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To those who attended 'mediocre' universities...

Discussion in 'Business, Careers & Education' started by wj4, Mar 4, 2012.

  1. TeeKay

    TeeKay Well-Known Member

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    I turned down Princeton for Virginia Tech to minimize my college loans. I had an unfortunate situation where my parents made just enough money to minimize the amount of financial aid available to me, but not enough to help me pay for college. I graduated VT owning only $20,000, which is probably about 1/10th of what I would have owed attending Princeton.

    That said, turning down Princeton to go to Virginia Tech is one of my biggest regrets in my life. Going back, I absolutely made the wrong decision.

    Disclaimer: I'm fully aware that had I gone to Princeton, I wouldn't have had to pay the full cost as I would have been eligible for some financial aid. But, I would have owed significantly more than by attending VT.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2012
  2. Connemara

    Connemara Well-Known Member

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    You turned down P-ton? Honestly, my degree from Princeton Law has opened a lot of doors.
     
  3. Lord-Barrington

    Lord-Barrington Well-Known Member

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    Princeton, along with a handful of other schools, is as close to a golden ticket as you can get. I would have a tough time turning that down.

    What bugs me is seeing kids who attend decent schools holding it over kids who attend slightly inferior schools when overall outcomes for both students in terms of career opportunities and salary are similar. I see this a lot with UC/CSU kids.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2012
  4. cross22

    cross22 Well-Known Member

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    +1, same with my Princeton MBA.

    To the original question, no, never felt intimidated. I went to a prestigious grad school later on and don't think it makes too big a difference except for the network.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2012
  5. Arthur PE

    Arthur PE Well-Known Member

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    I don't think it matters much, what will make the difference is not the 'name', but the fact you may recieve a better education if you take advantage of it. It will open some doors initially, but afterwards you will be judged your (compared to others) on performance, and if you availed yourself of the better education, that's when it will pay off.

    I've worked with EE's from CMU (top 5 for sure) that were worthless, couldn't find the battery in a tarus
    I've worked with EET's from state schools that developed into outstanding engineers

    it's the man, not the school once you are in the workforce
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2012
  6. Lord-Barrington

    Lord-Barrington Well-Known Member

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    Indeed. Though I will definitely teach my children to keep their options as open as possible and avail themselves of all possible education opportunities. My middling state school worked out for me but I might have had to hustle less if I would have studied more BEFORE college and found my way into a more reputable university.

    As I said, things have panned out well for me but I believe strongly in being honest in assessing my decisions and I understand how fortunate I have been.
     
  7. FLMountainMan

    FLMountainMan Well-Known Member

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    I was in a similar situation. My parents were years behind on their taxes, and I ran the family business. So I could never provide the information required by the FASFA, and could therefore never get any financial aid until I finally got over the whole "running out on my family" thing and stopped working for them at age 23. I wound up attending a shitty community college from 18-23. Out of all my degrees, the AA took the longest.

    Later, I turned down Cornell Law, but I don't regret it a bit. (And I realize Cornell is a good deal below Princeton, but my GPA was miserable from my CC years). Didn't want to leave Florida, didn't want to go back to being a broke-ass college student. Wound up going to law school at nights (which is stupid, but that's another thread). Honestly though, I can't really say for sure I'd be any happier if I'd gone to Cornell. I've got a great life and things worked out fine.
     
  8. gettoasty

    gettoasty Well-Known Member

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    But most people do not have a successful family business that you seem to have yourself

    I think this thread is about the underprivileged trying to work their life to become that 1%

    Not going to happen. Maybe 1 or 2 generations after you...


    Something a TA said still sticks with me, "After I finish the MBA program, I'll be happy making 100k...it's not a lot, and it's not too little."
    The way he spoke and carried himself at that moment, I understood what he meant.

    Living off of a 100k salary is all relative I understand...seems like chump change to many.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2012
  9. FLMountainMan

    FLMountainMan Well-Known Member

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    I guess I wasn't clear. I worked for below minimum wage for my parents. I don't regret it - I learned a ton, it was a bookstore.

    Your last statement goes to what I said earlier - no matter what you make, someone will always think you're rich and someone will always think you're poor.
     
  10. Arthur PE

    Arthur PE Well-Known Member

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    Honestly, when I was 17 I didn't think about it, hardly studied, etc.
    First class I attended at U people were writing things down, they said they were taking 'notes'! I just listened, followed in the book, and marked the stuff he covered in the book. go figure

    I had choices: coal mine, steel mill, military...college sounded good, took out loans, got some scholarship/aid and did rotc, all worked out. I had NDSL loans so most were paid off as I served. I had a scholarship to Penn for a fast track dental program (my moms idea), I opted for Pitt and engineering, so glad I did it.
    This was not a plan as much as having some opportunity and making the right choices at certain points.

    I never thought about college until my senior HS year when the guidance counselor said I could get into a decent school (had good SAT's and a 3.4, rant on: how does someone get a 4.5 qpa or whatever! rant over), Penn sent a guy out to meet me and made an offer. But I did not want to be a dentist nor be in school for 6 years, and Penn was on the other side of the state. A senator gave me a full tuition scholarship to Pitt and that kind of decided the matter.





     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2012
  11. TeeKay

    TeeKay Well-Known Member

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    Yep, and it really, really sucks. I justified it by telling myself that because I had plans on attending medical school afterwards it didn't matter...but it has. The education I received at VT was inferior, not challenging, and made the beginning of medical school really hard because I didn't have the foundation some of my colleagues had. In addition, I ended up at a mid-tier medical school rather than a much better one, partly because I don't think I was prepared as well for the admissions test in my coursework at VT and partly because VT doesn't have a lot of name recognition beyond the occasional football success and/or national tragedy.

    I feel like I'm constantly playing catch-up now. I'm hoping to finally feel on better ground by studying my ass off for my first licensure exam this June so some future career doors will be opened. We'll see how that goes.
     
  12. NAMOR

    NAMOR Well-Known Member

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    ^ fuck you for trying to be responsible with your college debt. fuck you

    okay im good now
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2012
  13. dah328

    dah328 Well-Known Member

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    I'm curious what you mean by that. I have lots of acquaintances who graduated from top EE programs and I'm not sure they could find the battery in a tarus, either, though I'm not sure how that has any bearing on their competence as EEs.
     
  14. Arthur PE

    Arthur PE Well-Known Member

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    If they can't open the manual or pop open the hood when they need a jump, they are pretty much useless as engineers. Upon graduation you only know 5% of what you need, you must learn the rest, and not being able to figure out how to jump a battery with a BSEE from CMU is not a good sign of ones engineering aptitude. This same guy did not know how a transformer or motor functioned, in practice or theory, I explained the xfmr to him, then said unrestrain one coil, lol.

    I fired this guy within 3 months, and I've only fired 3 people in 30 years (stealing, drugs and this guy, he could not learn, nor produce any work).

    It's like asking an MD to look in a medicine cabinet and find a band-aid.

     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2012
  15. dah328

    dah328 Well-Known Member

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    There are a quite a few varieties of EE applications such as microprocessor design for which the basic automotive troubleshooting skills you mention are all but irrelevant. I don't disagree with your broader point that there may be EE grads from highly-ranked programs that cannot make the transition from coursework to real world engineering work, but I wouldn't cite unfamiliarity with the process of jump-starting a car as evidence of that.
     
  16. Arthur PE

    Arthur PE Well-Known Member

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    this guy was a power guy, not computer
    but ALL EE's have the basics: circuits, fields, machines, power, signal/controls, electronics, etc. as core courses, then specialize
    engineers are problem solvers, the problem was a simple one for ANYONE, let alone a power EE from CMU with a high qpa

    you wouldn't, I would, after having obtained a BS and MS in EE and 30 years experience, I'm not hiring an EE (or ANY engineer) that can't figure out how to jump start a car when he has the manual

    you're missing the point, this is a simple technical problem, if he can't solve that problem, what is going to happen when something a bit more complex crops up?
    nothing, that is why he was released

    I'm not a digital engineer, but I know how a CD player works, the coding, the mechanics, the analog to digital domain transformation, etc.
    I could open one up and point out the power supply, the laser reader, the D/A chip, etc.
    hell, I might even be able to locate a blown fuse, lol

     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2012
    1 person likes this.
  17. aglass

    aglass Well-Known Member

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    Interesting thread... Just to throw my experience out there, I always got good grades, went to a top school in-state (University of Virginia) and majored in Economics and History. Ended up staying a fifth year to get my M.S. degree in Commerce. The name brand of a university can open several doors for you - I work for one of the big four and I firmly believe that the only reason I got an interview was because I attended UVA.

    All that being said, once you begin your job where you went to school and your other credentials don't mean squat - it's all about performance and what you can add to the organization in a positive manner. I work with a lot of people who went to "inferior" schools and that doesn't (and shouldn't) mean jack to management. I think the biggest advantage (as others have already stated) of a big-school on your resume is to get the door open for new opportunities - however, it's up to you to make the most of it... or else you won't last long.

    And for the age old question of networking, YES it's important. You don't have to be that suck-up who is going around to room trying to get fifty business cards... but I can't tell you how refreshing it is to have a solid network of friends and co-workers that you know will have your back 10-15 years down the road when you might be looking for a new job/city/field/whatever.
     
  18. wj4

    wj4 Well-Known Member

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    Dude, the 1% is nearly unachievable for anyone in any generation. You're talking about the multi billionaires. There are millionaires who don't even consider themselves as affluent.

    To live a lifestyle that is portrayed on StyleForum, $100K is far from enough to get you that nice house, a Porsche, bespoke suits, the expensive timepieces, etc. Some of my friends are at $80-90K bracket now in the late 20s and they're just doing OK. But again, I'm in SoCal and not say, the Mid-West, where homes are a lot more affordable.

    BTW dude, this is just from me to you...if you're unemployed now, I hope you're using the time to your benefit and picking up internships or keeping occupied by doing something productive like reading books or something of that nature. If I can go back to my bored summers of doing nothing except surfing the web and my part time job, I would tell myself to get internships. I wish I can do more now, but time just doesn't permit.


    Lord B:

    I know nothing of you, except I read your posts on several occasions in this sub section. You've always gave off an impression of a very educated individual. Thanks for your input.

    I didn't quote your latter post, but I agree. Throughout high school, my GPA was always around 3.2-4.0 and I didn't have to work for it much. When I have my kids, I would definitely have them tutored, learn a 2nd language, etc.

    Even after I got my BS, I felt that my writing skill was mediocre at best, I mean I did graduate in a science field and we don't write stuff! Haha. The time and effort I put into the GRE and GMAT helped out in more ways than I thought. Going beyond the exams themselves, I was taught to be a better writer, although I'm always trying to improve.

    I used to be a big car hobbyist, well still am but to a lesser extent. I always used this analogy: Having a degree from a high ranking school makes you look impressive and may intimidate others, sort of like a Ferrari would at a stop light filled with regular cars.

    BTW I'm surprised at how many replies this thread got. It seems that most who are posting now are interested in voicing their opinion, and not just post for posting.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2012
  19. Arthur PE

    Arthur PE Well-Known Member

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    the top 1% is 380k/year/household (2010) hardly billionaires
    in fact 1 out of 100 can do it, America is a very affluent country
    5% 160k
    10% 114k
    25% 67k

    100k is a good living for 1 wage earner
    it's not how much, but what you do with it

    the gap is getting wider, with fewer and more concentrated wealth at the top, and more and more at the bottom, with the middle shrinking...but that is the way capitalism works, a redistribution of the wealth/resources upwards...that is the motivation to be at the top, dog eat dog
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2012
  20. gettoasty

    gettoasty Well-Known Member

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    Yeah the problem when it comes down to it is not how much money, but the managing of money and alternative streams of income.

    Look at 2008
     

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