mentioned multiple non-RG unis in my list of unis i view that are most employable), i listed the institutions i see year in & year out placing high numbers of graduates in top engineering employers (and this includes Cambridge).
The capacity of the students is important (but most importantly I suspect of the culture and being surrounded by students who are highly capable & ambitious), another thing id note is my list broadly covers institutions which also typically have great engineering specific research output (engineering research in academia is typically much more industrially relevant relative to the rest of STEM).
I didn’t place a hypothesis but Ill expand on my thoughts: I believe the significant reason theses faculties do well is multifaceted and is a combination of industry research being completed by the professors (who can provide tangible examples in lectures of their work & students get a greater appreciation for the technical impact of engineering), strong employer connections (where past students from the uni come & do presentations explaining there recruitment processes on campus), in combination with highly capable students, and a culture of seeking out these opportunities amongst those on campus.

Just because it isn't RG does mean they aren't involved in research. In fact they often have people from industry working alongside their professors.

Bristol is to be avoided given the accommodation issues at the moment - who wants to trek in from Wales every day?
Cambridge facilites are not as up to date as others ..

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