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Most lucrative degrees?

  1. Aug 26, 2011 #1
    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.
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  3. Aug 26, 2011 #2


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  4. Aug 26, 2011 #3


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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.
  5. Aug 26, 2011 #4


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    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.
  6. Aug 26, 2011 #5
    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.
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2011
  7. Aug 26, 2011 #6


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    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.
  8. Aug 26, 2011 #7
    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.
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2011
  9. Aug 27, 2011 #8
    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.
  10. Aug 27, 2011 #9


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    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.
  11. Aug 27, 2011 #10
    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!

    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  12. Aug 27, 2011 #11

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    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.
  13. Aug 27, 2011 #12


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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.
  14. Aug 27, 2011 #13
    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...
  15. Aug 27, 2011 #14


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    what do those nfl players major in? sports announcing?
  16. Aug 27, 2011 #15
    Ah, but a 56% chance isn't bad!
  17. Aug 27, 2011 #16
    lol, good point. I should have gone to Hahvahd.
  18. Aug 27, 2011 #17
    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.
  19. Aug 27, 2011 #18
    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.
  20. Aug 27, 2011 #19
    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.
  21. Aug 27, 2011 #20


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    People that dumb usually find their way to our sister site, fisicsforums.com and look for the sections on PE teacher discussion.
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