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Rin   2012 Apr 19, 12:48pm   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

Folks, in many east Asian nations, people do eat dog. And no, it's not their own dog.


And the Romney dog story has been around for a while.

Rin   2012 Apr 20, 4:20am   ↑ like (1)   ↑ dislike (1)     quote        

The only true purpose of a college degree is to fulfill the HR (human resources) barrier of entry, into the white collar world.

Only a dozen years ago, a person with an associates degree could work as a paralegal. Today, that person would need to have a bachelors degree, even if it's in modern basket-weaving or ancient Etruscan bong making.

So what's changed, in the world of clerical work, where the undergraduate degree is the key to getting in the door? Pretty much nothing. It just creates an artificial barrier to justify the existence of personnel depts or the notion that white collar work is socioeconomic class-oriented.

Rin   2012 Apr 20, 5:24am   ↑ like (1)   ↑ dislike (1)     quote        

wthrfrk80 says

I think you've pretty much nailed it. A lot of it is a racket of artificial barriers to entry.

Yep, and thus, Thiel's argument is a bit off the mark.

There are only so many Michael Dells or Steve Jobs in the world. For the most part, anyone who isn't a part of a starting circle of biz executives, needs at least one qualification to be 'seen' in an office. If Mark Zuckerberg were to mysteriously have his FB equity be stolen, he wouldn't even be qualified to apply for a job at his former company.

What Thiel should argue for instead, is the elimination of HR depts, nationwide, and have people submit national exam scores, like a combination of SAT IIs/GRE subject tests, in lieu of a college degree, to prove that they're academically qualified to be shuffling paper in an office. People can study on their own, take exams, and submit exam scores for entry level jobs. After a generation, the college degree will in effect, become obsolete for a majority of office workers.

Rin   2012 Apr 20, 8:12am   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

bmwman91 says

Standardized testing is a good idea in principle, but it is so wide open for being gamed that it inevitably becomes sort of worthless.

But isn't the 'Game' ... the whole point?

At this moment, there are certification tests for Oracle D.B.A., Cisco Network Engineer, etc. All folks, in the aforementioned areas, are gaming for those exams. And then, the same goes for the Patent Agent or the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exams.

The issue here is that the majority of the information, needed to score decent on exams, like the SAT2s or the GRE subject tests, are either on the Net (,, etc) or the public library. Thus, the bubble of paying $80K to $200K for a BA is out the door, in place of something else, which can be done on the cheap.

And so while some "ASS scorers" may overachieve with 666+ with a lot of private tutors but in reality, I don't see that as any different than those, who'd spend 2-4 years prepping for the medical college admissions test (MCAT), which clearly comprises at least ~40% of one's admissions chances to a medical school. The end result is that in place of spending a fortune on college, you can submit a high "ASS", gain an internship, and if you do well at the job, you may even get an offer. And plus, at some point, let's say that "ASS" level is 550+, the higher the number has less predictive ability on how well a person may perform at a job. So all and all, it'll be more like this ... what's your internship record (i.e. research analyst for Motorola, 6 mos) and then, what's you "ASS" average? And that'll be enough of an assessment for a new worker bee.

Rin   2012 Apr 20, 8:36am   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

Vicente says

People want to know you have EXPERIENCE in an area. They have plenty to pick from and don't need your freshly-printed CCNA paper.

Actually ... as time goes by, HR depts want to see a Cert exams, unless the college/grad degree is specifically Computer Science or Electrical Engineering, prior to assessing the experience base.

So it's kinda the same thing

Here's a sample resume ...


5 years as Oracle DBA at Wyeth Pharmaceutical. Managed large schemas, migrated clinical data, integrated clinical and pre-clinical systems.


Certified Oracle DBA (Larry Ellison approved)
BA in Basket-weaving w/ Math & Economics minor

Rin   2012 Apr 20, 8:38am   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

Rin says

Here's a sample resume ...


5 years as Oracle DBA at Wyeth Pharmaceutical. Managed large schemas, migrated clinical data, integrated clinical and pre-clinical systems.


Certified Oracle DBA (Larry Ellison approved)
BA in Basket-weaving w/ Math & Economics minor

Thus, if the degree is Computer Science, the resume can simply be ...


5 years as Oracle DBA at Wyeth Pharmaceutical. Managed large schemas, migrated clinical data, integrated clinical and pre-clinical systems.


BS Computer Science

Then, the cert matters less

Rin   2012 Apr 23, 7:12am   ↑ like (2)   ↑ dislike (2)     quote        

Yes, in summing up the various posts above ... the college degree, BA in { X, Y, Z }, is really for the human resources dept.

In reality, many high schoolers, with a modicum of intelligence, can do at least half the white collar jobs out there. This is possibly one of the greatest *open secrets* out there, which no one wants to acknowledge formerly.

Thus, it's not so much a college bubble but it's more that the majority can't accept that college is worthless, for a vast pool of the educated population. If a person simply wants to attend college, to be 'seen' as being smart, well, that's one thing but to have a college degree, simply because it satisfies an artificial checklist of sorts, is another.

Rin   2012 Apr 23, 2:26pm   ↑ like (1)   ↑ dislike (1)     quote        

Right now, there's no shortage of applicants to US medical schools. Yes, it's a graduate program in the biosciences but has a protected pipeline to a niche job market, which has both high pay and job security.

Thus, instead of generating science and engineering postdocs, with limited opportunities for working outside the academy as a temp, let's actually revive the real job market for science and engineering graduates, across the board.

Rin   2012 May 8, 2:53am   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

People, here's a little 'open' secret ... medical school, M.D. program, is a graduate school for the biosciences. Yes, the first two years of every M.D. class comprise of masters' level courses for advanced degrees in physiology, biochemistry, etc. That's why the MD-PhD is a condensed joint program because the PhD part is mostly pure research than coursework.

Now, if women were not studying ... ahem ... science, then why are more than 50% of medical school classes comprised of women?

Here's my answer ... doctors earn six figure salaries and more importantly, have near lifetime job security. STEM jobs have low-to-ordinary pay, minimal job security, expected unpaid overtime, & constant threat of offshoring. Instead, I would imagine more practical young women, opting for finance/accounting BS programs and then, an MBA, over any science or engineering program, simply because in terms of salaries and job security, STEM work can't compete.

Rin   2012 May 8, 3:23am   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

thunderlips11 says

A Doctor is a Helping, Social profession that has many aspects that we would consider to be in an archetypical Female wheelhouse.

One interesting question: What is the ratio of female research doctors to practicing doctors?

This is true but consider this ... if the average internal medicine salary dropped from $200K+ to $75K, the chances are that it would be a male dominated field like chemical engineering, tough coursework but with ordinary payoff. Thus, my suspicion is that as opportunities for women grew in the 60s, medical school classes, within a generation, equilibrated to 50/50 Male/Female ratio due to the economic prowess of the profession.

As for research MDs, from my three stints at medical centers, I'd seen less than 15% female MD researchers. And from my personal experiences, every female MD-PhD (top grades/top MCATs/top research pubs) did it to get a free MD, paid for via the fellowship.

Rin   2012 May 8, 4:21am   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

Danaseb says

Unless you grow up female you do not know what societies pressures are upon women. Some women rise above it, but regardless of gender four out of five people do not rise above what their upbringing groomed them to be.

I'm going to make one gender bias observation and that's that women understand the nature of power and in modern times, it's about the amount of time studying vis-a-vis economic compensation. In other words, if it isn't an authentic money generator ... don't bother studying it. And here's a great indicator of this phenomena, in Japan, where women are not encouraged to be stock traders, cadre of housewives have become self-made currency experts, some earning 7-8 figures, trading (or advising) from home.

Thus, the archetypical male STEM (non-MBA track) person is more a hobbyist type than one who's geared towards the acquisition of power and wealth. Possibly, the alpha males in this arena have already hit the hedge funds and had left STEM work for good. Others, more risk averse, probably opt for an MBA to stay marketable as a team lead/project manager.

Rin   2012 May 8, 5:00am   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

Danaseb says

so even if that was the case it would not remotely justify the lack of women in the sciences

I'd done my undergrad degree in Applied Chemistry & Chemical Engineering. My concentration was more on the chemistry side than process engineering.

In my graduating major of 35, there were 10 women. Of all the women, one went for a PhD at MIT. This person was offered fellowship money from every program she'd applied for including Northwestern, Univ of Illinois, MIT, etc. Thus, it was paid for PhD at America's top school.

The others, I knew 6 of them personally, went to work for a few years and then, went back to school for an MBA. But upon returning to work, they went into sales and marketing, for either the cosmetics or chemical sectors. Not a single women stayed in STEM work.

Thus, I don't buy into any theory that women don't have access to STEM career opportunities like men. They do but decide not to pursue them as a career, for the long term.

Rin   2012 May 8, 5:21am   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

Dan8267 says

men still go into a profession that is socially stigmatized. Women don't.

Doctors are highly respected. Engineers are not. And it's really sad because being an engineer is as difficult and as useful to society as doctors are.

Women, meaning the ones who are into academic work, see engineering as *the best door* into a business profession. For example, it's easier to get hired from an Applied Chem/Chem Eng program into a Proctor & Gamble internship, then fast track career, where one gets to learn about product development, sales, or marketing strategies but then later, that person can apply to Northwestern or Columbia business schools and laterally move into a director or senior position in marketing or strategy consulting. Why would this person ever stay in R&D?

Rin   2012 May 8, 5:39am   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

Dan8267 says

And the reason this fact is brought up in this discussion is because a lot of women have been falsely accusing men of being the real reason that women are not entering STIM.

Yes, I concur with the above.

Right now, most applicants to US graduate (not undergrad, not medical, not business) applied science & engineering programs were either US/Green Card males or international students (both genders).

In my own experience, aside from the MITer in my personal class, other American women, who wanted to go for PhDs in the sciences, have been offered money from very prestigious schools like Univ of Penn, Carnegie-Mellon, Univ of Chicago, etc. In contrast, these programs don't need to recruit American men, as there are already enough US based guys and Intl ones, who'll work for reduced stipends or even have corporate sponsorship.

Danasep has a faux victim status mentality.

As we speak, what's preventing any woman in America from downloading course materials from here: ?

Rin   2012 May 8, 6:06am   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

Here's my theory ... if MD salaries dropped by 50% (70% if surgical specialty), I'd estimate that the MD class would go from 50/50 M/F to 70/30 M/F.

BTW, this won't effect the PA and nursing programs, as many of them are already earning senior engineering salaries.

The smaller pool of male MD students, who'd leave, would opt for Hedge Fund/Trading, Patent/Corporate Law, or top ten b-school, all sort of type A personality-oriented professions with a large payoff & plenty of personal responsibility/ownership.

The vast majority of women would probably leave for nursing, PA, or pharmacy, as those fields are similar enough to being a doctor but pay a salary which is solid and nearly guaranteed.

I don't think as many men will opt for those areas, as their original motivation to be in medicine was in controlling their lives and being a type of "leader in the clinic", than a person who's simply there for a paycheck.

Rin   2012 May 8, 6:56am   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

Danaseb, when you're done with your 'Home Alone' bickering with Dan8227, do you have anything to say about the actual career paths of women, who did in fact, study science & engineering, to later pursue careers in business?

Rin   2012 May 8, 11:11am   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

bmwman91 says

More than 90% of the girls that I went to engineering school with are still in engineering now, 5 years after graduating. Only one or two of them went for Master's degrees, and they were both in science/engineering.

The engineering staff in my workplace is maybe 25% women, and they are all 35+.

My fiancee got her degree in MechE and is in technical sales now. She never really liked engineering, but did it anyway since it seemed to have better job prospects than a business degree, and she at least found it interesting.

This is quite a stark contrast to my experience. Albeit, perhaps part of it is that I'm sort of excluding the various Asian diasporas and mainly focusing on American women.

BTW, like a lot of folks, I've also been making a lateral move into finance/trading and what I've noticed is that a lot of women in finance, have strong educational backgrounds, many even tech educations from various science/engineering programs. So I guess I'm kinda bias here, because for one, I don't like being a 'techie', since it's a relatively under appreciated profession vs let's say being a trader.

Rin   2012 May 8, 12:28pm   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

thomas.wong1986 says

Now they are complaining because they made a dreadful mistake decades ago... now they want hand outs... give us engineering job

I think they're just complaining for the sake of complaining. No one wants an engineering job; one wants a stock analyst, sales, or consulting gig where one can drop names, ala "I represent Bain, Lazard, etc. Here's my business card; let's discuss some joint prospects."

In academia, folks in the humanities have a 'grass is greener' mentality against those in the biomed or physical sciences because the latter depts tend to attract govt or private sector grants whereas liberal arts is stuck waiting in the queue for some endowment of the arts via Gilded Age foundations like Rockefeller, Carnegie, or Vanderbilt.

Rin   2012 May 8, 9:55pm   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

bmwman91 says

Personally, you couldn't pay me enough to go work on Wall Street. Nothing about that lifestyle appeals to me, despite the possibility of huge income (it doesn't help that SO many people are clamoring to get into that field in hopes of cashing in, making it very competitive and hard to attain said high incomes). I couldn't care less if tech jobs are under-appreciated. If anything, it helps me to keep a low profile so I can go out & live life! Different strokes for different folks, though.

Just out of curiosity, do you live in NYC? I get that sort of flavor from your perspective on which professions "people want."

I'm still fortunate to not have to live in NYC. But from all my former tech buddies, who're now into finance/trading or even back office ops for banks, they still clamor that Manhattan is still the *place* to be.

I guess one of the key differentiators between the monied professions and STEM is that almost no one talks about taking a lower paying job, after the sort of 'break-in' period whereas in STEM, the idea that bonuses are less than 10% of one's income and that 0-2% raises are normal, is just a part of the work culture. From my own current limited exposure to trading, compensations from $100K to $500K are kinda normal and even expected. And then, everyone wants to be on a dealbook, where earning greater than $500K is completely normal.

If I'm earning $500K, I could be a self-financed engineer, like Maxwell, later on in retirement. I wouldn't have to spend my earning years in a venue where I may see my work move to Asia or South America before I need bi-focals :-)

Rin   2012 May 9, 12:38pm   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

bmwman91 says

It seems like everyone would be piling into that field if it was "easy" to make $500k.

Here's the thing ... most persons are not on the team, which generates enough bank (hefty dealbook), so that the bonus pool averages from $100K to $500K, depending upon one's position in the trading company. And some top prop traders earn $1M to $5M per year. Usually, those types tend to later start their own hedge fund. Most companies, however, won't let just anyone touch that kind of money on their own.

In general. many persons are analysts, salespersons, underwriters, etc, earning some $90K to $150K, with a bonus program in place. I'd say that a vast number of Ivy League types are in this category, working the numbers at let's say Morgan & Stanley or one of the other IBs.

So yes, the $500K compensation exists but it's not like everyone can pile into it, like applying for a normal job. This is quite different from let's say the job market for Java programmers, nurses, and construction work.

Rin   2012 May 10, 12:05am   ↑ like (1)   ↑ dislike (1)     quote        

Kevin says

The only people still perpetuating the myth of outsourcing are bitter, under-qualified engineers whining that nobody wants to hire a 50 year programmer

Kevin, age discrimination is real, not an imagined phenomena. This is in many fields, not just engineering.

Also, there are under-qualified 55+ yr old doctors who still have their jobs, despite being 'ordinary' & not the 2nd coming of Marcus Welby (if you recall that show from your parent's youth). The AMA keeps the number of doctors down and it's rather difficult to offshore day-to-day internal medicine & general surgery.

One of the reasons why I'm moving into trading over science/engineering is that the money potential is there, long term, not just in that ages 27 to 45 sweet spot, as in most STEM careers.

One should do science/engineering as a retirement hobby; remember, even Einstein was a Patent Agent.

Would you say I'm bitter? Sure, I'd love to do STEM and be secure till retirement but guess what? I'd instead, prefer to be earning a great & sustainable salary till retirement.

Rin   2012 May 10, 4:13am   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

Vicente says

Clean Room Technician: They take them out and shoot them.

Yep, great scene in 'Primer'.

That movie's got two things right, that trading is better than engineering... the daytrading focus of the film, and that engineers have a short shelf life, as the tech had observed.

Too bad they didn't just stick to their original strategy, hiding their positions in the mid to large cap fund stocks. They would have been multi-millionaires within 2 years.

Rin   2012 May 10, 4:45am   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

Kevin says

We should be concerned about women in STEM because those are the most important occupations for the future.

If they're so important, then why did DuPont send 2K R&D jobs to China? Or Applied Materials?

I had a few prior girlfriends ... one was in a science PhD program at Harvard, another in an engineering PhD program at MIT (FYI, these women weren't my classmates). Guess what happened, Goldman Sachs, McKinsey, & Lazard wined and dined 'em to work for them, after graduation. Where was Applied Materials, DuPont, or Motorola during this time? They were happily sitting around, awaiting a flood of applicants, and expecting everyone's backgrounds to be an exact fit to the job descriptions.

The one, who took a STEM job, left w/o completing her PhD, as she'd discovered that the education wasn't all that important in the end, and that the Masters made her look less specialized. After a few years in STEM, she moved into financial services in Manhattan. The other started in management consulting, after completing her PhD, at a near six figure salary. In the end, the consensus was the same, STEM was a joke, the real careers were in finance and/or management consulting.

I'm not worried about women's career choices. If STEM was so great, they'd be in it on their own volition. And none of my tech girlfriends had soldering irons or circuit boards as girls. Like them, I was into drawing and writing short stories but instead of all of us becoming failed novelists, since we know the chances for another Ernest Hemingway or Jane Austen is slim, we decided to find real jobs.

Rin   2012 May 10, 5:29am   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

Kevin says

So a few shitty companies didn't offer them jobs and you take that as evidence of it not being valued? How about Genentech (biology, chemistry), Apple (EE, materials), Google (comp. sci, mathematics, statistics), or any other company that's actually concerned about science? AM is the only company on your list that still does actual science and engineering these days.

Genentech/Apple/Google get plenty of applicants from all over. And yes, the offshoring in biotech is now underway. The reason why Google is expanding in Cambridge MA is precisely because they've been losing applicants from Harvard/MIT/Tufts to finance careers.

And pharmacists start at $100K+ & they get to keep those jobs for life.

And the one above in management consulting started at $100K. Five years later, as a senior, she was at $175K+ w/ bonus structure. Her billing rate to clients are $250-300/hr, thus, she's quite valuable to her clients. If she makes junior partner, she'll be earning from $200-$350K/yr.

The one who went into financial services ... started at $90K. Then later, upon switching work, moved up to $150K+. She's taking it easy now, and have taken a pay cut to $120K to work 4 days per week. Is that even a possibility in STEM work, where overtime w/o pay is expected?

Rin   2012 May 10, 5:33am   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

Kevin says

unemployment in STEM fields are lower than any other sector of the economy.

Well, because a smart person will leave the field for another job. That person is not counted as being unemployed. I know tons of persons who'd started in STEM and are now in health care, finance, consulting, patent law, etc. I'm also now one of them. Since I'm earning a nice salary and have no gaps in employment, my presence or lack of, doesn't get counted.

Rin   2012 May 10, 5:41am   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

Kevin says

The average salary in financial services is $63,000.

This includes all ancillary services including bank tellers, telephone handlers, and loan managers. Those from top ten schools and engineering programs, do considerably better. In fact, right now, I don't know single person earning $63K in finance, and I'm including Boston, Philly, DC to the list, not just NYC. I was also offered a job above $63K but I didn't take it, as I'm making the transition on my own terms.

Rin   2012 May 10, 5:57am   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

Rin says

I don't know single person earning $63K in finance

Ok, I made a mistake ... I know one person, earning $50K in Chicago, working for a Future's Trading house. He works from home, in metro Chicago, and answer calls for pesky traders, who're unhappy with the software and/or slippage parameters. He works Tues to Fri and takes Mondays off. So yes, it's not all roses but guess what, he's in his late 50s and has no complaints about being a telephone clerk. And yeah, if those edgy traders had their calls answered in the Philippines, like for a lot of IT companies, those traders would have a coronary.

Rin   2012 May 10, 8:14am   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

Dan8267 says

Personally, I think that manufacturing is a 20th century industry and we need to dominate in 21st century industries, but there are plenty of people on this site alone who've argued that manufacturing is needed in America.

Hello Dan,

Instead of being a lone wolf, barking at the wind, and taking arrows from the propagandists about the impending shortage of S&Es or the "permafrost" lack of women, studying quantitative fields, how about simply leaving altogether?

I mean there's no point in waiting around, like a lot of NASA staff or contract members today, waiting for the axe to fall, while listening to the press that there are millions of STEM jobs paying high incomes with lifelong employment prospects.

A decent way to leave, if you're not into the whole finance/trading thing is to take the Patent Agent exam and then, either opt for the govt or a private sector job, supporting the analysis and filing of companies' proprietary properties.

Rin   2012 May 10, 11:41pm   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

The perpetual shortage of scientists story (I mean mythology) has been around since the NSF paper of 1988. There's already a website which tracks the alleged validity of this notion (

Also Kevin, if you don't want my anecdotes, here's one from the MIT class survey ( Realize, MIT is a top tier STEM focused college, not a liberal arts place like Dartmouth or Swarthmore. If you total up the number of recruits from Finance & Management Consulting positions (i.e. Morgan & Stanley, JP Morgan, McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group, Bain, Deloitte, Citigroup), you'll see that those careers make up 40+% of MIT graduates (not attending grad programs). You'll find similar results for the past number of years of surveys. Then, collate that with my personal anecdotes ... if STEM was so great then why is it that even from MIT, an engineering school, as oppose to Wharton or London School of Economics, the monied professions attract a serious volume of candidate placements?

Then, juxtapose that with the fact that women do communicate among one another and the fact that finance and consulting attract so much post-graduation attention, why wouldn't that be the preferred location for female graduates than in being in a dead-end STEM career path? In terms of image, think of working in an executive suite vs slaving under Dilbert's boss.

My conclusion is that there's no problem with women studying the sciences. It's just that they don't have any incentive to stay in it, whereas some guys may stay in it out of a 'labour of love' or the fact that management consulting and the whole faux culture of it, is just too much BS for them.

Rin   2012 May 11, 4:32am   ↑ like (1)   ↑ dislike (1)     quote        

I'd committed one act of bullying. I'd pushed a kid out of a swing set at the age of 8 & I wasn't egged on by others. Instead, I was in a bad mood that day and wanted to take it out on someone who I thought couldn't fight back.

Well, although he wasn't hurt anymore than the minimal time he'd landed on the ground, I was never happy about that incident since then.

Sorry, but I don't buy excuses from bullies. Either you're an A-hole or you screwed up. That's all there is to it. If I were running for office, I'd admit that I pushed a kid off a swing set and apologize for it. Yes, I Rin, f'ed up that day, many decades ago.

Rin   2012 May 12, 6:31am   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

One more anecdote for both Kevin/Dan ...

I'd spoken with a female MIT grad this morning. She's three years out of college and is working in management consulting. I'd asked her why she chose MC over STEM and this was her response.

During college, she'd interned at Genentech, doing computer support work for one of the analytics groups. When she had her subsequent on-campus interviews with Google, Amazon, and other IT firms, the first thing they'd scrutinized was why she's CO-OPed in biotech vs an IT company. They appeared to spend more time trying to fess out a feasible incompatibility than in ascertaining value in having broad experiences in peer industries.

On the other hand, the MC recruiters like Cap, Deloitte, McKinsey, etc were interested in her background and the projects where she could fit into. In the end, she said that she felt that in STEM, people are 'pigeonholed' or 'typecasted' early in their careers, whereas in MC, most everyone is a generalist upon starting, until they find themselves a niche. Also, unlike STEM, MC management expects that their junior stars will go back to school for an MBA and perhaps return, in a management-to-partner track. There are also major opportunities to seek VP positions at client companies, since MCs tend to be on the strategy/operations side of the house. She didn't have a sense that STEM careers had sort of a career track, people in STEM were sort of seen as a 'helping hand' and then perhaps down the road, that person is then seen as a senior engineer. There didn't seem to be a sense of certainty there.

I guess my point here is that while STEM may not have an overt long term unemployment rate, like let's say for Steel Workers or Machinists, there's actually a reasonably high attrition rate, relative to other lines of work. And without sustaining a population of unemployed STEM folks, sitting around, waiting for their jobs to come back, it won't show up on the standard IEEE or ACM type of reports. People, esp women, simply leave after college or after a few years in, and then, they're just not heard from again.

Rin   2012 May 12, 7:06am   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

Kevin says

They all have the same basic childhood experiences that the men have. Legos, video games, parental love of science and technology.

My parents simply told me to do my homework or else. I'd become a fan of Star Wars and other Sci-Fi films on my own.

I'd only transitioned from being a history/literature buff to science in high school because it was kinda obvious that one needed a science/math background for college.

Rin   2012 May 12, 11:53am   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

Dan8267 says

When you apply for graduate school, you have to take the GMAT, the college equivalent of the SAT. The math proportion of the SAT is way dumbed down so that students on the liberal arts track will have a cumulative score equal to students on the STIM path.

Yes Dan, all of the above is true.

Where I was going to make an honorable mention was that a number of pre-professional undergrad programs do require some Calculus. At the same time, the high school SAT Subject Math II (originally named Math Achievement II) does have math all the way till trig. All my programs wanted those Math SAT IIs, some even wanted a recommendation letter from a Math teacher, if I took the AP Calculus section. Thus, despite being a prior history/literature buff, I knew that I needed to do well in the above if I was going to study Applied Chem/Chem Eng later on in college, even as a premed or pre-business type.

Now, with the above said and done, once a person finishes her undergrad requirements for Math at let's Wharton undergrad *finance*, she may never see a Math class again and thus, you're correct, the GMAT is then a walk in the park, before starting B-school. Also, those Calculus credits count, in terms of medical school applications as a part of the overall science (or physical sciences) GPA. And you already know about Patent Agent/Patent law.

Rin   2012 May 13, 3:55pm   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

One more site on management consulting salaries ( There's a huge upside in salaries from not choosing STEM, if one's qualified to be in MC.

When an engineer starts to hit ~$120K, management looks for reasons to downsize and replace one with either a younger person or someone, who'll work for less than a $100K. This has been going on, in STEM related areas, for ages. In contrast, MBA types have been able to sustain high salaries for a large percent of their careers. In fact, I was surprised to see in the web site above that MC Jr Partners were at ~$450K but that makes sense, if you consider that they're part of the team which books the revenue. My ex-GF, from Harvard Univ, always wanted to do the MBA at NYU, after she started work in the city.

I really don't understand why this is a mystery to folks like Kevin. Have you not been around the block in the past few decades? Do you actually know women, with a high level of quantitative education? Or are you mainly speculating?

Rin   2012 May 13, 11:22pm   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

Kevin, I've lived in the northeast corridor for my entire life, Boston to DC, minus NYC. I've never seen a non-management STEM, in biopharma, in defense, in telecom, in chemicals with a base of $200K. This includes established companies like United Tech, General Electric, Genzyme, Wyeth, Raytheon, Lockheed, MITRE, DuPont, IBM, Unilever, AT&T/LU, Akamai, and a slew of other Fortune 1000s. Are you working for a dotcom enterprise? Because using Google or Facebook, as a primary STEM example, is cherry picking. Or is my list of Fortune 1000s, now suddenly no longer STEM?

The only persons in that starting $200K base category were in tax, underwriting/actuary, trading, medicine, patents, and law. I do know some of them at the above listed companies but those are not STEM careers.

As for MCs, my central argument was why that track was more attractive to women vs STEM. And if MIT, in itself, has a 40+% placement into MC or finance, that's really making a statement. That's not cherry picking, that's an established trend at a top engineering college. Unfortunately, not all schools have their surveys posted or I'd post some more but since I've visited them, I can observe that trend elsewhere on the east coast. Whether or not that individual placement eventually becomes a partner is not here or there; it's the fact that it's a good career choice vs being overspecialized in STEM and if MITers & Harvardians are having that conversation in their 20s, I can only see that women will leave the STEM fields quickly, after they get their degrees. And that's been my experience and thus, I don't worry about women's career choices. Likewise, in another year or so, I can also say that I'd left STEM for greener pastures.

Dan, do you want to add something to this?

Rin   2012 May 14, 4:32am   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

SiO2 says

So purely financially, getting an MD is not obviously better than engineering.

A lot of that has to do with the whole layoff cycles. If you recall the layoffs in petrochemicals (mid-80s Oil Patch Bust), defense (early 90s), telecom/dotcom (2000s), engineering has a boom/bust quality to it whereas most persons seldom hear of doctors losing their work. And then, many doctors do have the option to work into their mid-60s or longer. So true, the SV in-crowd at Facebook, Google, etc may have high flying careers but for the most part, it appears to the typical female students that engineering work is working under Dilbert's boss in a ratty cubicle.

The one downside to medicine is the student loans. That's really the main sticky point, since those follow one for life.

SiO2 says

I do know a few US-born female engineers, but, they usually end up in sales

Yep, this I've seen, more often than not.

Others go back for health care careers or b-school for management and/or sales executive tracks. And there's nothing wrong with that.

Rin   2012 May 14, 2:52pm   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

Kevin says

Maybe you're incompetent. My company has offices in all three cities you've mentioned, and people in those cities operate in the same pay bands that I do.

I would not consider half of the companies on your list to be STEM, in that science / engineering isn't really what they "do". Some of them used to (DuPont and Unilever).

Engineers and scientists at IBM, Raytheon, Lockheed, etc. all absolutely are able to get salaries comparable to mine with comparable experience levels. My company does pay a bit above average for the industry, but we're talking 10-20%.

Ok Kevin, it seems like we're now in the ad hominem, the "I'm smarter than you category". I was offered a senior position at IBM Global consulting and even my potential manager there was not earning $200K (sans bonus). His boss, however, was earning in that band and he was a regional manager. Realize, in the end, someone has to pay that 'fixed' overhead and $200K is a high 'fixed' operating cost.

In terms of money, I've already earned $500K against $2M dealbook share in two months for a private investment project. This was split among my 3 crew members so I know a thing or two about generating some alpha for my clients. All and all, I see where the money is. And yes, in time, this will grow into a multi-million dollar joint venture, which is why I don't want to take an ordinary job in finance but be more of an entrepreneur.

This is partly why I don't care for STEM careers; finance is where the real money is at and when you're established as a prop trader, the only income ceiling is your will to make it happen.

Kevin says

The fact of the matter is that across *all* science and engineering professions, unemployment has remained consistently well below average, and salaries are significantly higher than other career options with equivalent education and experience.

What's missing is the attrition rate in science and engineering whereas pharmacy, nursing, and medicine have low attrition rates. When a former big wig, like Dow Chemical, decides to close an R&D center, what are those engineers suppose to do? Many are from the ages of 45 to 55 and are specialized to Dow's particular way of doing process engineering? They can't just pack up, move to Houston, and work for BP. BP would rather hire someone, in his early 30s, who's always been in the petrochemical circuit, since graduation. Thus, there's a good deal of typecasting of roles and where folks can move laterally among engineering fields. If you don't believe this, you may want to talk to a few folks working at Home Depot, it may surprise you how many educated older folks work there. On the other hand, in my new area of finance, once you're an alpha generator, provided that you still have *it*, or perhaps more accurately, if your unit still has *it*, you can earn money for as long as you want.

And let's say that for some reason ... I fail in the long run, well, there's always that telephone support job where traders don't want their calls re-routed to another continent. My hope is to be retired, long before I have to do telephone support for irate clients.

Kevin says

Career potential would be close to last in the reasons for women to choose some field besides STEM. I maintain that *culture* is reason #1, and everything else is utterly insignificant.

In all honesty, since I've had intimate relations with several STEM women, I don't believe it's culture per se but a type of combined weighing system where on one hand, MC/Finance seems attractive (executive suites, wearing nice suits, etc), and two, the culture of STEM work seemingly downtrodden, Dilbert-like, and not upwardly mobile. As for the overall culture, American/western society, I'm not as concerned about it because all and all, the key component here is that everyone has some sort of choice in terms of one's education and plausible destiny.

Rin   2012 May 15, 5:09am   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

CaptainShuddup says

Rin says

Ok Kevin, it seems like we're now in the ad hominem, the "I'm smarter than you category".

He's a know it all, if he don't know it, then it ain't worth knowing.
We can only dream to achieve such blissful cluelessness.

Well, in all honesty, there are blowhards in all professions and walks of life.

When I'm making $1M/yr or more, in trading, I can come back here and brag about how awesome I am. Here's the problem ... I've grown up a bit and have realized that blowhards don't have much to offer to others. When I hit the 7 figure zone, I'm keeping my earnings to myself. And unlike Kevin, I'll never accuse anyone of being incompetent or a poor person.

The reason why I've posted so much on this topic matter is that for some reason, life experiences has shown me that STEM work is not preferred by women, even women with math, physical or biological sciences background. At the same time, when particularly elitist posts ridiculously high salaries like $200K+ base, they can't juxtapose that against those, who were laid off from the supercollidor project which axed more than 4K physicists. What are those PhD postdocs now suppose to do? Google/Facebook hires less than 2% of applicants; it's actually easier to get into a medical school like Hopkins, Harvard, or Columbia.

Rin   2012 May 19, 5:50pm   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

REpro says

But compare it to doctor, dentist, plumber or carpenter, all can do sweat work 80 hours per week without a chance to cash out $2M sometimes after 4 years

Of course, the other professions don't have a stake in the mothership, however, esp for dentists, it is possible to live a regular 40+ hour work week, earn a fine salary, and be financially stable for much of one's career.

To earn $2M in 4 years, typically, one needs to be a top prop trader or fund manager in finance. There, there's still a reasonable chance at a high salary, 200K+, even if one doesn't become a rainmaker and earn in the millions. In contrast, there were many 70-80 hour workers in technology who never got more than a standard $50-100K equity payout, after those 4 years in the dungeon.

Rin   2012 Jun 7, 6:05am   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

bob2356 says

doesn't want a totally free market in labor.

Hate to say it but few non-licensed white collar professionals really want unabashed 'free labor'.

Think about it ... US medical schools mostly accept Green Card holders/US Citizens. They also have restricted class sizes and thus, all American graduates get first consideration in residencies. Foreign graduates take a separated out, FGMLE exam, and have to wait in the queue, before starting a US residency. The same goes for the Patent Agent exam, where any BS level science graduate, taking the exam, has to show a US passport or proof of citizenship to be registered. Likewise, ancillary health care services like Pharmacy, Physician's Asst, etc, restrict international credits transfer & who takes the certification exams. Even a smart person, who's got a Masters or PhD in Pharmacology with Toxicology classes, cannot sit for a Pharmacist certification exam, despite knowing the subject matter, without first having been admitted to a PharmD degree in the US or Canada.

For regular science & engineering, however, provided that the foreign school is good (or verifiable), like let's say London Univ, one can usually transfer up to 50% of credits for either a BS or MS in engineering. Also, a large percentage (> 60%) of tech PhD candidates stateside, are international students. Thus, there's always downward pressure on wages, esp in the sciences, because the employers always have a choice of pitting H1-Bs/L1s against Americans/Green Card holders. The open market, in this case, has made the sciences a less attractive proposal, for Americans who don't want to get jerked around by either the academic "postdoc" advisers or the R&D managers.

And likewise, it's tough for international students to work in management consulting or investing banking, within the US (as oppose to their home countries), since many of those stateside employers don't have the ability to sponsor someone for a non-tech position.

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