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DominicConnor
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October 21st, 2010, 6:05 pm

I was talking with a candidate last night, and I happened to comment on the death of Benoit Mandelbrot."Who ?" They askedI explianed and even tried spelling the name in case they hasn't heard it right.Nope, the whole thing was outside their general knowledge.Once I convinced myself they weren't just winding me up, I expressed the opinion that if this had happened at interview, it would have hurt their application significantly.Was I right ?
Last edited by DominicConnor on October 20th, 2010, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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QuantOption
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Reality Check on General Knowledge

October 21st, 2010, 6:42 pm

half of the team I work in didn't know who he is/was when I mentioned it some days ago, and I woudn't know about him either if it weren't for wilmott.com (ok, I knew about him, but it is by chance as I worked on some fractal related project many years ago, I never came about his name in my quant related readings), the same way I wouldn't know about Thorp and other people "promoted" here
 
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Hansi
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Reality Check on General Knowledge

October 21st, 2010, 7:01 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: DominicConnorWas I right ?On the fact that he had not read or seen anything about his death would suggest to me that he is quite closed off from any form of media which obviously isn't to anyones benefit regardless of the amount of noise out there. Mandelbrot's death was mentioned pretty much everywhere.I couldn't hold up a long conversation about Mandlebrot but during my studies in maths and astrology I've glimpsed some of the things he contributed. I didn't know much about any of his contributions to finance until I read some of the articles about his death (The price changes studies were the only I'd heard of). I'd assume that anyone that knows what a fractal is must have at least heard his name even if they didn't know about his work on the topic.If this would come up in a interviews discussion I'd find the fact that he had completely missed the media mentions over a whole week more interesting rather than him not knowing his work in detail.
Last edited by Hansi on October 20th, 2010, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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GiusCo
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October 21st, 2010, 7:17 pm

I think these days it is really difficult to identify talented people and nurture long enough to make them polished allrounders.I'm not a big fan of the education sector but I see a decisive interest on the market and the political sides in keeping citizens as monkey-ish as possible. You can see high level education is becoming a luxury in the Western world.If culture is not allowed its time and if niche applicative knowledge (or wealth at birth) is all the system wants, be content with slick C++ coders and dumb theorem parrots.
 
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QuantOption
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October 21st, 2010, 7:18 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: HansiQuoteOriginally posted by: DominicConnorWas I right ?.... Mandelbrot's death was mentioned pretty much everywhere.I don't have a TV and no time to read papers, only quick skim thorough online FT in the morning where I haven't seen it, I woudn't know if it weren't for wilmott mailinglist.
 
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DevonFangs
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October 21st, 2010, 7:21 pm

I agree with Dominic.In my studies I've met the name of Mandelbrot a few times (in a C++ course they made me generate a fractal [Julia and Mandelbrot sets], and in condensed matter I studied something about fractal theory applied to the study of surfaces) and even in high school I was told something quite colorful about fractals - so the fact that one has never heard of him before sounds to me a bit strange.Not to talk about NNT.Maybe they lack of general interest?If I were an interviewer I would be at least negatively surprised.
 
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albertmills
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October 21st, 2010, 7:22 pm

You think Benoit Mandelbrot falls into the realm of general knowledge?!?!I used to work at a place in the USA where I randomly asked one co-worker what they thought the population of the USA is. They answered 50 thousand. Then i asked about a dozen others, and the guesses ranged from 50 thousand to 50 billion, all of them off by several multiples of 10. This was in a city of about 2 million, and these were all ex-military or technical college people. I wouldn't have believed it if someone told me this story, but it's true. I also spoke to a MD recently who didn't know how to pronounce NASA
Last edited by albertmills on October 20th, 2010, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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DevonFangs
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October 21st, 2010, 7:36 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: albertmillsYou think Benoit Mandelbrot falls into the realm of general knowledge?!?!I used to work at a place in the USA where I randomly asked one co-worker what they thought the population of the USA is. They answered 50 thousand. Then i asked about a dozen others, and the guesses ranged from 50 thousand to 50 billion, all of them off by several multiples of 10. This was in a city of about 2 million, and these were all ex-military or technical college people. I wouldn't have believed it if someone told me this story, but it's true. I also spoke to a MD recently who didn't know how to pronounce NASAha ha 50 trillion maybeI can't believe it
 
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QuantOption
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October 21st, 2010, 7:39 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: albertmillsYou think Benoit Mandelbrot falls into the realm of general knowledge?!?!I used to work at a place in the USA where I randomly asked one co-worker what they thought the population of the USA is. They answered 50 thousand. Then i asked about a dozen others, and the guesses ranged from 50 thousand to 50 billion, all of them off by several multiples of 10.speaking of technical knowledge, I'd be questioning your if you said "off by several multiples of 10" instead of "off by several orders of magnitude" ;-)
 
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QuantOption
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Reality Check on General Knowledge

October 21st, 2010, 7:46 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: albertmillsYou think Benoit Mandelbrot falls into the realm of general knowledge?!?!I used to work at a place in the USA where I randomly asked one co-worker what they thought the population of the USA is. They answered 50 thousand. Then i asked about a dozen others, and the guesses ranged from 50 thousand to 50 billion, all of them off by several multiples of 10. This was in a city of about 2 million, and these were all ex-military or technical college people. I wouldn't have believed it if someone told me this story, but it's true.that reminds me of my story when I was in USA. I met a boy in the lift, could be 12-15 years old and he asked me where I'm from. I replied (some Europe country), ... when he said he had no idea I mentioned several neighbouring countries but it didn't help, so I said "from Europe", and we finished there as he had no idea where Europe is.
 
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Anthis
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Reality Check on General Knowledge

October 21st, 2010, 8:18 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: QuantOptionQuoteOriginally posted by: albertmillsYou think Benoit Mandelbrot falls into the realm of general knowledge?!?!I used to work at a place in the USA where I randomly asked one co-worker what they thought the population of the USA is. They answered 50 thousand. Then i asked about a dozen others, and the guesses ranged from 50 thousand to 50 billion, all of them off by several multiples of 10. This was in a city of about 2 million, and these were all ex-military or technical college people. I wouldn't have believed it if someone told me this story, but it's true.that reminds me of my story when I was in USA. I met a boy in the lift, could be 12-15 years old and he asked me where I'm from. I replied (some Europe country), ... when he said he had no idea I mentioned several neighbouring countries but it didn't help, so I said "from Europe", and we finished there as he had no idea where Europe is.Hard to believe!!! At least he knew how to read and write, right?
 
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barny
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October 22nd, 2010, 1:13 am

I think it's awful. I have never studied fractals before, or any mathematics in which Mandelbrot was involved, but knew about him since age 18 - if you just read around the topic of maths/physics for fun and read popular books you will have come across his name numerous times. Sadly there are so many ignorant people in this world who don't do/read/listen to anything outside their tiny little world. In this case, they haven't even read around their own subject!
Last edited by barny on October 21st, 2010, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Finance1987
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Joined: August 27th, 2009, 12:30 pm

Reality Check on General Knowledge

October 22nd, 2010, 1:27 am

Would exhibiting superior 'General Knowledge/awareness' cast a better impression on the person interviewing you? Does it outweigh technical prowess that isn't stellar? I think most people don't take General Knowledge or awareness seriously though.
 
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barny
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Reality Check on General Knowledge

October 22nd, 2010, 1:31 am

It might not help you in terms of a job interview, but it helps you in life. When you introduce yourself to people, it's good to know some general knowledge so that when they say they're from x or do y you can say something about x or y. Otherwise you just stick to small talk, right? Nobody likes small talkers.
 
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albertmills
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Reality Check on General Knowledge

October 22nd, 2010, 6:28 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: barnyIt might not help you in terms of a job interview, but it helps you in life. When you introduce yourself to people, it's good to know some general knowledge so that when they say they're from x or do y you can say something about x or y. Otherwise you just stick to small talk, right? Nobody likes small talkers.if it comes to making conversation it's a hell of a lot more useful to know sports than who mandelbrot is and i'll be you the guy who knows about mandelbrot can't talk about last nights game!
Last edited by albertmills on October 21st, 2010, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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