Friday, February 17, 2017

Got a call from my old Alma Mater

It was a young female student, a senior, getting in some work for the alumni office, calling to thank me for a contribution I made a few weeks ago.  We got to chatting, about majors and the job market and how things were back when I graduated better than 40 years ago.  She thought things must have been better back then, especially after I mentioned that I had a job offer before I graduated.  I asked here what shw was majoring in.  "International relations" she said.  I refrained from saying anything while I thought to myself, "A real dead end major unless you want to join the State Dept or the CIA."  So I asked her if she had taken a course in computer programming.  "No, but I wish I had" was the reply. 
   After the phone call was over, I thought to myself, "There goes a nice young woman who is graduating with a major that won't help her get a job.  Let's hope she can marry the right guy."
   Lesson: if you are a student, or a parent of a student, you need to do some serious thinking about your college major.   The right major will get you a job upon graduation.  The wrong major and you are out of luck.  Decide now what you want to do for a living when you graduate.  Pick your major to make you employable in your chosen field.   Engineering (real engineering, chemical, electrical, mechanical, or civil) worked for me,  is fun to do, plenty of jobs, and decent pay.  The sciences, computer programming, business administration, and mathematics are also good bets.   
   Avoid the talky-talk "sciences" (sociology, anthropology, psychology, ecology) and anything with "studies" in its name (ethic studies, gender studies and so on). 
   If you just cannot stomach a STEM major, learn to write.  There is a tremendous demand for good English writing in business, industry, and government.  An English major or a history major will teach you how to write. 


GregL said...

If she goes on to get an MBA than she will be well placed for a international business and be able to articulate genuine understanding of the foreign culture better than Trump can.

Dstarr said...

I suppose. You are suggesting that you aren't educated enough until you have a post graduate degree. Perhaps. But I think a plain bachelor's degree ought to be all you need to get a job in your chosen field. The only career field that demands masters and doctorates is college professor. If you are a college prof, you need a doctorate to get tenure. My old boss, Bernie Gordon at Analogic, had a thing against MBA's, he refused to hire them for anything.
Far as I can see, State Department, CIA, and Peace Corps are the only places that an international relations major actually helps you.