Waterloo Produces World-Class Talent

Today, I saw this tweet by the founder of Figma on Waterloo graduates’ talent level.

I reviewed over 1000+ resumes and talked with 200+ students from top US universities including the Big Four Computer Science Schools (Stanford, UC Berkeley, CMU, MIT) for a previous company I interned for so I have a unique perspective to share. The company I interned at partnered up with high-growth startups and placed elite talent at these startups. I worked on the talent side hence why I reviewed so many resumes and talked with so many students.

Before coming to the Bay Area and interacting with people from top US schools, I underestimated the reputation of Waterloo compared to MIT or Stanford. However, after reviewing numerous resumes and conversing with students from these schools, it became evident that the average graduate from Waterloo’s engineering/CS program exceeds the average graduate even from these institutions. We evaluated students’ resumes based on their work experience and side projects. What sets Waterloo apart is that we graduate with six internships. The school’s culture also encourages students to intern at prestigious companies and startups. Other competing schools struggle to match this level of practical experience. In most of these schools, the best students have a maximum of four internships, and many have only three since they are not mandatory. This means that most graduates have only half the experience compared to Waterloo graduates.

And it isn’t only the breadth of experience but the quality of experience. The average Waterloo Software Engineering graduate, the most difficult program to get into in Canada, resume would be considered exceptional at any of these other institutions [1].

However, the main distinction I noticed between the leading CS/Engineering schools in the US and Waterloo is outlier talent. Some notable examples include a student who became the youngest Chess GrandMaster in the US, another student who developed a video game with over 1 million users, and a multiple-time gold medalist in the International Mathematical Olympiad from Thailand.


[1] Waterloo Engineering students have a tradition of surveying and publishing data on their graduating class. Here’s the class profile for the Software Engineering Class of 22.

December 29, 2023

Previous:2023 Year in Review
Next:Not Minding That It Hurts