The Non-DB MBA

The musings of a decidedly non-douche-baggy future MBA.

The ROI of a college degree

Last week the Washington Post reported on a new study that compares the salaries of different undergraduate majors. Surprise, surprise: engineering majors make more than English majors.

Elsewhere, the Chronicle of Higher Education said that the study “sheds light” on “the importance of the undergraduate major.” 

This isn’t quite right. The report sheds light on how much people who are inclined to major in certain subjects earn on average. It’s not as though the researchers randomly assigned a group of college students to different majors and tracked their lifetime incomes.

People who major in engineering usually differ in significant ways from English majors; it’s not as though someone who’s inclined to major in English can just switch majors and end up earning as much as the average engineering major.

Also notice that business majors earn a lot more than liberal arts majors, even though business majors supposedly don’t learn as much in college as other students and are the biggest slackers. What does this say about the purpose of going to college?

  • 30 May 2011
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