Scott Adams on how to get a real education.

You’re lucky. It took me an MBA (from one of the top schools in entrepreneurship) and 12 years of working for and with dot coms, startups, venture capitalists, “incubators”, web 2.0 companies and consulting firms to figure that out.

Every time I’m at some seminar starring some keynote speaker who is praised for “having started over 5 companies”, I think about slackers like Bill Gates or Mike Bloomberg who just started the one.

I was lucky in another sense. Twenty five or so years ago, I attended a series of lectures on entrepreneurship at the Smithsonian. The half-dozen successful business people included people like Mary Kay (the cosmetics person) and Amar Bose (the stereo guy).

What they all had in common, and what rather horrified me, was how they were all perfectly willing to allow close family and friends to invest in their shaky schemes. There was story after story of how their parents mortgaged their homes to finance their dreams. Ultimately it was a combination of chance and perhaps clever marketing that allowed them to succeed, not anything overwhelmingly superior or unique about their products.

Honestly, I could come up the an idea that I was convinced was the best idea in the history of the world, and I would never dream of allowing my parents or anyone else close to me to risk their own financial future to finance developing my idea into a business product.

It’s not that they aren’t smart enough, it’s that it doesn’t do society any good. Public education shouldn’t be considered a consumer good as long as it’s publicly funded. I don’t much care if the student gets something out of physics class if the public doesn’t.

If someone can specifically point out the positive externalities of teaching an average kid calculus, then we’ll talk.

I think our society is improved by having more people exposed to science and art (and so on). Maybe it doesn’t make sense to spend resources trying to teach advanced mathematics to most people, but the touchstones of culture belong in all generalist schools, from elementary on.

He’s an idiot.

First of all, a 3.5 is still a pretty darn good GPA. It’s just not perfect.

Second, I highly doubt there is a strong correlation between low GPA and creativity.

Third, when is having the intellect and discipline to produce a perfect academic record ever a bad thing in any discipline? Do you want to be treated by a C level doctor? Or work in a skyscraper designed by a C level engineer? Or defended by a C level lawyer?

And fourth, I had a pretty mediocre GPA. It wasn’t because I was “creative” (although I am) or because I “wasn’t challenged” (I was). It was because I would rather do nearly anything besides sit in a library and study for hours. It’s not like I was using that time to design a cure for cancer or a better lightbulb or some shit.
It’s basically populist, anti-intellectual, mediocre-ist crap that sends a message that tries to treat hard work and discipline as character flaws while rebranding fucking around and laziness as “social skills” and “creativity”.

It reminds me of a a company I was at a few years ago. One of my coleagues was and is an idiot, but he’s good at buying into hype. At one of our useless boondoggle corporate party trips, he’s like “these trips are great for networking with other people in the company!” Except when I asked him to name three people he met from other offices, he became very defensive and angry.

The point is, don’t try to sell me that spending four years getting drunk with your fraternity brothers instead of studying demonstrates “superior networking and team building ability”.

I don’t care what anyone says. If you get accepted to Harvard, you should probably go. It may have been easier for me to learn advanced calc when I had to retake it during the summer at the local state college. But my prestigious private university still is the one that goes on my resume.

What are these magical jobs that unjustly require a college degree but should only require nothing more that a high school diploma? Which in this day and age is barely an indication that you can read, write and perform basic math.

Or to look at it another way, why should I hire someone who is only qualified to be a drone when I can hire a highly educated professional who might actually be able to grow with the company?
And don’t complain about me thinking you are an idiot if you lack my advanced knowledge of math, science, physics, engineering, accounting, finance, marketing, economics and all the other subjects I have been formally educated in.

Remind me: Which majors allow you to get a 4.0 without exhibiting creativity?

I don’t think that his point was that 4.0 students were non-creative period, but that getting a 4.0 was likely to be indicative of someone hyper focused who had fully quaffed the social Koolaid. His notion seemed to be that while these 4.0 achievers might make highly competent technicians, engineers, doctors, and other similar high end worker bees, that counting on them to look outside the box was not a good bet. His assumption was that 3.5 students would be more creative in seeking alternative solutions as they were less rigid.

The problem is that this is an assumption, not backed up by any relevant data. Now one could argue that academic achievement is not a relevant data point for a particular job. If that is the case, then other data can be used. For example a portfolio of art might be used for a graphic designer or architect. If “social skills” are important (say for a sales job), I might look at someone who was voted Prom King or president of his fraternity over high academic achievement.

I would also submit that above a 3.5 is typically “good enough” to get hired at even the most prestigeous and competetive companies. At that level, they are looking for other traits as well such as demonstrated leadership and ability to communicate.

Probably, yes. I wasn’t saying otherwise. I was saying that traditionally the “best schools” are the ones that admit the students with the best resumes, and that recently some people have been arguing that maybe the best schools (or the ones that are most cost-effective) are the ones that improve students’ grades the most.

This sounds like the sort of notion advanced by people who just didn’t get 4.0 GPAs. It frankly sounds like a crock.

I suppose it depends on what you want the school to be “best” at. If you want a school that will be best at providing you a lucrative job afterwards, I’d stick with the traditional “best schools”.

Is it better to be a consistent top performer or to be “most improved”?

This is the Scott Adams who makes a living mocking a manager that doesn’t understand the technology his workers are creating? Wow. :rolleyes:

It also depends on what your budget is. If you don’t have the money to go to some of the biggest name schools or don’t want to take on that kind of debt, it makes sense to figure out where you might learn the most about your major and where your tuition money goes the farthest.