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

Discussion in 'Business, Careers & Education' started by Flambeur, Sep 22, 2009.

  1. odoreater

    odoreater Well-Known Member

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    Very good. I appreciate taking risks and have done so many many times myself. But you have to accept the possibility of failing, especially if you are betting on a very special case. Paying your dues and slow and steady growth are WAY underrated by many young people. Yes, it's better to take risks when you don't have much to lose, but don't get left on the side of the road playing lottery while everyone else is putting in real work.

    You're right. I will also add that taking risks does not mean that you don't have to work hard.

    The other problem is that for a young kid, gettting a job in, say for example, biglaw, is not "slow and steady growth." A year out of law school, when I was about 26 years old, I was making $135k per year. My wife, at the age of 25, was also making $100k. I know the idea of the "golden handcuffs" is a little cliche, but it's true. I really wish my wife and I hadn't bought an expensive house, nice cars, gone on expensive vacations, etc. when we were pulling in a combined quarter million a year in our mid-twenties because things would be easier now. Now we have to undo all the stupid shit we did when we were making more money than we knew what to do with.
     
  2. gdl203

    gdl203 Well-Known Member

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    Only one piece of advice about first job(s): it's amazing how well one can do when one works just a little harder and applies a little more thought. Making a great impression and delivering great performance on the job is really all about having the willingness to do so - I don't know anyone around me who had an entry-level job that required enormous brainpower or intellectual capacity. Most of us know what it takes to do something right, to get a job done well - doing it is a different story - just need a little more effort than the neighbour to be an outperformer and start doing things that are more interesting (and better paid).
     
  3. milosz

    milosz Well-Known Member

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    The world is fucked, things only get worse from here. Abandon all hope. No future, no future for you...

    Hedonism is the only rational option.
     
  4. milosz

    milosz Well-Known Member

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    On the off chance one of your poor bastards is considering a BFA in photography:
    1. You will probably fail.
    2. There are three basic career paths:
    a. Teacher. Get your MFA, pray that someone hires you as an adjunct, try to turn a buck outside. Learn to hate all the spoiled little shits you're teaching. Fuck the hot ones if possible. On the off chance you can get a job in a city you don't mind, this isn't such a bad life.
    b. Artiste. Maybe get your MFA, learn to suck dick for gallery spots, learn to eat old-lady pussy to sell overpriced prints. Keep your Starbucks resume up to date. Learn to hate gallery owners and collectors, people who have no creative talent of their own, so they must purchase yours. I would say something about potential heroin addiction, but it's highly unlikely you will be able to afford to score.
    c. Commercial. Congratulations, there's a small chance you'll be able to earn a living at your chosen profession. Whatever creative spark you harbored will wilt under the lights of food/architectural/portrait photography, you will hate cameras when you're not working. Your overhead will be immense, you will need new computers and software every two years at a minimum, you will probably take on a great deal of debt and fail miserably. Learn to enjoy your time in front of a computer screen, because that's where most of your day will be spent. Learn to despise creative directors, people who believe "any trained chimpanzee can do this" and have no creative talent of their own.
    3. Few of your college credits will transfer outside of the fine arts/liberal arts school should you decide that being a big-timer MBA is a better option.
     
  5. Piobaire

    Piobaire Well-Known Member

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    There are some good points in this, but I believe that you can do both - but it's up to you. If you're boring, you're boring, and if you are slow to move, that's what you are. I have to say that I have learned to experience life and to extract as much enjoyment out of it as I can, but 24/7 vacation/party/etc catches up to you really quickly.


    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.
     
  6. Piobaire

    Piobaire Well-Known Member

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    You're right. I will also add that taking risks does not mean that you don't have to work hard.

    The other problem is that for a young kid, gettting a job in, say for example, biglaw, is not "slow and steady growth." A year out of law school, when I was about 26 years old, I was making $135k per year. My wife, at the age of 25, was also making $100k. I know the idea of the "golden handcuffs" is a little cliche, but it's true. I really wish my wife and I hadn't bought an expensive house, nice cars, gone on expensive vacations, etc. when we were pulling in a combined quarter million a year in our mid-twenties because things would be easier now. Now we have to undo all the stupid shit we did when we were making more money than we knew what to do with.


    Ah yes, the Golden Handcuffs. I mention them often here. That's all part of being the working schmuck.

    Nothing to lose = freedom. Once you have something to lose, you're stuck.
     
  7. oldseed

    oldseed Well-Known Member

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    potentially good thread.

    flambeur has given good advice.

    -grades count. even if u study something stupid (basket weaving), if u get an A+ in an honours bachelors of arts specialized basket weaving program, you'll still be able to get into law school, biz school, etc, and/or get a good job, and/or kick ass. if on the other hand u sucked, u're down a notch in opportunities.

    -there is more politicking in grad school PHD programs than there is in politics. seriously.

    -pursue what u love. when that's exhausted, find urself another love.
     
  8. milosz

    milosz Well-Known Member

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    Rent a flat above a shop
    Cut your hair and get a job
    Smoke some fags and play some pool
    Pretend you never went to school
    But still you'll never get it right
     
  9. Flambeur

    Flambeur Well-Known Member

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    -grades count. even if u study something stupid (basket weaving), if u get an A+ in an honours bachelors of arts specialized basket weaving program, you'll still be able to get into law school, biz school, etc, and/or get a good job, and/or kick ass. if on the other hand u sucked, u're down a notch in opportunities.


    This is good. However, companies and schools also do compare majors and schools. For example, lets take an engineer from MIT with 3.5 GPA and 172 LSAT and a marketing major from an ok regional school with 3.7 GPA and 172 LSAT. Which one do you think will get accepted if there is only one spot?

    This also applies to hiring and companies. Big firms that do a lot of college recruiting usually use their own employees who went to your school to analyze your resume and classify you. So they will be able to see right through listing worthless extracurriculars or how you slipped through a loophole into an easier part of your major compared to peers or something like that.

    So be smart and use common sense when it comes to that. And if you are doing basket-weaving you damn better have an A+.
     
  10. odoreater

    odoreater Well-Known Member

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    Oh yeah, for all the criticizing I'm doing of Flambeur, I probably shouldn't talk since I actually had good grades in college, went to a decent law school, had good grades in law school, was on the law review, and worked for a few years at one of the most respected firms in my state before becoming a street level lawyer. So, take what I say about taking risks and all that with a grain of salt. [​IMG]
     
  11. crazyquik

    crazyquik Well-Known Member

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    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?"
     
  12. Milhouse

    Milhouse Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  13. gdl203

    gdl203 Well-Known Member

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    ^
    this reads just like a poem
     
  14. Flambeur

    Flambeur Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  15. AntiHero84

    AntiHero84 Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  16. gdl203

    gdl203 Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  17. Flambeur

    Flambeur Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  18. voxsartoria

    voxsartoria Well-Known Member

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    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.


    [​IMG]


    - B
     
  19. gdl203

    gdl203 Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  20. Flambeur

    Flambeur Well-Known Member

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    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.
     

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