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Job Skills Is it worth it to stay an extra year to get a BS in Stats?

  1. Oct 9, 2016 #1
    hello. I was originally planning to get a BS in statistics but then i chickened out because i feared that i might not be mathematically gifted/strong enough to get through the program, which would result in me not having the very basic in today's world : a bachelor's degree. So i switched to business with concentration in "decision Science" as a safety net ( don't ask, it's a dumb name that's mostly designed for the good of the university than the good of the students, so that they don't have to clash with their "management" major by naming it "management science".
    Well anyways, the concentration allows you to choose electives, and two of them are classes from the Statistics major core. I have already taken calc 2, which means in total i would have 8 classes left after completing the business major for the Statistics major. Is it worth it, in terms of employment prospects and time away from the work force, as well as me aging another year ( i would be just a few weeks shy of 25 when i finish the business degree, and a few weeks shy of 26 after finishing the Statistics BS degree.)
    I want some analyst position (like business intelligent analyst or data analyst). Assuming that i don't continue with a masters in Statistics, is a BS degree worth it to stay another year for employment prospects?
    Please help!
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 10, 2016 #2


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    I would suggest you google for some job adverts. Find a few that you think would interest you and see what skills they are looking for. Perhaps even apply for some to see if you can get interview experience? If they all turn out to need additional expertise in statistics then perhaps stay to do the extra year. Perhaps you will find you have already done enough statistics for what you want to do.
  4. Oct 10, 2016 #3


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    This is a rather hard question to answer. As CWatters suggest, you need to look at what is available for you based on your current criteria. It is possible to get a BI/DA job with the qualifications you have. In fact, it isn't entirely rare. However, a statistics degree tends to open up more doors with regards to analytics. It would be beneficial to get the STAT degree if you could, but i'm not entirely sure the marginal benefit gained from said degree is worth the extra year.

    Thus my advice is as follow: Apply for jobs with your current qualification and see what you can get. If none of the jobs match your desire, then stay for another year for the stat degree. Also, ideally, you would be apply to get an internship in BI/DA and that would probably negate the need for a stat degree at all.
  5. Oct 10, 2016 #4


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    Another way of looking at this has to do with how much you want to understand about statistics.

    It sounds like you're not too happy with the education that you've received so far. From what I've seen the quality of a lot of business degrees can vary from a rigorous education in economics and commerce to the fluff that you can pick up skimming the books in the business section at the airport bookstore. Unfortunately this can lead to a situation where as a graduate you're qualified for positions that have a degree/no degree threshold, but not a lot more in terms of what employers are looking for. In terms of management positions I think what really tends to count is experience, which you can get through internships or co-op programs.

    The thing with learning statistics is that this will add another dimension to the type of work that you're qualified to do. I don't know what the market is like for statisticians these days, but ultimately I think that you'll have more options available with that degree on your resume. Also, the simple fact that you've have a better understanding of statistics can be a major advantage as you build your career.

    The other thing is that the statistics degree opens up the possibility of graduate study if that's ever something you're interested in. Graduate school for a business degree is typically an MBA, but you can get into that from lots of different undergraduate degrees. Grad school may not be a priority now, but it might be a door to keep open for long term career-development.

    The flip side to this the opportunity cost to another year in school, which can be very difficult to gauge. Looking at Payscale.com the entry level (0-5 years) median salary for a business management degree is about $46k. For a stats major it's $57k. At 20+ years of experience you're looking at $82k vs $107k for the business and stats degrees respectively. So long term it looks like you can expect to earn on average about 20% more taking the statistics degree. You also have to think a little about career flexibility and whether you are likely to enjoy what you're doing. If you hate stats, that extra money might not be worth it.
  6. Oct 10, 2016 #5
    I don't see where you tell us what it's going to cost you. Is this going to be $20k of debt? Then probably not - get a job and get the stats degree on the side.

    Or are you in some program that would let you grab it for much less?

    The year isn't a big deal by itself - you'll be 26 either way.
  7. Oct 11, 2016 #6


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    You must balance your desires with you abilitiies, as in everything else in life. Either way you will have regrets. If you pursue your educational goals you will sacrifice career opportunities. If you pursue career opportunities, you will always wonder what might have been had you chosen another path. Your best judgement got you where you are now, and seems to be working just fine. Continue applying that skill.
  8. Oct 12, 2016 #7
    i'm going to school right now for free because my parents make so little money (this is my last year that i am still "dependent" on the FAFSA." The school i go to is a local state uni 4 miles away from my home (so i live with parents), and pays financial aid up to 120 units. I will get my BS business for free, but i don't know if i will surpass 120 units before i finish the BS stats. If not, the most i will pay for that extra year, however, would be around $7-8k, since that's how much it costs for a year at the school.
  9. Oct 12, 2016 #8
    but i'm not happy with my business degree. I'm not mentally simulated , and to be honest, i'm not learning anything at all. it's really just a vocational degree. And to be honest, i want a quantitative degree to stroke my ego. i feel like i'm wasting my youth if i'm not using my youth to learn something quantitatively challenging. The business degree is making me really depressed. The irony is that i switched to it because i doubted my abilities but it's actually harder to get started and finish homework because the material is just so mindnumbingly boring. For example, my least favorite class is this class called "Information systems for management", in which we just do access projects. Basically, you just learn to click buttons in Access, which rearranges their layout with every version, so it's going to be outdated anyways. This is stuff you can learn on yourself really quickly (another class i took last semester was how to use excel).
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2016
  10. Oct 12, 2016 #9
    Yeah i'm not happy at all with my education. :( Let's just say Business major isn't for anyone who is curious. All of my peers really aren't curious about anything - they just want to enter the work force to get a job to fuel their materialism.

    money isn't that important to be after a certain amount, since i don't want kids, and because i can just rent from my parents. I just want an education where i have learned critical thinking and quantitative skills and how to predict the future and stuff (which stats is the hallmark of). i also want a "fun" and mentally rewarding career that has me mentally engaged a lot of the time. business administrative work is just so *yawn*.

    I don't think there really are business degrees that are rigorous in theory. The definition of a business degree is really a vocational degree. Usually, when people say they are majoring in business and their degree is rigorous in math and economics, the formal title of their major isn't really "business", but rather the closest thing the school offers to business. For example, UC Davis and UCSD, among most UCs, both don't offer "business degrees" , but have, respectively, degrees called "managerial econ" and "management science", with the latter requiring the entire calc series and linear algebra, as well as many economics courses, and the major is part of the economics department.

    i'm quite depressed about my selection of major.... i'm not learning anything. I'm bored to tears. And i feel like i'm not moving toward, career-wise, where i want to be. I procrastinate on hw because not only is it boring, but it reminds me that this is what my career will be like, and that my education hasn't summed up to anything.

    I've been crying a lot lately and just no motivation/energy to do anything. sorry for sounding like a drama queen, but that's just how i feel, though i do admit my brain chemistry tends to be quite pessimistic about everything.

    I really just want a degree to stroke my ego and to make me feel like i know stuff in something relevant and useful. I also don't feel adequate with my current degree. The bare minimum i feel like i should have is a stats BS degree to feel "ok" or adequate about myself in terms of self esteem. It would be nice if that degree could help me land the job of my dreams, but that's really out of my control. The degree part, however, is much more within my control.
  11. Oct 13, 2016 #10


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    annoyinggirl, wanting a degree to "stroke your ego" or build up your self-esteem is a bad reason for seeking any kind of education. Your reasons for an education should involve either (a) as a means toward a career that you want, (b) a desire or passion to learn about a given subject, or (c) some combination of (a) and (b). This may sound harsh, but you have spent a considerable period of time on PF wallowing in self-pity about this or that.

    Your self-esteem should be based on who you are, and accepting yourself, not on what degree you have, not what others say or think about you, etc.

    Now that I got that out of the way, back to your original question...

    If you don't feel happy with the education you are receiving, it is well within your control to change it. I would strongly recommend staying the extra year for a BS in statistics. That's partly based on my own biases (as I'm a statistician), but also because a combination of knowledge/expertise in statistics plus a business background (plus whatever internship experience you can gain from now until graduation) can be highly lucrative. Many businesses are actively seeking people with quantitative backgrounds, and a dual background in statistics and business can only help you, job-wise.

    That being said, there is more to getting a great job than a degree. The other important piece involves communication skills, networking skills, and overall in how you present yourself to others. Think about it. Who is an employer likely to want to hire -- someone who is energetic, positive, eager to learn, and excited to join his/her company, or someone who is constantly doubting herself, negative, etc. This goes back to what I was saying earlier about your self-esteem -- you have to project a sense of positivity, optimism, and self-confidence, especially during your interviews. Trust me, this can go a long way toward getting the job that you want.
  12. Oct 13, 2016 #11
    Thanks, Statsguy! Yeah i've been thinking about this long and hard the past few days, and i have decided that i will stay the extra year to get that stats degree, because there's just no other way to feel motivated and happy, or to even get work done in my current major.

    The only thing, though, is do you think age 26 is too old for entry level stats work? But i guess that one year wouldn't make too much of a different, would it?

    I know what you say about interviews and attitude is true, and i will at least try to fake it till i make it. People at school don't know that i am as neurotic as i actually am... i have become good at pretending that i am happier and more well-adjusted. Hell, a few years ago people at my physics class thought i was always so happy and energetic (in a dumb-blonde kind of way though).

    one thing i don't understand, though, is how does self-esteem not rely on your education, though? my education is part of who i am, right?

    thanks so much everyone! it means the world to me :) :)
  13. Oct 14, 2016 #12


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    The answer is no, it does not matter (you don't enter your birth date on your resume to begin with, and 26 is not old to begin with). I started entry level work around that age, and it has not affected me, and others can attest to the same.

    My point is that self-esteem is ultimately about how you feel about yourself, and your ability to accept and love yourself for who you are. I have always operated under the assumption that one should always believe in yourself, because once you do, then you are on the path to achievement in many aspects of your life. Education plays into it, but it's only one small part.

    Also, don't tie your self-esteem to any one particular task or achievement. Because in life, there are moments where you may struggle or not immediately succeed, and you have to have the ability to be resilient, pick yourself up, learn from your mistakes, and move forward. Success is born out of trying, failing, and learning from your failures.

    I try personally to live by this philosophy (a struggle at times), and while I'd like to think that I'm reasonably "successful", I've struggled and failed at tasks before, but I've always believed that I can succeed in the end and never gave up. I'd like to believe that's why I am where I am now.

    Anyways, I want to wish you all the best! :)
  14. Oct 14, 2016 #13
    thanks statsguy! when you started an entry level job at around age 26, was it with your masters in stats degree, or did you get that later on?
  15. Oct 15, 2016 #14

    Fervent Freyja

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    The problem seems to me that you don't feel as if you are being challenged. I don't think you can attribute it to a desire to 'stroke your ego'! You shouldn't underestimate yourself so much, working hard (the challenge you want) will get you there. Though, I think that you should avoid trying to take on work at first that is too far above your learning threshold; now, that will lower your self-esteem if it turns out to be too difficult. I do believe that those who do well in mathematics worked very hard for their skills, labeling them 'gifted' makes it seem as if it were easy for them. I don't know you, but I can sense from your posts on PF that you could most certainly succeed in statistics. I think that you can do it. I do sense that you have an awful lot of pent up drive, annoyinggirl- not everyone has that. You just need to learn how to take all that mental energy you have and direct it towards your goal. You are right to worry about being unable to unleash it with an unchallenged future. I, myself, fervently itch at times. Nothing is more frustrating than being unable to dance to a song when you don't know the steps. I have even shut myself in the bathroom and beat on the floor because of my weaknesses in mathematics. I would give my big toes for it. I know the sort of crying you write about. You may need a distraction that is productive towards your goal and improves your self-esteem. Have you thought about tutoring mathematics on campus?

    Because you are on a grant, I do think that it would be best to complete the business program so that those credits you earned aren't lost. I assume that you mean that you originally went to earn a business certification, not degree, and changed it to a BS in Business. Because, you wanted to at least have a degree. Did I get that right? Have you thought about changing it back and getting the business certification, then also majoring with a BS in Statistics? The certification in business should be less credits than the BS in Business, which means you would have more remaining credits to place towards a BS in Statistics. That may not put you behind for a year. Also, why are you even worrying about your age?

    Everything will be alright! You cannot stay in that state forever- if you don't give up, of course. :smile:
  16. Oct 15, 2016 #15

    Stephen Tashi

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    Unlike some of your other advisors, I agree that a feeling of self-esteem is of critical importance. What you need to analyze is whether a degree in statistics is a way to provide that feeling and whether it is the only way to provide that feeling.

    Some things to consider:

    Don't overestimate the effectiveness of statistics. Applying statistics to real world problems is a highly subjective process. In textbook problems, there is unique correct answer and correct method. However, when you so a statistical analysis of a real world problem, you aren't going to be confident that you have made a correct analysis or prediction - unless you happen to have the type of personality that always thinks it has done things correctly. Technical knowledge can help you in discussions and debates about "the" answer to a problem - but do you enjoy discussions and debates? People who are very competitive intellectually enjoy them. Do you ?

    In most organizations the technical staff that does analysis and predictions is not the staff that makes decisions. So will you enjoy predicting the future and then not being able to take any action about it yourself except to give presentations to "decision makers". Some people are thrilled by accomplishments such as "I gave a presentation to the board of directors" or "I briefed the general". Will that sort of thing give you a feeling of accomplishment?

    There are often posts on the forum that say something like "I only have average intelligence, should I pursue a career in physics? " Or "I am poor, should I pursue a graduate degree in mathematics". If the questioner mentions a "passion" for physics or mathematics, the advice is usually "Yes, go ahead and follow your dream. You can do it, it just takes hard work". Among physicists and mathematicians, most will find it hard to imagine anyone having a "passion" for statistics and you haven't used language like that anyway. You have only expressed a desire to learn something worthwhile, which is isn't a grandiose as wanting to know how the universe works. If you do have a passion for wanting to know how the universe works -as opposed to how Excel works, then express that thought and you may get different advice.

    (I think posters who express a passion for science also have an interest in stroking their own egos. We all have such an interest. )
  17. Oct 15, 2016 #16


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    I received my masters in statistics later on (my very first entry level job was working as an analyst for a bank -- I worked for a little less than a year before going back to school to finish my masters. My first official job after masters was as a statistician for an engineering firm in specializing in robotics, which I've written about here on PF).
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