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Most lucrative degrees?

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Main Question or Discussion Point

What are the most lucrative college degrees?

Does having an MBA from Harvard guarantee that you will be a top executive of a fortune 500 company making almost 7-figures per year? Or a CEO making millions?

Does engineering pay more than medicine? What about law?

Apparently the only degrees that can land you a job making an excellent salary are engineering, law, and medicine.

People with other degrees usually make ~$40,000 dollars per year. Maybe $65,000 much later in their career if they're lucky.

In today's economy, most people with masters degrees from top-tier universities are not able to find work. This might change in a few years though.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #3
Dembadon
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Degrees don't make money, nor are they a ticket to making any specific amount of money. You are guaranteed nothing, outside of receiving a diploma, by getting a degree.

However, a degree can help you achieve your career goals.
 
  • #4
Pengwuino
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What are the most lucrative college degrees?

Does having an MBA from Harvard guarantee that you will be a top executive of a fortune 500 company making almost 7-figures per year? Or a CEO making millions?

Does engineering pay more than medicine? What about law?

Apparently the only degrees that can land you a job making an excellent salary are engineering, law, and medicine.
An MBA from Harvard guarantees you a piece of paper saying you're an MBA from Harvard. It's a pretty expensive piece of paper too. An MBA doesn't even guarantee you a job at McDonalds. Getting a degree from big-name-university doesn't mean you're going to be successful. Being successful is caused by your own abilities, not your degree.

Vague descriptions of fields are also meaningless. There are horribly paid engineer jobs and there are horribly paid law positions. At the very least, engineering doesn't typically saddle you with crushing amounts of debt like law and medicine. These fields are absolutely not the only jobs that can land you with an excellent salary. If you want to be paid big and deal with lots of money, go to where the money is, finance.
 
  • #5
An MBA from Harvard guarantees you a piece of paper saying you're an MBA from Harvard. It's a pretty expensive piece of paper too. An MBA doesn't even guarantee you a job at McDonalds. Getting a degree from big-name-university doesn't mean you're going to be successful. Being successful is caused by your own abilities, not your degree.

Vague descriptions of fields are also meaningless. There are horribly paid engineer jobs and there are horribly paid law positions. At the very least, engineering doesn't typically saddle you with crushing amounts of debt like law and medicine. These fields are absolutely not the only jobs that can land you with an excellent salary. If you want to be paid big and deal with lots of money, go to where the money is, finance.
What about the CEO's and top executives of giant corporations? Certainly they all have graduate degrees from top-tier universities. What about multi-millionaires and billionaires? Certainly they pursued their education far beyond high school. A bachelors degree from a name-brand university is required for most white-collar office jobs.

I heard that most graduates from Harvard business school as well as Wharton business school are given job placement on wall-street making six-digits their first year out of college. Is that really true?

A fancy degree does not guarantee that you will be successful, but it is definitely one of the prerequisites. Although there are some high school dropouts whom actually founded fortune 500 companies. For example, "Dave Thomas" dropped out of grade school and then created the fast food giant "Wendy's" and became a billionaire.
 
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  • #6
Pengwuino
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What about the CEO's and top executives of giant corporations? Certainly they all have graduate degrees from top-tier universities. What about multi-millionaires and billionaires? Certainly they pursued their education far beyond high school. A bachelors degree from a name-brand university is required for most white-collar office jobs.

I heard that most graduates from Harvard business school as well as Wharton business school are given job placement on wall-street making six-digits their first year out of college. Is that really true?

A fancy degree does not guarantee that you will be successful, but it is definitely one of the prerequisites. Although there are some high school dropouts whom actually founded fortune 500 companies. For example, "Dave Thomas" dropped out of grade school and then created the fast food giant "Wendy's" and became a billionaire.
Look through the top 10 in the Fortune 500 and look at the CEOs. Before this stupid *** computer deleted my post, there was 1 Harvard MBA, 1 Columbia MBA. There were 4 without finance/management type degrees period. All but 2 had BSs in an engineering/mathematics field.

The bottom line is, great people do great things regardless of their education. And to be honest, 6 figures in the finance world isn't much when your 1 bedroom apartment might cost $2M.

If you want to become a millionaire, go do what millionaires do - become CEOs, work in finance. Not many people become millionaires by going into science because it's simply not where all the money is. It would be like trying to become an NBA player by playing a lot of football. Sure there may be a couple of people in history who played a lot of football and ended up in the NBA, but if you want to be in the NBA, go play basketball, not football.
 
  • #7
Look through the top 10 in the Fortune 500 and look at the CEOs. Before this stupid *** computer deleted my post, there was 1 Harvard MBA, 1 Columbia MBA. There were 4 without finance/management type degrees period. All but 2 had BSs in an engineering/mathematics field.

The bottom line is, great people do great things regardless of their education. And to be honest, 6 figures in the finance world isn't much when your 1 bedroom apartment might cost $2M.
A college education is often required to do great things. A high school diploma strictly limits you to working at retail stores, convenience stores, gas stations, car washes, and generally jobs where your name is on your shirt. A job where your name is on your desk, or on your building for that matter, requires a thorough education. Usually a masters or professional degree from a name-brand university.

Very successful people without college degrees are extremely exceptional cases.

Off-topic, but if you work on Wall-Street, you'd better make heaps upon heaps of money in order to pay for the ridiculous cost of "new york living".

A tiny one-bedroom studio apartment in NY can cost as much as a pricey mortgage. And the closer your residence is to Manhattan, the higher the rent/mortgage.

Apartments on Manhattan island can cost millions.

Personally, I would much rather NOT live in New York, even if I was offered one of those extremely high-paying jobs on Wall-Street.
 
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  • #8
300
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Seriously!? More Harvard this and MIT that? Just when I thought you'd run out of questions to ask about stuff like 'Which college was better at everything?' or 'Will going to Yale guarantee you a great job, hot wife, and sports car?', but no.
 
  • #9
Pengwuino
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A college education is often required to do great things. A high school diploma strictly limits you to working at retail stores, convenience stores, gas stations, car washes, and generally jobs where your name is on your shirt. A job where your name is on your desk, or on your building for that matter, requires a thorough education. Usually a masters or professional degree from a name-brand university.

Very successful people without college degrees are extremely exceptional cases.
Wrong. The vast majority of people who don't attend college either do not have the drive to do something as simple as attend college or were raised in an environment where going to college is made impossible for whatever reason, be it family matters or socioeconomic reasons. The former group of people will never be great. No drive = No success. The latter group requires one to be unbelievably exceptional to not only become successful in the first place, but also get past the difficulties things such as poverty, family commitments, or cultural forces can cause that results in someone not going to college in the first place.

There are also a LOT of people who have no interest in a 7-figure salary, shiny new desk at the top of a skyscraper. There are MANY things that have to align for someone to be successful, none of which have anything to do with what is written on the pieces of paper in your office.
 
  • #10
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A college education is often required to do great things. A high school diploma strictly limits you to working at retail stores, convenience stores, gas stations, car washes, and generally jobs where your name is on your shirt. A job where your name is on your desk, or on your building for that matter, requires a thorough education. Usually a masters or professional degree from a name-brand university.

Very successful people without college degrees are extremely exceptional cases.
You should learn how to use amazing new tool called Google to fact check this stuff. If you've never heard of it, there is this site that can help you: http://lmgtfy.com/?q=Let+Me+Google+That+For+You" [Broken] Google is a great tool, I use it all the time to find out things about simple topics like this one.

There is another great site called http://www.wikipedia.org/" [Broken], you can find out all sorts of things about CEOs of actual companies that actually exist; for instance I looked at the Forbes billionaires list and saw that almost none of them finished college. Just by using Wikipedia for fifteen minutes!


It really is a bright and shining new digital age we live in! Thanks Google and Wikipedia! And May God Bless The Interwebs!

;4
 
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  • #11
Vanadium 50
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Does having an MBA from Harvard guarantee that you will be a top executive of a fortune 500 company making almost 7-figures per year? Or a CEO making millions?
Let's see, Harvard graduates 900 students per class. There are about 500 Fortune 500 CEO's.

Which part of this problem are you having difficulty with? Please show your work.
 
  • #12
S_Happens
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To add a little bit more, it varies widely in any field.

Personally, I work a blue collar job and make white collar money. My 2 year degree cost me less than 2 weeks pay (tuition only). My wife has a finance degree from a good school (not one of your uber-prestigious ones) and makes average money for her field, which is significantly less. My job is not the average across the nation, but in this area it's quite common.

I'm going back to school to finish my engineering degree. I don't ever plan to make the same salary again. It's neither all about the degree you have OR the money you make. We've always lived like my salary is half of what it really is, to allow us to save for my return to college. We still manage our finances well enough to live very comfortably.
 
  • #13
847
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Do you really want that kind of money? If you really do, the university you went to cannot possibly stop you. You will figure out a way to work around this.

That's where I like to tell the story of my brother. He got out of college at 23 with a BA. Two years from then, he was making more than the salaries of our parents (teachers) combined. He sold his Porsche a while back...

You should know that when he started out, there were days where he wouldn't earn a dime. There were also days where he earned nothing at all. (he set up his own company) His success has a lot to do with his ability for people to pay him for services (and not somebody else) and get them to feel good about it. And trust me, he's not a prostitute. He sells computers. Efficiency at dealing with people and clever marketing (among other things) got him where he is today. Note that he went to a college you probably have never heard of...
 
  • #14
mathwonk
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what do those nfl players major in? sports announcing?
 
  • #15
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Let's see, Harvard graduates 900 students per class. There are about 500 Fortune 500 CEO's.
Ah, but a 56% chance isn't bad!
 
  • #16
326
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Ah, but a 56% chance isn't bad!
lol, good point. I should have gone to Hahvahd.
 
  • #17
380
1
Ah, but a 56% chance isn't bad!
I don't think you understand the figures.

There are 500 Fortune 500 CEO's.. they aren't CEOs for a year and then move on and the next graduate comes to fill the position, they are CEOs for their entire career, spanning 15-40 years if not more (or maybe less, but still)

Harvard graduates 900 students PER YEAR... so over the average lets say 25 year job-span of a CEO that's 22,500 students graduating in that time... so using that figure (obviously it isn't entirely accurate) it's only a 4.00% chance. Not to mention that there are also schools like Yale, MIT, Oxford, Cambridge, etc. etc. etc. also pumping out high class graduates all competing for the same jobs.
 
  • #18
37
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Jeez, it's just a joke. Obviously the idea that you can come with a fixed probability of becoming a CEO of a Fortune 500 company is absurd.
 
  • #19
380
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You shouldn't make jokes like that on these forums. Most people will take it seriously. While my comment is no longer directed at you it deserves to stay because some people are going to read your 'joke' and get all excited thinking they can be a rich CEO.
 
  • #20
Pengwuino
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You shouldn't make jokes like that on these forums. Most people will take it seriously. While my comment is no longer directed at you it deserves to stay because some people are going to read your 'joke' and get all excited thinking they can be a rich CEO.
People that dumb usually find their way to our sister site, fisicsforums.com and look for the sections on PE teacher discussion.
 
  • #21
So having an MBA from an ivy-league university like Harvard or Yale is no guarantee that you will be a CEO or top-executive of a fortune 500 company?
 
  • #22
31
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So having an MBA from an ivy-league university like Harvard or Yale is no guarantee that you will be a CEO or top-executive of a fortune 500 company?
No, it most certainly is not.
 
  • #23
mathwonk
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i recall having this discussion with a young man at my church who was getting a degree from our flagship state university business school. he was very shocked when i suggested his business school degree did not guarantee him a job. later that year i went into wendy's for a burger and the familiar looking guy behind the counter gave me a very nasty look. when i got outside i remembered him as the young man from the church conversation.
 
  • #24
Pengwuino
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So having an MBA from an ivy-league university like Harvard or Yale is no guarantee that you will be a CEO or top-executive of a fortune 500 company?
No, did you not bother thinking about it and doing the math?

Start your own company and make yourself CEO. Done.
 
  • #25
Pyrrhus
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Why would an MBA from Harvard or any other top business school should guarantee you a job as a CEO in a Fortune 500 Company? In fact, when does getting a college degree guarantee you anything?

I don't follow that logic.

The point of going to college is to acquire tools that should be useful to solve problems in our "human world". It is because of those tools, and the need to hire people with those tools that you're able to find a job. However, your proficiency (and in cases your creativity as well) with those tools is very important, and it might help you become indispensable within a company or even come up with a brand new idea that might be of interest to consumers. This is typically the case for college degrees.

In the case of MBAs, you've to understand that the point of doing an MBA is not so much what you'll learn there, but rather the networking during your MBA. Internships, and club participations are HIGHLY IMPORTANT. It becomes a way to learn "corporate gaming" so to speak. However, that stills does not guarantee anything except that you'll be connected to a network that is difficult (or unknown) but still accessible to others without MBAs.

I think an important lesson to consider when you "grow up" is that the World is not so SIMPLE as if I do this and that then I'll get those. In fact, it is a little more complicated than that.
 

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