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Performance of US industrial companies in 2013

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Though the article below is not directly linked to the auto industry, I think it would be still interesting to share this information.

During our visit to Ford World Headquarter, the lady from HR department told us that there are not enough STEM students in US. STEM is an acronym referring to the academic disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. STEM related fields are petroleum & coal industry, computer & electronic industry, and auto industry. These industries are the hearts of US economy.

The data in this link shows us the followings: top 10 American industrial companies (Exxon, Chevron, Apple, GM, GE, Ford, IBM) generated $1.8 trillion of revenues in the year of 2013. That is almost equivalent to the GDP of Canada in 2012, which is $1.8 trillion as well. The entire top 500 industrial companies generated $6.07 trillion of revenues in the year of 2013. This is slightly more than Japan’s GDP in 2012, which is $5.96 trillion.

What we can learn from this data is how important industrial companies are to US economy. Today, more and more students in US are going to the fields of consulting, finance, and banking. Particularly, the amount of C school major students at W&L far overwhelms that of STEM major students. Insufficient amount of STEM students will limit the growth of these industrial companies in the long run. The overall middle-class population is still rapidly growing; therefore, the demand for energy, electronic goods, and cars will only rise in the future. All industrial companies around the globe are attempting to utilize this great opportunity. If there are not enough STEM students, US industrial companies will probably fall behind the competition in the near foreseeable future.


*The link below shows the new top 2000 public companies in the world. The ranks have changed frequently in the past few years due to intense international competition.


  1. mayolj16

    I think there are several issues in the US that lead to this problem. In the case of our school, the major problem is not having an accredited engineering major that discourages students from it. This is a result of what is going on in the US, where it is ‘easier’ to go into investment banking than STEM. Another issue is the problem with international students; in my case, my visa to stay in the US expires the day I graduate, giving the feeling that I’m being kicked out of the country once I get my degree, while they should be doing the opposite with STEM graduates and try to convince them to stay.

    May 12, 2014
  2. Louis Ike
    Louis Ike

    I do understand that there are a large number of students at this school that study within the confines of the C-school. However, one must not attribute this solely to not having an accredited engineering program or a lack of guidance by the school towards that area. Washington and Lee has an incredible network of alumni that have been successful in the fields of finance (etc) and incredible faculty within the academic disciplines that support this industry. For these reasons, many students choose to come to Washington and Lee in order to study economics, politics, or business administration. Someone at MIT most likely would not complain about the lack of business or accounting majors on campus because of the fact that MIT attracts STEM students. Along this same token, Washington and Lee, for better or for worse, attracts a significant number of students interested in fields related to finance, consulting, banking, marketing, and the likes. To the point though, the country does lack, collectively, a supply of students interested in the fields of science and technology. Perhaps the movement of the American economy towards services (away from manufacturing) has lead to an oversupply of job-seekers in the sector, but the decline in STEM students may simply reflect the changing structure of the American economy.

    May 14, 2014

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