Engineering Most Popular Degree Among Millionaires

Here is an interesting article.  If you follow the link at the bottom for the rest of the article, it goes on to say that most engineering millionaires made their fortunes as entrepreneurs. 

Engineering Most Popular Degree Among Millionaires

Posted on November 18, 2013 by admin

by Marc Howefrom Sourceable 14th November 2013

A new survey has found that an engineering background produces more millionaires than any other form of tertiary instruction.

The survey, conducted by wealth management publication Spear’s and consulting firm WealthInsight, found that engineering was the most popular degree amongst the world’s millionaires, beating out even MBAs and computer science and finance degrees.

MBAs came in second after engineering, with economics, law and business administration degrees rounding out the top five. While engineering was at the top of the list, the only other STEM subject represented in the top 10 was computer science, logging in at number eight.

Other disciplines common among the world’s millionaires included commerce, accounting, politics and finance.

via Engineering Most Popular Degree Among Millionaires – Australia Wide Personnel.

“Silicon Valley’s Canadian Feeder School”

That’s the title of a Bloomberg BusinessWeek article about the University of Waterloo’s engineering program that appeared this week in their Technology Section.  You can read the article on this website.

It goes on a bit too much about Blackberry, in my opinion, but does have some interesting statistics.  For example, there are over 1,000 local tech companies now, and 700 start-up companies.  Coincidentally, Macleans magazine listed Waterloo as Canada’s most innovative university for the 22nd year in a row this week.

If You Want to Be an Entrepreneur, Don’t Go to Harvard | LinkedIn

Below is the introduction from an interesting article on LinkedIn (follow the link at the end for the complete thing).  Essentially, his thesis is that the most “elite” or “prestigious” colleges/universities cost so much that your entrepreneurial options after graduation are limited (in the title, “Harvard” is used figuratively to represent expensive schools).  He recommends going to a cheaper school that you can more easily afford, so you don’t build up a crushing debt.  (I’ll add that universities with paid internships or co-ops are a good way of minimizing debt too!).  The article is well worth reading.

August 16, 2013

Vivek Wadhwa

Fellow, Arthur & Toni Rembe Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University

My greatest disappointment after joining academia was to see my most promising students accept jobs at Goldman Sachs or McKinsey. Engineering students with ambitions to save the world would instead become financial analysts—who used their skills to “engineer” our financial system. Or they would take grunt jobs in management consulting—another waste of valuable talent.

Why would they sell their souls? Because they had no choice, the burden of debt they amassed while getting their degrees was just too great. They had six-figure student loans to repay and couldn’t take the risk of joining a startup or founding their own business.

…(click link below for the rest)

via If You Want to Be an Entrepreneur, Don’t Go to Harvard | LinkedIn.

Twitter founder Jack Dorsey to speak at University of Waterloo

Here is an interesting development, for those on-campus in September.

Jack Dorsey

WATERLOO, Ont. (Wednesday, August 14, 2013) – Jack Dorsey, the co-founder of Twitter and one of the youngest tech executives in Silicon Valley, will address students and local entrepreneurs at the University of Waterloo this fall.

Dorsey, who launched his second successful startup, Square, in Canada last year will tell a 675-strong audience about entrepreneurship and how Square created a culture that inspires anyone to be an entrepreneur and leader.

The 36-year old will also meet some students and entrepreneurs at a private lunch to discuss entrepreneurship and see firsthand the quality of Waterloo students.

“Jack Dorsey started a new communications movement when he launched Twitter and changed the world for millions of people. He’s continued to blaze the technology trail with Square, which is starting to transform how we make payments. ” said Pearl Sullivan, dean of engineering at Waterloo. “Waterloo is recognized as a leader in technology and innovation. We are very honoured that Jack Dorsey is making our University the first stop on his Canadian visit. We live and breathe entrepreneurialism here at Wat

via Twitter founder Jack Dorsey to speak at University of Waterloo | Waterloo News.

Ideas start here

Here’s a nice short video about innovation at Waterloo. Our Creative Services department always does a nice job on various materials, including this video. I like the part about “Bring us your curiosity…imagination…drive”. I think that nicely captures the spirit of the types of students we hope to attract to Engineering.


Script and concept: Beth Bohnert
Production: Creative Services, University of Waterloo

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Co-op Education: Try before you buy

In the Globe & Mail newspaper, there is a short opinion article about the value of co-operative education (i.e. a structured mixing of academics and work experience).  It’s written by one of our Systems Design Engineering graduates, Andrew D’Souza, who is now COO of the educational software company Top Hat (yet another Waterloo engineering student start-up).

Andrew’s points are similar to what Waterloo’s literature tries to get across, but he is much more blunt about it.  For example, in the article he says:

If university degrees came with a 90-day refund policy, I think we’d see a lot of unemployed students waiting in the returns line. Co-op programs are as close to a “try before you buy” deal as we’ll see in higher education anytime soon.

He also explains how he started in university with some pre-conceived notions about a career path, and how these quickly changed once he saw what it was actually like during a co-op work term.  Hence the “try before you buy” idea, and the remaining work terms are an opportunity to switch gears to alternative paths, as he explains.  When I talk to our students, this is a fairly common point that comes up in one way or another.

It’s an interesting article from someone with first-hand experience and a few years after graduation to reflect back on how it helped shape his path.

Interesting Engineering Student Stories

Haven’t had much time for writing posts lately, being busy with admissions, teaching an Air  Pollution Control course, and dealing with several research projects.  But here are a couple of interesting stories on what our students do outside of class, just to illustrate the diversity of opportunities.


Emily is a Civil Engineering student with a big interest in entrepreneurship.  She has started a company and won several prestigious awards.  Her company is not based on what you would call “classical” civil engineering, but nevertheless it involves project management, problem analysis, and creative solutions.  You can read more about her and the business here and here and here.  Emily has taken full advantage of the entrepreneurship and business training and experience opportunities at Waterloo, such as Enterprise Co-op, CBET, and VeloCity.  Her story is also interesting, because she came to Waterloo as one of those very few successful transfer admissions from engineering at “another university”, where she found the student culture was not a good fit (story here).  We are glad that she found a good fit and thrived at Waterloo.


Dominic is a Mechanical Engineering student, and he has worked in the petrochemical industry during his 2012 workterms.  Specifically, he worked with Shell Canada, where his problem analysis efforts (Root Cause Analysis) resulted in $1 million savings per year for the company, and a Co-op Student of the Year award for him (see the story here).  It’s not clear from the story, but it is worthwhile to point out that he was only a second year student at the time.  Something to point out to those who claim that our junior students don’t know enough to be useful to companies.  We’ve always known that isn’t true, and Dominic is just one example. It also illustrates that if you want to work in the energy/petroleum industry, chemical engineering is not the only route.  There are lots of roles for other engineers too.

So, a couple of stories that I hope you find interesting and informative.  I always like learning about our students’ work experiences, and am frequently amazed by what they accomplish.

Electrical and Computer Design Projects 2013

Continuing the topic of the previous post on Mechatronics fourth year design projects, here is a list of projects completed by the graduating students in our Electrical and Computer Engineering programs.  Again, these are the result of the group design experience that is required in all of our engineering programs.  These projects are organized by “themes”, such as power systems, music/entertainment, software, sensors, and transportation (to name a few).  The list is a nice example of the scope and breadth of things that students in the ECE programs get involved with.  I assume that some of these projects are in collaboration with companies, although they aren’t explicitly identified.

If you would like more details on some of those projects, there is a book of “Abstracts” that gives a brief description about each project.  Glancing through, I like the naval collision avoidance system (and the helicopter missle avoidance too), the “Watchdog” animal monitor for veterinarians, and the electrostatic speaker design project.  But there are lots of others that seem quite interesting too.

Learning to Code – II

Here’s an interesting article from TalentEgg on a Toronto-based non-profit group that runs workshops “for women (and men) who want to learn computer programming and other technical skills in a social and collaborative way”.

Women Cracking The Code: Programming As A New Literacy | TalentEgg Career Incubator.

The group is called Ladies Learning Code, and it looks like quite a fun and interesting way to teach/learn. I can see this expanding to the Waterloo area, if it hasn’t already.

An example of news about Waterloo student-created spin-off companies. At one time I thought it would be a good idea to create a list of such ventures, but I suspect it would be a huge undertaking and I’ve got other stuff to work on.

Financial Post | Business

In FP Tech Desk’s Startup Roundup series, we take a look at Canadian startup news from the past week.

Thalmic Labs heads to Y Combinator

The latest Waterloo-born company to take part in Silicon Valley’s Y Combinator accelerator program is gesture control technology maker Thalmic Labs.

Notable predecessors include the teams behind the Pebble smart watch, Google-acquired BufferBox and video-marketing platform Vidyard (which just this Monday announced an integration with inbound marketing software firm HubSpot).

This week I spoke with Thalmic co-founder and CEO Stephen Lake, who will be shuttling back and forth between California and the company’s home base in the VeloCity space at Communitech in Kitchener during the three-month program, which started in early January and culminates with a demo day of pitches to potential investors.

YC, as it’s often called, doesn’t have a set workspace or curriculum but offers startups the chance to attend office…

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