I decided to use this April Fool’s day to debunk two misconceptions about BME that seem to persist year after year.
Myth 1: BMEs don’t get jobs
This myth is refuted by Georgia Tech’s exit survey, which graduating seniors take every year. The survey provides two important pieces of information: 1) offer rates and 2) placement rates. The offer rate is the percentage of graduates who have at least one job offer when they graduate. The placement rate is the percentage of graduates who have accepted a job offer.
Here are the data for GT engineers according to the Spring 2015 exit survey:
|School||Offer Rate||Placement Rate|
|Other engineering majors||83%||68%|
The offer rate for BMEs is 79%, which is higher than 3 schools of engineering and lower than 5. So, BMEs are pretty much in the middle of the pack of this very elite group of engineering schools.
But hold on, you say, BME’s placement rate looks awfully low compared to other engineering majors. Sure, it looks that way. But remember, a lot more BMEs than other majors attend graduate or professional school (i.e., medical school) after they graduate. A fairer comparison would be to redefine the placement rate to include the percentage of students who have a job offer in industry OR who are attending graduate/professional school immediately after graduation.
Last spring, 28% of our graduates reported having been accepted to graduate/professional school, with the intent to attend in the fall. In stark contrast, only 15% of graduates from other engineering majors plan to attend graduate/professional school immediately after graduation.
So, a revised table, with a redefined placement rate (indicated by an asterisk) looks like this:
|School||Offer Rate||Placement Rate*|
Finally, it’s worth noting that 87% of our graduating seniors say that if they could choose a college all over again, they would still choose Georgia Tech, and 86% of our alumni who have been in the work force for 3-5 years report they are satisfied with their career choice.
By the way, check out stories of our alumni here, at BME Stories
Myth 2: BMEs don’t get “real” engineering skills
Once again, good old-fashioned data refutes this persistent myth. Who better to ask about whether or not BME provides useful skills than our alumni who have been in the workforce for a while? Every three years we do just that. The last time we surveyed our alumni was in March 2014. We sent that survey to 396 alumni who had graduated between 2008 and 2010. So, they had been in the work force for 4-6 years when we surveyed them. What did we learn?
93% of our alumni said that BME prepared them well for meeting our 3 main program objectives, which are to produce graduates who are expected to demonstrate the following during their first few years after graduation:
1. mathematics, science, and engineering fundamentals expertise at the interface of engineering and the life sciences which enables them to take leadership roles in the field of biomedical engineering,
2. an ability to use their multidisciplinary background to foster communication across professional and disciplinary boundaries with the highest professional and ethical standards,
3. an ability to recognize the limits of their knowledge and initiate self-directed learning opportunities to be able to continue to identify and create professional opportunities for themselves in the field of biomedical engineering.
Now, let’s drill down a little bit deeper:
What percentage of our alumni said BME prepared them well in their professional skills and skills as problem-solvers and designers (Table 1), and in specific technical skills (Table 2)?
Table 1. Preparation for real-world work:
|Identify, formulate, and solve problems||98|
|Analyze and interpret data||95|
|Design a system, component or process to meet desired needs||93|
|Make prototypes that addresses the needs of a client||88|
|Function in multidisciplinary teams||98|
|Interact with colleagues and customers||96|
Table 2. Preparation in traditional technical skills:
|Structure and properties of materials||83|
|Momentum, heat and mass transfer||81|
|Biomedical sensors and instrumentation||80|
|Analysis, modeling, control of linear systems||82|
Taken together, these data show that a very high percentage of our alumni who have been in the work force for several years feel that BME prepared them well for their professional work.
And this blog post is most definitely NOT an April Fool’s Day joke!!