Writing is number two!
Lyons and Beilock said their work implies that teaching students to control their emotions prior to doing math may be the best way to overcome the math difficulties that often go along with math anxiety. Without this initial step, simply providing additional math instruction or allowing students to become distracted by trying to squelch emotions once a math exam has begun is likely to prove ineffective in producing math success.
Over the past year, I have interviewed the founders of more than 200 Silicon Valley start-ups. The most common traits I have observed are a passion to change the world and the confidence to defy the odds and succeed.
It is the same in business. In the two companies I founded, I was involved in hiring more than 1,000 workers over the years. I never observed a correlation between the school of graduation or field of study, on one hand, and success in the workplace, on the other. What makes people successful are their motivation, drive and ability to learn from mistakes, and how hard they work.
My research team at Duke and Harvard surveyed 652 U.S.-born chief executive officers and heads of product engineering at 502 technology companies. We found that they tended to be highly educated: 92 percent held bachelor’s degrees, and 47 percent held higher degrees. But only 37 percent held degrees in engineering or computer technology, and just 2 percent held them in mathematics. The rest have degrees in fields as diverse as business, accounting, finance, health care, arts and the humanities.
The further out you are from college graduation, the less your success is attributable to the field in which you majored, and the more your success is attributable to a set of abilities imparted by any top-tier bachelor’s-level education: critical thinking, problem solving, rhetoric, the ability to work in teams, leadership, conflict resolution. The sciences and engineering certainly have no monopoly on imparting these skills.
But the advantage possessed by career-oriented majors may be short-lived. Once in a career path, the more general skills of communication, organization and judgment become highly valued. As a result, liberal arts graduates frequently catch or surpass graduates with career-oriented majors in both job quality and compensation. A longitudinal study conducted several years ago by the National Center for Educational Statistics found that the wage differentials that existed between career-oriented majors and academically oriented majors were all but eliminated within 10 years after graduation.
In the end, success in the job market is likely less about the specific concentration a student has in college than the development of a range of skills and knowledge that can be applied to a rapidly changing work environment — the historic goal of a true liberal education.
In the Information Age, as everybody knows, writing is essential in just about every profession — business, law, science, education, media, etc. Whenever corporate leaders and manufacturers are surveyed about employee skills, writing always comes out near the top. This makes humanities coursework a crucial training ground for careers far from the prose of the Gettysburg Address and the verse of “Paradise Lost.”
Rypple is a social performance platform built for teams to share goals, recognize great work, and help each other improve. With Rypple, performance management becomes painless and effective.
Khan Academy has some interesting ideas on faster feedback. How can tools like the one above be used in education?
Thought #1: Research Trumps All
This is the master thought that most of the other thoughts support. The job of a graduate student is to learn how to do professional-quality research. At the end of your grad school experience you will be judged by the quality and quantity of the research. And that’s basically it. Remind yourself of this truth often. If you’re not making progress on your research, then radically rethink your scheduling priorities.