rtg24

The value of an MBA

31 posts in this topic

Now that you mention it, the students on http://web.mit.edu/cmi/ue/ were taking PhD-level classes - and they were third year undergrads! But I think it is because the US is slower initially.

That being said, I have a friend currently doing a PhD in MIT. He's working until 4am most days (and starting at 9am), works every weekend. He's hired 3 PAs (outsourced to India) to be able to focus all of his awake time on his work - even stuff like researching the literature is outsourced to a Philippino Masters degree in his subject. One of the professors in his lab came back to the lab to supervise an experiment the morning after her breast cancer surgery, still heavily reeling from chemo. That's the spirit I hear about. An undergrad built his own helicopter. Etc.

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As for experiences like Webb... they are great for one thing: to become a Rearden. To become great by virtue solely of your mind. To get invested in as an inventor on the basis of the quality of your invention. To work quietly on your Rearden Metal until you can spin it out, and make it fabulous.

I hear the UCLA biochem department is another such place - it recently received a few hundred million in funding from a financier and alumni who wanted to advance humanity and is doing ground-breaking work - but nobody respects UCLA on the level of Stanford or MIT!

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I wonder whether the MBA would be value-adding for a former member of the military, who needs to transition from the heavily structured and deterministic world of professional war making to the probabilistic/gambling-favouring "real world" of business, which is about calculated risk taking (Ray will probably correct me and point out that military action is also about calculated risk taking - I don't know much about this, so I'll defer to experts). I do know that there are a hell of a lot of former Israeli and US commandos working on the trading floors and the investment banking desk at Goldman.

Unfortunately, the U.S. military cannot fully escape the corruption of the culture that supports it. Today, the way to almost guarantee that one gets promoted as an officer in the military is to attend as many schools as possible, such as the National War College which is almost always something that an officer needs to further their career beyond a certain point. I would also offer that one of the reasons that "commandos" do so well in other fields is because they have real world experiences and are constantly adapting to real world situations. The commandos also spend so much time in the field that it unfortunately gets them overlooked when it comes to promotions in relation to their peers. Which I think is idiotic, as who would you rather have in a fire-fight with you, the solely class educated person, or the basically educated but real world experienced person? I think you know who I would take.

I have discussed these ideas before on this forum and have provided a couple links below.

http://forums.4aynrandfans.com/index.php?s...ty+Puller\

http://forums.4aynrandfans.com/index.php?s...ty+Puller\

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Which I think is idiotic, as who would you rather have in a fire-fight with you, the solely class educated person, or the basically educated but real world experienced person? I think you know who I would take.

Not just in a firefight. It applies to any situation, really - very few investment bankers have PhDs, because they are not useful to producing revenue. What produces revenue is an ability to be liked by clients and enormous experience.

You reminded me of the writings of Colonel Kurz in Apocalypse Now (and just HOW can people see that movie as hippie? If anything it argues that war should be ruthless and over quickly, criticizing the prevailing public opinion-shifted strategy). As Kurz explains to the officers how the war could be won with one quarter of the soldiers - incidentally making the point you made above about the draft - he is constantly ignored and eventually considered "mad" by the "class-educated" command when he takes matters into his own hands. I used to hate the ending, but now I understand - the US is pulling out, and Kurz, who was still defending his country's values even behind the lines and as a guerilla leader, therefore decides to retire, since he has nothing left to fight for.

Thanks for the links, they were interesting.

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Now that you mention it, the students on http://web.mit.edu/cmi/ue/ were taking PhD-level classes - and they were third year undergrads! But I think it is because the US is slower initially.

I took graduate-courses as an undergrad at my 3rd tier university, along with another classmate who did the same. It's really not a breathtakingly unusual thing for people to do.

That being said, I have a friend currently doing a PhD in MIT. He's working until 4am most days (and starting at 9am), works every weekend.

Sounds like he's wasting a lot of time. After a certain number of hours spent researching in any day, your brain will be sufficiently tired that the quality of any subsequent research you could get done is highly suspect. I have heard a number of good researchers/professors advise against spending too much time in a given day, or doing research while being tired, as often (especially with lab work) you'll just end up making careless mistakes that spoil the quality of what you are doing.

For whatever students are reading this thread, spending enormous amounts of time studying or researching is often impractical or unnecessary. You have to learn the practical difference between pushing yourself appropriately, vs working excessively in a manner that is ultimately ineffective.

In busy crunch-times one may obviously be in an unavoidable situation of very long hours spent studying/researching, but this shouldn't be the model or ideal lifestyle of a student. For sustainable productivity in school, a moderate amount of focused work every day (8-10 hours) on your research and studying, and slightly less on the weekend (3-6 hours per day maybe) is ultimately more practical than extended herculean efforts and sleepless nights. Burnout can happen to even the most motivated of students, and it can be paralyzing.

He's hired 3 PAs (outsourced to India) to be able to focus all of his awake time on his work - even stuff like researching the literature is outsourced to a Philippino Masters degree in his subject. One of the professors in his lab came back to the lab to supervise an experiment the morning after her breast cancer surgery, still heavily reeling from chemo. That's the spirit I hear about. An undergrad built his own helicopter. Etc.

Someone is completing a Masters project simply on reading literature? The professor had surgery and chemo?

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But MIT, according to my friend, is way, way, way ahead of Cambridge...
It's interesting that people keep bringing up MIT. The people I know who have done graduate work at MIT from Webb (the tiny engineering school I go to) have found it *easier* than the Webb curriculum.... one guy even woke up in the middle of the night in a panic and went to go see his adviser because he felt he wasn't taking enough classes. And Webb graduates are typically at the top of their MIT class, regardless of where they ranked at Webb. Considering nobody's ever heard of Webb, it makes me wonder how many other little engineering schools are out there that nobody's ever heard of that offer amazing experiences. (Harvey Mudd, I'm sure is up there.) And still, I could go on and on about the problems with the Webb education. Frankly, I suspect that there are problems with all the engineering schools. I'm beginning to wonder how much value should be placed on any degree. Anyway, I'd love to go into it, but there's a hydrodynamics project calling my name. Sorry for offering an opinion and no real supporting evidence - I'll do this later if I have time.

I sat in on an MIT Quantum Mechanics class when I was in high school, only to find a room full of bored students, one of whom was sitting beside me and drawing doodles on his paper. I'm sure the differences do exist (like I said before, the students generally at better schools are more motivated), but the differences probably aren't as great as people imagine.

It really depends on how you wish to evaluate the school. Many departments may be prestigious because of their acclaimed researchers, but could be lacking when it comes to properly educating their undergrads, or vice versa. What matters is how the university or department will fit your needs, not some context-less "prestige"-index that offers no practical information as to what education or researching there will actually be like.

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