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Higher Ed Thread

I think a rotation wouldn’t be a bad idea. However, I would add that 4 years working in an unrelated field is often still going to be more relevant than a college degree if you’re objective about it.

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My econ prof and I were discussing this and he said that a majority of the rise in tuition is driven by amenities demanded by (usually wealthy) applicants and their families. HS students spend their lives trying to get into a brand name uni, but these unis are also competing for students and their money

oof… My diff eq prof told us horror stories about this…

This is another incestuous aspect of this. Wealthy people use the institution of expensive prestigious universities to give their children a huge advantage. People need to stop looking at a Harvard degree as a sign that the person is exceptionally gifted and start recognizing that increasingly it just means that you are well connected. Well connected, is, of course, still quite important. But we just need to acknowledge it for what it is.


Something I get complimented on more often than anything is my writing (emails, procedure documentation, dank memes, etc.) Communication is one of the more important “soft” skills one can have in just about ANY field that I can think of (especially if one wants to progress through the ranks)


‘In academia there is no difference between academia and the real world; in the real world, there is’
– Nasim Taleb

That seems to summarize my feelings.

Just as architects design to impress architects; journalists report to impress journalists; Hollywood produces movies to impress Hollywood; Academia exists to continue Academia.

Macro Economics is a farce.

It’s all a self-congratulatory circle jerk of rent seeking. Research should be passion driven, not tenure driven. That’s why in the real world, people create and academia justifies later.

That’s my giant brush stroke of higher ed.


Thaler basically won a nobel prize for integrating basic psych (like AP psych level psych) into econ theory :laughing:

makes sense. I mean you see this everywhere, even in fitness. Trainers make content to impress trainers, hence all those petty “debates”

I personally want a job in academia because I like the work (research, teaching, writing) and it would allow me to live the lifestyle I want (decent pay, fairly flexible, colleagues who want to talk about research, can wear tennis shoes to work)

It’s all Kayfabe, intended to make each other money and benefit from their respective following.

for being a giant whiney b*tch. I find him incredibly annoying. I’ve read all his books and said this several times on this site… he is a red-headed-step-child of the barista at the Irsaeli coffee shop, where Tversky and Khaneman’s department neighbor’s intern made coffee runs. Elizabeth Warren is more Native American than he is scientific.


One of my profs (another one of the “pioneers” of behavioural econ) once let slip that he found Thaler “obnoxious” :laughing:

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Do you have a cognitive disorder? Perhaps another explanation exists for this behavior?

My disdain for the man is because he rips off ideas and rides coattails. If you understand no thought originated nor was expounded by him, it’s more readable.

Nudge was interesting, when he wasn’t talking about his ‘friendship’ with AT and DK.


I wasn’t serious about the cognitive disorder. I figured there was some explanation that made sense. I just found it amusing that you would read all the books by an author you find annoying.

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I spent 720 hours behind my steering wheel last year and it was a short year for driving (due to covid). That’s 30 days of driving and about 23 days of audio books a year. I run out of books quick.


I’ve never met the guy so I can’t make judgements. I did attend a talk he gave last spring- I didn’t get the feeling that he was obnoxious, but then again, I didn’t interact with him. I did NOT like his voice though

With that said, I found out about the talk by accident and not the prof I mentioned earlier. That prof is usually very vocal about recommending talks/lectures to his students and had recommended a couple earlier given by far less famous ppl. I thought it was interesting that he didn’t recommend Thaler’s

I’m disconnected from academia and my position is my own, but I’m nearly positive my impression of him is what others in academia have… he’s a sellout, shill and charlatan who has no business putting out books.

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Higher Ed, Amiright?



Like Tony Soprano, I only had a semester and a half of college but I did attend a “gifted” public high school that was on a college campus four hours from home. There I lived in dorms and took classes on a college schedule for my Jr. and Sr. year of high school. My old report cards indicate that I knew AP calculus, chemistry and physics at the time, but I never had the drive or direction to pick a major and finish it.

My real bona fides come from a 20+ year career in manufacturing doing work that typically requires a college degree. I have over 15 years as a Business Systems Analyst configuring and customizing ERP software, specifically SAP and JD Edwards, with a recent shift to the much less stressful world of being a Purchasing Manager with a bit of BSA work thrown in.

Even though I may not be a “typical” HS graduate, I am firmly of the belief that nearly all of the back-office jobs in industries like manufacturing and logistics do not need a college degree at all. This obviously does not apply to “office” jobs like engineering, where specific technical knowledge is needed and rarely acquired outside of college. I’ve never met a mechanical engineer who was self-taught at the library. Planning, purchasing, and even being a business systems analyst don’t require any special knowledge you can only acquire at college.

I’ve worked with dozens of humanities/liberal arts degree holders who, aside from being better-than-average email writers, bring nothing to the manufacturing table that a high school graduate with a few years of manufacturing experience won’t. Being 41, I’m right in the generation where the walls started going up and now I think they’re starting to come down. The wall I’m talking about is “Bachelor’s degree or higher required”. Again, that kind of wall makes a lot of sense for a lot of specific careers, but you don’t need a degree in anything to learn how to be a kick ass planner, buyer, or warehouse supervisor.

Having a specific degree, like logistics, will certainly give your career a lot more steam if you actually pursue that career in logistics, but don’t be surprised if some dummy drop-out ends up out-performing you for whatever reason. That’s an abridged version of how I made the jump from hourly manufacturing denizen to becoming a salaried SAP implementation analyst.

Luckily, that wall prevented me from pursuing something that, in hindsight, I probably wouldn’t have liked. I was in close consideration for a planning manager job and our manager told me point-blank that he thought I would be better but chose the degree-holder due to the degree. This is very understandable from his perspective. If I failed, he’d look like a moron for passing up such a well-credentialed candidate. If the other person failed, well, he made what seemed like the prudent promotion decision.

I now hate production planning and have no desire to be that kind of ringmaster in the circus that is small and mid-size manufacturing. I’m glad I dodged that bullet!

If you’re not already rich and are looking to use your degree to earn, make sure your skill is in-demand at the bare minimum. Can’t go wrong with most engineering fields!


or something that involves computers and statistics apparently

Learn to write code or data basing software and you will be employable for a very long time. Most openings I see in the engineering field are for software engineering today.

Edit: I am starting to learn cloud computing in my limited off time. Not much limit to computer power when I can offload it to a cluster half a world away.

Yep. That was my ticket.

I was self-taught as a teenager at DOS 5.0 and up via the concrete brick of an instruction manual I gained access to in the early 90’s. It was a prerequisite to getting my parent’s Zenith x386 with 3 MB of RAM to successfully run the ground-breaking masterpiece that was DOOM.

This eventually translated into me easily understanding manufacturing business software much better than most of my peers, giving me the in I was actively seeking to join that software implementation team.

I’ve been a Six Sigma Green Belt since 2003 or so, successfully using dubious statistical outputs of MiniTab to kick the can of Six Sigma continuous improvement down the road on several occasions. It is always good when you understand statistics better than all of your co-workers, or at least good enough to keep the heat off of you from mediocre middle-management with unrealistic expectations of the methodology’s application.

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