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# Graduate School for the Unemployed

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Manager
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06 Mar 2009, 11:15
Manager
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06 Mar 2009, 11:22
Couple interesting comments which were thought provoking particularly:

David said: Mar. 03, 11:10 AM

Trunk is making an unfortunate generalization that may apply to the bulk of MA/MBA/JD seekers, but much more rarely applies to MS/PhD/MD's. Everyone knows the story of a PhD in History working at McD's whose manager has a high school diploma. Do you think for even a moment that, even if this story is true, that person is all that intelligent?

Like some have adequately pointed out in this thread, it doesn't take a genius to get a PhD, but the amount of work required to get to one is so obscene that typically only someone who has the enthusiasm for the subject and the brains to subsidize the work load will get one. But there's always going to be the glitches in the system; someone who works their ass off and does their research solely by the guidance of advisers and professors, that will get a passing review for their dissertation, with no real passion for what is they're doing.

That's the kind of person who ends up managing your local Walgreen's or the equivalent.

Most PhD's receive at least an assistant professorship at an accredited institution, which is by all means a livable salary and high enough to pay back education-incurred debt.

MA's and MBA's, as well as some JD's, don't fall into the same category. MA's are often Trunk's described crowd of people who are avoiding the inevitable, I know plenty of them in my major department. There are some who have a passion for what they do, but others are obviously just holding off on confronting life.

The problem with statistics on MBA's and JD's is this: any institution who gets the basic accreditation standards can hand out these pieces of paper like no one's business. You think Johnny ambulance chaser who took 8 years to pass the BAR went to Stanford Law? Yeah, right. MBA's are even worse, you can get your MBA from University of Phoenix for god's sake, the value of the degree for MBA's and JD's is based SOLELY on the institution that handed them out.

Yeah, right now we've got some Haas MBA's out on NYC corners "begging" for a job, because they trained their whole lives for one profession and refuse to be anything else if it doesn't involve an obscenely high salary. This is an anomaly, not the norm.

MS's and PhD's in science fields have no problems getting jobs, laboratories and research institutes and industrials are constantly looking for qualified people in these fields because they are hard to find. It takes intelligence to get that far in a scientific field, along with a lot of intensive work and study. Those critical of the science fields are never those who are involved in them, I doubt a single one of you so critical of tertiary education has an MS or PhD in the physical/biological sciences. These people have no problems getting jobs, if not in the private sector, then public, and then education; they have a lot of options, not to mention their value to society is exceptionally high.

Personally, I'm going for a double in Anthropology and History at the moment (BA) at UC Davis, and plan to pursue a JD full-time at an ABA-approved school of law. And I plan to actually take the BAR.

You can claim the uselessness of education all you want, but it is only useless to those who DO NOT USE IT to their advantage. A piece of paper is meaningless, I agree. It's where you got it from and how you use the knowledge you gained attaining it that make it useful, something so many BA/BS recipients don't even seem to realize.

There's no point in getting a degree if you don't know what you want to do with your life, and while the first year or so of undergrad is for figuring that out, you need to get on with something you're interested in and go after it, not just "go with the flow" as so many automatons with little in the way of intellect do.

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Suzie said: Mar. 03, 1:45 PM

As someone who has worked in legal education for twenty years, I would strongly DIScourage anyone from going to ANY law school now. I assume anyone interested in law school reads Above the Law. The notion that graduates of top tier law school will always have well-paying jobs is gone.

There are way to many lawyers in this country and law schools now exist for the benefit of the highly overpaid professors and administrators who run them. I am one of them.

Many if not most of my colleagues would not want their own children to go to law school yet they reap the monetary rewards of a system that drives the students who pay our salaries into unbearable debt. Like so much in the rest of our society -- legal education is corrupt. I cannot understand why the public does not wake up to this. Obscene tuition, salary and employment stats that are massaged to the point of being distorted. Why are law school apps only flat -- they should be tanking.

The idea that some people want to ride out the recesssion in law or any other grad school is mind-boggling. Talk about sticking your head in the sand.

Having said all this, I think people who do not want to take on debt for education have to be somewhat creative. My law school tuitition (20 years ago) was paid for by my employer (a large manufacturing company) which had a very generous tuition reimbursement program. I worked in the legal dept so they covered my legal education. My guess is that most companies are no longer this generous.

I work at a university with a very generous tuition remission program. Education is free for employees, spouses and children. I know secretaries who have educated 3 and 4 kids from B.S. to MBA or PhD. FOR FREE. Most colleges and universities have some sort of tuition remission program. Get a job at a college and take advantage of it. No matter how low paying the job, the savings in tuition will be life-changing.
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06 Mar 2009, 14:22
Quote:
The notion that graduates of top tier law school will always have well-paying jobs is gone.

There are way to many lawyers in this country and law schools now exist for the benefit of the highly overpaid professors and administrators who run them.

Like so much in the rest of our society -- legal education is corrupt. I cannot understand why the public does not wake up to this. Obscene tuition, salary and employment stats that are massaged to the point of being distorted.

I hope this isn't true for B-school

Quote:
The notion that graduates of top tier B-Schools will always have well-paying jobs is gone.

There are way to many MBAs in this country and business schools now exist for the benefit of the highly overpaid professors and administrators who run them.

Like so much in the rest of our society -- business education is corrupt. I cannot understand why the public does not wake up to this. Obscene tuition, salary and employment stats that are massaged to the point of being distorted.
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06 Mar 2009, 18:36
flood wrote:
Quote:
The notion that graduates of top tier law school will always have well-paying jobs is gone.

There are way to many lawyers in this country and law schools now exist for the benefit of the highly overpaid professors and administrators who run them.

Like so much in the rest of our society -- legal education is corrupt. I cannot understand why the public does not wake up to this. Obscene tuition, salary and employment stats that are massaged to the point of being distorted.

I hope this isn't true for B-school

Quote:
The notion that graduates of top tier B-Schools will always have well-paying jobs is gone.

There are way to many MBAs in this country and business schools now exist for the benefit of the highly overpaid professors and administrators who run them.

Like so much in the rest of our society -- business education is corrupt. I cannot understand why the public does not wake up to this. Obscene tuition, salary and employment stats that are massaged to the point of being distorted.

The great thing about the MBA is that it's much more general and wide-reaching than a JD is. It puts a stamp on one's head that he or she has been educated to manage an entire business rather than simply the legal issues that may confront it.
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09 Mar 2009, 11:49
It really boil downs to doing what you love (which the author doesn't really address) and living with no regrets.

Nontangible (happiness, satisfaction) > tangibles (dollar, cash, mula, cars).

Last edited by bigfernhead on 09 Mar 2009, 13:39, edited 1 time in total.
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09 Mar 2009, 12:11

Why don't people stop going to college while we're at it?

Is it just me - or is it an interesting fact that while people around the country are getting laid off, there seems to continue to be high demand for MBA graduates from top schools? Even if those jobs aren't the same "dream" jobs that may have been available in some years.
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09 Mar 2009, 13:28
The article seems to be addressing the ROI on grad school. After all, going into debt in a bad economy isn't a very safe strategy.

However, I think a lot of people fail to look at the long-term benefits and immeasurable benefits like growing as a person. Sure you might be in debt coming out of school and you may not get the job you love coming out of school, but what about 5 years later? 10 years later? Maybe an opportunity comes up and you act on the opportunity properly because of the skills you acquired in grad school… maybe you progress at a company much faster because of your MBA…or maybe you get a unique experience and grow as a person as opposed to grinding away at life doing the same boring work for 45 years while accumulating a bunch of crap you don’t really need.

That’s what I keep thinking about. I have a high paying job where I work short hours at a stable company. If I were more practical, there is no way I would go to grad school, but I’m still leaning towards going. Maybe I’m just naïve, maybe my youthful optimism will completely screw me…I don’t know. I’ll just have to see how risk averse I am this summer when I really have to make the decision. In the meantime, I’m trying to figure out if the benefits are really there or if the educational system is trying to hustle me out of a serious amount of money.
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09 Mar 2009, 13:41
I couldn't agree with you more. I'm in the same position.

Current Job = Low Risk
MBA = Higher Risk

Higher Risk = Higher Rewards

flood wrote:
The article seems to be addressing the ROI on grad school. After all, going into debt in a bad economy isn't a very safe strategy.

However, I think a lot of people fail to look at the long-term benefits and immeasurable benefits like growing as a person. Sure you might be in debt coming out of school and you may not get the job you love coming out of school, but what about 5 years later? 10 years later? Maybe an opportunity comes up and you act on the opportunity properly because of the skills you acquired in grad school… maybe you progress at a company much faster because of your MBA…or maybe you get a unique experience and grow as a person as opposed to grinding away at life doing the same boring work for 45 years while accumulating a bunch of crap you don’t really need.

That’s what I keep thinking about. I have a high paying job where I work short hours at a stable company. If I were more practical, there is no way I would go to grad school, but I’m still leaning towards going. Maybe I’m just naïve, maybe my youthful optimism will completely screw me…I don’t know. I’ll just have to see how risk averse I am this summer when I really have to make the decision. In the meantime, I’m trying to figure out if the benefits are really there or if the educational system is trying to hustle me out of a serious amount of money.
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10 Mar 2009, 05:13
I agree with Steel, and disagree with the author's point of view. First of all, education is a good thing. More education is a good thing. The return on education is growing faster and faster, especially in those countries whose economies are moving away from manufacturing towards knowledge and service industries. Second, there is more value to an MBA than just the education you receive in the classroom: it's the relationships you develop with your classmates and alumni, which no doubt will help you throughout your career.
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