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Things you wish you knew about college, graduate schools, and entry-level careers? - Page 3

post #31 of 182
Going to college, my father and one of his work partners told me something to the effect of "just remember, D stands for Diploma, that's all you need to graduate and once you're out of college no one cares about your grades." At that time I also thought degrees (colleges) were fungible, i.e., it didn't matter if you went to a decent public school or a private or a total party public school.

Those were two terrible pieces of advice.

The best advice I had before undergrad was to "pick your professors, then pick your classes." Find out which profs are easy, and take them. Eventually you'll find professors that aren't particularly easy, but are well suited to your learning style; take every class they offer.

I agree with most of what Flambeur said, particularly if you want to go to a high flying company, a bank, graduate school, an MBA program, or law school.

And to echo the advise given to a young Charles Ryder by his older cousin Jasper when he arrived at Oxford in Brideshead Revisited, "You want either a first or a fourth. There is no value in anything between. Time spent on a good second is time thrown away." In other words, you are either taking hard classes that you struggle to get a D in (and barely pass) or you are taking classes that you can blow the top out of and get an A. Otherwise you'll be a senior and in an interview with a highly sought after employer and they'll ask you "so why do you only have a 3.5 GPA?"
post #32 of 182
Two of my friends, both with gov backgrounds, both with MBAs from a top program.

One is also an engineer. He destroyed the curves in every quant class.

One was a humanities major.

Both are good guys.

Only one has a job right now. . .

The one with the really powerful network. And he is not an engineer.
post #33 of 182
^
this reads just like a poem
post #34 of 182
Thread Starter 
Interesting thing about MBAs: I honestly think that we might be seeing the decline of popularity and acceptance of MBAs overall, even outside of the whole economy thing. And there is a good reason for that - too many programs, too many people, and not enough substance. Those programs are graduating too many generalists and not enough experts. I really think that specialized masters programs are the way of the future - concentrate on a field, find your niche, do research and ideally a good internship. Let's put it this way: all the top MBA programs are suffering terribly right now. Especially when it comes to people who do not have hard skillsets. Top masters programs? Surprisingly many of them did fine in the last recruiting cycle, especially compared to MBAs. Why? Because those people actually acquire at least the basic skillset needed to start on their job or they build expertise on skills they already have. MBAs? I have so many horror stories. Taking a class or two or three in every business discipline does not qualify to be an expert in anything.
post #35 of 182
People told me this before I went to grad school, but I was too foolish to listen.

Don't go to school for a grad degree without a purpose. Don't think that you're going to find your way just because you enjoyed undergrad. Go there with a clear cut plan and get the hell out. I'm lucky I found a good professor who taught a marketable skill. Some of my colleagues were not as lucky.
post #36 of 182
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flambeur View Post
Interesting thing about MBAs: I honestly think that we might be seeing the decline of popularity and acceptance of MBAs overall, even outside of the whole economy thing. And there is a good reason for that - too many programs, too many people, and not enough substance. Those programs are graduating too many generalists and not enough experts. I really think that specialized masters programs are the way of the future - concentrate on a field, find your niche, do research and ideally a good internship. Let's put it this way: all the top MBA programs are suffering terribly right now. Especially when it comes to people who do not have hard skillsets. Top masters programs? Surprisingly many of them did fine in the last recruiting cycle, especially compared to MBAs.

Why? Because those people actually acquire at least the basic skillset needed to start on their job or they build expertise on skills they already have. MBAs? I have so many horror stories. Taking a class or two or three in every business discipline does not qualify to be an expert in anything.

I think you're wrong. I work in a rather specialized field but we hire pretty much only "generalists", i.e. MBAs. Specialized skills and tasks are taught and learned in house, either through well-oiled training programs or simply on the job. I don't think we're moving towards a more specialized/narrow approach to recruiting talent. I also think that it's always a god idea to build you career towards a wider set of opportunities, rather than more nichey. When you buy a top MBA education, you buy a number of call options on future career opportunities.
post #37 of 182
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gdl203 View Post
I think you're wrong. I work in a rather specialized field but we hire pretty much only "generalists", i.e. MBAs. Specialized skills and tasks are taught and learned in house, either through well-oiled training programs or simply on the job. I don't think we're moving towards a more specialized/narrow approach to recruiting talent. I also think that it's always a god idea to build you career towards a wider set of opportunities, rather than more nichey. When you buy a top MBA education, you buy a number of call options on future career opportunities.

You actually do have a point. I guess I may be looking too much into the whole denial of jobs to generalist MBAs by the current markets. But it's still amazing to see absolute top MBAs without jobs.
post #38 of 182
Quote:
Originally Posted by Piobaire View Post
I grew up dirt poor, in a farming/dormitory town. I left behind everone in my age cohort, to work my way up to modest success. Modest, mind you. It took many years of hard work. Now, heaven knows, I feel I have extracted maximum enjoyment (my liver will bear witness to this), but I've also shouldered mucho stress and responsibility.

I'm just having one of those days where I wonder if those people I left behind, that live in the 1k sq foot, old homes, with the plastic stapled to the windows to keep the draft out, that really only need to worry about replacing the car radiator or where Saturday's beer money is coming from, took the better path.




- B
post #39 of 182
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flambeur View Post
You actually do have a point. I guess I may be looking too much into the whole denial of jobs to generalist MBAs by the current markets. But it's still amazing to see absolute top MBAs without jobs.
Yes it's a sh!tty job market for new graduates. But the value of their education and diploma will be realized eventually - may take a year or two of less-than-ideal jobs.
post #40 of 182
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gdl203 View Post
Yes it's a sh!tty job market for new graduates. But the value of their education and diploma will be realized eventually - may take a year or two of less-than-ideal jobs.

Yeah but you know how hard it gets once you fall out of the giant conveyor belt and have to fend for yourself. I think the companies will be on campus two year later looking for fresh new faces, not graduates who have done god knows what during then, unless you were very lucky and managed to get into the right position. I guess the same goes for all those suffering JDs right now.
post #41 of 182
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flambeur View Post
Yeah but you know how hard it gets once you fall out of the giant conveyor belt and have to fend for yourself. I think the companies will be on campus two year later looking for fresh new faces, not graduates who have done god knows what during then, unless you were very lucky and managed to get into the right position. I guess the same goes for all those suffering JDs right now.

I know it's hard but when the market is hot, firms hire whoever they can find that fits the general recruiting profile - and that means between on-campus recruiting seasons. I know several MBAs (including where I work) who couldn't find a job in 2001-02, went into a sub-par position that's barely tangentially related to what they wanted to do, and were aggressively recruited in 2004-06 when deal flow required a lot mmore bodies...
post #42 of 182
College - Going to top schools is absolutely important. Think of it like chess games; a good move will benefit you for a long run and open up your opportunities.

Graduate - Going to top MBAs is absolutely important. Not sure about JD/MD. For MS/MA of the same major, just go to the same school as college. Perspective Phds shouldn't be asking question here anyway.

Academia - Research at well known schools at your respective field. No one gives a fuck if you are doing material science research at Harvard; go somewhere relevant.

Entry level careers - keep your mouth shut, work your ass off. This is the time where you are likely to work 80-100 hour weeks (residency, associates, etc). No one is going to pay you much anywhere. Go big then go small, since big companies will have a class of new hires to social with. Stay in shape, work out and fuck a lot outside of office.
post #43 of 182
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by vitaminc View Post
College - Going to top schools is absolutely important. Think of it like chess games; a good move will benefit you for a long run and open up your opportunities.

Graduate - Going to top MBAs is absolutely important. Not sure about JD/MD. For MS/MA of the same major, just go to the same school as college. Perspective Phds shouldn't be asking question here anyway.

Academia - Research at well known schools at your respective field. No one gives a fuck if you are doing material science research at Harvard; go somewhere relevant.

Entry level careers - keep your mouth shut, work your ass off. This is the time where you are likely to work 80-100 hour weeks (residency, associates, etc). No one is going to pay you much anywhere. Go big then go small, since big companies will have a class of new hires to social with. Stay in shape, work out and fuck a lot outside of office.

same thing...
post #44 of 182
Reading this, I have to say, I'm not sure how I avoided scrubbing toilets for a living. I mean, my undergrad was Wayne State in Detroit. By all rights, I should be a squeegie guy.
post #45 of 182
Quote:
Originally Posted by Piobaire View Post
Reading this, I have to say, I'm not sure how I avoided scrubbing toilets for a living. I mean, my undergrad was Wayne State in Detroit. By all rights, I should be a squeegie guy.

For all we know, you are a squeegie guy...
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