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albertmills
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hbs grads make 3.3 million over 20 year career: does this sound right to you?"

June 14th, 2011, 5:27 am

according to this business week article hbs grads make a median of 3.3 mil over a 20 year career. This doesn't sound any better than what engineers make over a 20 year career, and i'm guessing that most people over the median came in with a banking or consulting background pre-mba and continued in that stream. so that would leave the corporate managers at or below the median. why would someone want to be a professional manager to make the same kind of money they could have made doing a more interesting job. http://www.businessweek.com/bschools/co ... 989005.htm
Last edited by albertmills on June 13th, 2011, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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DominicConnor
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hbs grads make 3.3 million over 20 year career: does this sound right to you?"

June 14th, 2011, 6:35 am

That's a good point, and one thing it illustrates is the issue of branding vs value add. Harvard is of course the top brand in business schools, but does it add all the much value ?Albert's numbers might imply that business schools do not represent an attractive ROIHowever, as a headhunter as well as someone who has had a real job, I know that some people look a lot better on paper than in real life, and some people find their careers faltering through some mix of bad luck and bad judgement.Therefore an MBA might represent a reboot that hikes you up when you were headed down or stagnating.That model fits rather well with the fact that a Harvard MBA is a serious chunk of time and money. If things are going well for you, why lose a year and a wad of cash ?Also, any education represents a reduction in earnings risk, and I do mean any education even though obviously some education has greater risk reduction than other types.Thus I'd like to know the shape of the distribution of earnings, not just the median. It's reasonable to pay a bit of cash to dramatically reduce the chances of ending up stacking shelves, and it is plausible that an MBA does that for you.But I don't know that for a fact. As I've said elsewhere I believe strongly that the most cost effective insurance against the worst case scenarios in your career is to seriously master Excel. No it won't make you head of prop trading at GS, but it can keep you from having to take a job in local government.Given the time and money budget of an MBA you could become a Jedi master of Excel, not just exotic formulas and VBA, but modelling, sucking data in from every kind of data source, being a guru at "what-ifs", optimising anything that has a maximum, producing exquisite graphs that compel customers and management to believe anything you say and drilling down to the critical factors that drive any business.I'd bet real money that an Excel Master would average a lot more lifetime earnings than the quoted figures for a Harvard MBA.
Last edited by DominicConnor on June 13th, 2011, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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QuantOrDie
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hbs grads make 3.3 million over 20 year career: does this sound right to you?"

June 14th, 2011, 10:57 am

Excelling (hah!) at anything will always be more valuable than getting a sheepskin, even from HBS.BTW, an average engineer does not earn 3.3 mill over 20 years at current prices, even with a phd (except in some very highly sought specialties).
 
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farmer
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hbs grads make 3.3 million over 20 year career: does this sound right to you?"

June 14th, 2011, 11:54 am

Could you break down those statistics into two averages, people who stay on the rails and people who fall off? Salaried employees are such a narrow sliver of the human experience, between residual claimants, lottery winners, heirs, and the unemployed, I would guess that most people slice off to one side or the other.If you can really manage to get paid a salary for 20 straight years, and have it be a significant percentage of your income, I think you are in a very narrow subset. And outside of that subset, I think "how you look on paper" matters a lot less. Nobody has ever paid more for vacant land, purchased from a speculator with a degree, because of the degree. I am sure some will nitpick that statement!
 
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Caesaria
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hbs grads make 3.3 million over 20 year career: does this sound right to you?"

June 14th, 2011, 12:18 pm

20 years would include, the 1990? Weren't salaries "relatively" lower back then? I doubt the number was normalized for average salaries each year. Anyway that works out to be 165K a year to make it to 3.3 mil in 20 years. And oil/gas engineers easily make as much, in current day salaries.
 
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mouth589
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hbs grads make 3.3 million over 20 year career: does this sound right to you?"

June 14th, 2011, 2:49 pm

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------And oil/gas engineers easily make as much, in current day salaries. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------If the above statement had been true all the bright minds in engineering would have gone for degrees in chemical/petroleum engineering.However most of the bright engineers are in software industry or doing MBA's in finance , Management consulting etc...why is this so? Is it the nature of work?
 
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traderjoe1976
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hbs grads make 3.3 million over 20 year career: does this sound right to you?"

June 14th, 2011, 3:10 pm

This $3.6 million figure for 20 years is highly inaccurate. It only considers base salary and does not take into account bonus or stock options. This data is based on responses to Payscale.com where the data is reported over several years and is outdated. The actual figure for 20 years would be in the range of $9 million for the Harvard MBAs. You can take a look at the Forbes salary data below: Forbes MBA Salary dataThe Forbes data is much more accurate and is in line with what the Business Schools report.Even the Forbes data was last collected in 2008 and may be less than the current figures.
 
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albertmills
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hbs grads make 3.3 million over 20 year career: does this sound right to you?"

June 14th, 2011, 3:16 pm

decent engineers working in the oil and gas industry do make about 165k a year over the course of their careers. check out the salary survey from a professional engineering organization in alberta or texas.people do go into it -- it's just that oil and gas jobs are mostly confined to Alberta and Texas (and the North Sea if you're in Eruope, etc.) , so it's not as well known as, say, IT which is all over the country . The media doesn't pay attention to oil and gas jobs -- they pay attention to what media types find sexy which is programming, consulting and banking, and many college grads don't really know anything beyond what they read in main stream media.Also PhD engineers often get paid less than experienced engineers doing ordinary engineering work for which there is a demand, as PhD's are typically doing something esoteric for which there is not much of a market.Dominic: where can i find a well paid job that requires superb excel skills only? Isn;t the oinyl job that you can get hired for with just a knowledge of excel temp data entry? I've never seen any job adds where excel expertise was the main pre-req.
 
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Caesaria
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hbs grads make 3.3 million over 20 year career: does this sound right to you?"

June 14th, 2011, 4:03 pm

Last edited by Caesaria on June 14th, 2011, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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QuantOrDie
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hbs grads make 3.3 million over 20 year career: does this sound right to you?"

June 14th, 2011, 10:59 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: albertmillsdecent engineers working in the oil and gas industry do make about 165k a yearThat's an example of the type of highly-demanded specialty I mentioned as a caveat...
 
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quantmeh
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hbs grads make 3.3 million over 20 year career: does this sound right to you?"

June 14th, 2011, 11:01 pm

engineering is not a good fit for quants. finance is the only place where math majors can make decent money, that's why they flock there
 
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DominicConnor
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hbs grads make 3.3 million over 20 year career: does this sound right to you?"

June 15th, 2011, 10:59 am

Albert, yes there are drudge data entry roles for Excel.However there is a steady market for people with some business knowledge and ability to translate that into Excel and/or sort out the mess of other people's Excel.I hope I did not set the expectation that this was high paying work, it usually is not, it's a way of staying in finance and keeping yourself adequately paid.The higher paid work is being a financial analyst with sharp Excel skills. That means you may make your way up the food chain because you can get things done, in the long term "getting things done" pays better than being smart.I'm not saying being an Excel Jedi is the route to riches merely that if you target finance and if the figures about MBAs are accurate then I'd expect you to earn more that way.More than once I've considered starting a business called (something like) The Spreadsheet Support Unit. Firms would pay for people who knew Excel deeply, weren't afraid of horribly broken workbooks, and had enough knowledge of various kinds of business to be able to lead people to a world where their spreadsheets worked for them, rather than people working against the spreadsheets.In terms of demand, I think its a viable business, but getting the staff would be quite horribly hard.
Last edited by DominicConnor on June 14th, 2011, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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farmer
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hbs grads make 3.3 million over 20 year career: does this sound right to you?"

June 15th, 2011, 12:16 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: DominicConnorMore than once I've considered starting a business called (something like) The Spreadsheet Support Unit. Firms would pay for people who knew Excel deeply, weren't afraid of horribly broken workbooks, and had enough knowledge of various kinds of business to be able to lead people to a world where their spreadsheets worked for them... In terms of demand, I think its a viable business, but getting the staff would be quite horribly hard.I have a similarly viable business idea involving pretty girls who are sane. My advice to girls: Become pretty and sane, and then I will be happy to take your call.
 
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GiusCo
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hbs grads make 3.3 million over 20 year career: does this sound right to you?"

June 15th, 2011, 12:43 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: DominicConnorAlbert, yes there are drudge data entry roles for Excel.However there is a steady market for people with some business knowledge and ability to translate that into Excel and/or sort out the mess of other people's Excel.I hope I did not set the expectation that this was high paying work, it usually is not, it's a way of staying in finance and keeping yourself adequately paid.The higher paid work is being a financial analyst with sharp Excel skills. That means you may make your way up the food chain because you can get things done, in the long term "getting things done" pays better than being smart.I'm not saying being an Excel Jedi is the route to riches merely that if you target finance and if the figures about MBAs are accurate then I'd expect you to earn more that way.More than once I've considered starting a business called (something like) The Spreadsheet Support Unit. Firms would pay for people who knew Excel deeply, weren't afraid of horribly broken workbooks, and had enough knowledge of various kinds of business to be able to lead people to a world where their spreadsheets worked for them, rather than people working against the spreadsheets.In terms of demand, I think its a viable business, but getting the staff would be quite horribly hard.I have seen the Light. Thank you Dominic.
 
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twofish
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hbs grads make 3.3 million over 20 year career: does this sound right to you?"

June 16th, 2011, 2:32 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: mouth589If the above statement had been true all the bright minds in engineering would have gone for degrees in chemical/petroleum engineering.It works the other way. For almost two decades, it was obviously a bad thing for someone that wanted to get ahead to go into petroleum engineering. So what happened is that no one did, and now that we have people retiring, there is a shortage.Personally, if I were thinking ahead, I'd get a degree in agriculture. Fields that are "sexy" get too many people, and fields that aren't don't.QuoteHowever most of the bright engineers are in software industry or doing MBA's in finance , Management consulting etc...Oil companies do hire large numbers of people with CS and MBA degrees.
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