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U Penn vs U Maryland(CP) for MS in Systems Engineering


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Hi all,

I'm looking for some input and opinions to help me choose between attending University of Pennsylvania (Penn) or University of Maryland-College Park (UMD) to do my Master of Science in Systems Engineering.

 

My interests are pretty diverse - 

> Smart systems and intelligent spaces.
> Sensor Networks, system optimization.
> Renewable energy, particularly solar photo-voltaic systems.
> Control of smart grids and the integration of clean energy systems.
> Electric/hybrid vehicles. 
 
I'd like to get into an engineering job after graduating, which is why I'm having trouble picking between these two univ's. UMD is recruited heavily by engineering firms with defence contracts, but as an international student, I wont be eligible for these and that significantly narrows my employment options. On the other hand, Penn seems to be more heavily recruited for banking/finance/consulting positions than for actual engineering. [i'm not completely opposed to a career in finance, but at the moment I have no inclination towards that field].
Also, Penn is significantly more expensive than UMD, and also it appears to have less (or no) scope for financial aid (even assistantships don't come with tuition waivers). I understand that Penn comes with the Ivy league tag, but I'm not sure if that translates to an easier job search or a superior quality education.
 
[To add a bit of context: after looking at the various labs and professors, and considering university reputations (at least from my perspective), I've already got one foot in Penn. I just want to hear some opinions on whether I should reconsider this. ]

Looking forward to any insight..! 
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