Manager at Samsung Pay; Author of Crazy Enough To Try
Greater Boston Area
Last updated Apr 25 '16 at 06:30
Although mechanical engineering is very important, I wouldn't necessarily call it the basis for other engineering professions. Instead, I think of it as more of a great discipline, which studies many of the core elements that are incorporated into other engineering fields. Take for example bio-engineering. In many cases it is the combination of topics covered in mechanical engineering with those of biology, chemistry, materials science, and many others.
At MIT, I took a few mechanical engineering classes before I switched into Materials Science and Engineering, and although we covered some of the same topics (mechanical stress and strain for example), the focus was on different applications. While mechanical engineering was more focused on large objects (cantilevered beams for example), materials science was much more focused on atomic interactions.
So if you are interested in working in an engineering field but unsure of what you want to study, mechanical engineering is a great place to start, as it is fairly easy to transition into other engineering fields. However, each engineering field has its own specialities that will need to be mastered.