– except in a few highly technical fields – medicine, hard sciences, engineering – the actual training received to get a college degree matters little economically. Just ask any English major working at Starbucks.
– the cost of college, especially in hard economic times, is rarely worth it except to those highly-trained specialists mentioned above.
– the chief purpose of college is to enforce a certain cultural uniformity on the ‘product’ (standard disclaimer: I have a lovely undergrad degree in classics and a Master’s in Finance and International Business. This is not sour grapes.)
Business school is particularly transparent in its function of simply screening applicants for the right stuff: to get an MBA, one must prove one can follow orders, put up with arbitrary rules and structures, complete boring tasks in a timely fashion and, more fundamentally, live quietly in a world with a certain set of economic and social structures. (for example, does bother you much that the CEO gets 100 times the pay of the janitor? That the C-suite guys and gals get to do all the jetting around and tropical vacations as a reward for laying people off? Business school tests if these things bother you enough to do anything about them. From the hiring company’s POV, any hesitation or reservations about the morality of what the company does is anathema. An MBA pretty much guarantees that won’t happen.
Anyway, will today write a large check to my eldest son’s college. He’s learning classics, Latin, philosophy – you know, the kind of economically useless stuff that makes a man educated. I’m happy to do it, because I know college doesn’t create jobs anyway – people create jobs, and good people create good jobs.