Riding High in Rochester

Wayne Martin, 23, a lanky college senior majoring in industrial engineering, has good reason to be cocky. Out of 20 job interviews this spring, he landed 17 offers. Feeling as finicky as a baseball free agent, he spurned IBM and General Electric in favor of a $26,000 post with Westinghouse.

A decade ago, such heated corporate competition for an engineering prospect was usually reserved for graduates of renowned schools like Caltech and M.I.T. No longer. Martin attends the Rochester Institute of Technology, a respectable but hardly prestigious college nestled in a wooded area south of New York's third largest city. R.I.T. is...

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