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Ivy Leaguers' Big Edge: Starting Pay

  1. Aug 5, 2008 #1


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    I thought this was interesting.


  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 5, 2008 #2


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    There are a couple of selection effects:
    School career services tend to only track those grads in traditional (=well paid) jobs, they don't average in anyone travelling, working as an artist or flipping burgers.
    It's probably also only true for general business type jobs, ie those not related to their degree, where who you know is more important. I don't know that there would be such a discrepency if you only looked at aerospace engineers or physicists.

    Chemical engineering depts in particular used to make a big thing that their graduates earned twice the average - because 100% of their grads went straight into jobs.
  4. Aug 5, 2008 #3
    Also, top schools only take successful people, so it's no surprise that these people end up, well, succeeding.
  5. Aug 5, 2008 #4


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    But is the material covered for a particular degree any different? Or is it taught in a more effective manner?
  6. Aug 5, 2008 #5
    I think this is a pretty solid explanation. We're looking at statistical data - not everyone who comes out of an ivy league school makes 34% more than anyone from a state university; that's silly. Rather, the Ivies have a rich tradition of taking in students that are ambitious and already have a plan for their future. Sure there's some who probably didn't deserve it (they usually end up in Congress) but for the most part it's gold in, gold out.

    At an individual level, it doesn't matter where you choose to get a degree from. Out of an ensemble of people good enough for Harvard though, many of them are going to choose to go to Harvard.
  7. Aug 5, 2008 #6


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    They take only rich people ( or those with rich parents ) this tends to be a good predictor of future wealth.
  8. Aug 5, 2008 #7
    Keep in mind that when you enter the work force (business cycle) and if you *could* get acceptance to an Ivy are significant factors, with the first being the stronger for prediction of earnings over one's life time and the latter showing up in mid career (iirc).

    Edit: Of course this was starting pay, but what about starting debt?
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2008
  9. Aug 7, 2008 #8
    I can't really tell if this is a joke.

    My guess is it's rather low: Princeton, which is #2 on this list, has often the lowest debt upon graduation of any undergrad school. Their need-based financial aid, along with more recently Harvard's and Yale's, are the most exhaustive in the nation.

    Princeton actually did a recent study on this topic. Their results showed that the strongest predictor of future wealth was not if one attended a "top-tier" school or if one was even accepted, but if one bothered to apply to one at all. The ambition and drive of students who apply to these schools make the difference, regardless of acceptance.
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2008
  10. Aug 8, 2008 #9
    Agree, something like 40% of a persons earnings accounted for by their parents.
  11. Aug 8, 2008 #10

    Vanadium 50

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    It must be. I went to a top school, and my family was not rich. Not even close. While I was not in the first generation of my family to go to college, I was the first to go full-time and immediately after graduation.
  12. Aug 8, 2008 #11
    Agreed. I have met/worked with many students and professionals from top level schools, UofM, Purdue, etc and while some of them have been very intelligent others have been, well not. I like to believe its the person that makes the professional and not the degree.
  13. Aug 8, 2008 #12


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    Yes - so was I, but both of us decided to go and do technical subjects, that's not the average ivy league graduate, if you compare the salaries of physics grads from ivy league and not there won't be much difference.

    But if you compare the 'average' grad then you incude a lot of people who do the ivy league equivalent of PPE and immediately get a job on Wall st/Washington because of family connections. Apparenlty even if you a complete moron you can still take over your father's job.
  14. Aug 8, 2008 #13
    One need only consider the sitting U.S. President to realize that this is the case. :rofl:
  15. Aug 8, 2008 #14


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    I am a little skeptical about Payscale ; in the past their data on entry level chemists was substantially different from that of the ACS data . Also it seems that their data on these average salaries are inflated which may mean that people who fill out their surveys are more eager then those who are deprived . Just go to their site and browse through the salaries that are listed for your job .
  16. Aug 8, 2008 #15
    I think you're referring to this National Bureau of Economic Research working paper, which was eventually published in the Quarterly Journal of Economics. As you mention, that study accounts for some important selection effects that are ignored by the PayScale study.
  17. Aug 9, 2008 #16
    Yes, that's it! Thank you for posting the link.

    Haha! :tongue:
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