SlashDot readers: A recurrent SlashDot forum topic
A "What can I do that's high-paying with my
hard-science degree and/or analytical experience?"
Arguably, the best answer is:
B quantitative business analytics. (Rough translation: Aiding executives to see more THAN the numbers by seeing more IN the numbers
— a highly evolved form of what predictive analytics and BI attempt.)
As attaining B is simply a matter of acquiring very specific analytical and communication skills to supplement your innate ability in abstract, analytical thinking, there's no value in pursuing lengthy, general purpose alternatives vaguely targeting less able thinkers. For those few comfortable with abstract, anaytical thought, the most efficient route to "B,"
is our Core programsAs with all isa (integrated strategic analytics) programs, the Core programs present
ALL key elements of Accounting, Economics, Finance, Marketing, Operations, and Quant
within an integrated, analytical framework. (No silo-centric coverage.)
The isa learning approach is task-centric — as opposed to theory-centric — and is entirely hands-on.
The perspective is strategic, so all analysis is undertaken with a full understanding of
The isa Core is quant-lite; college finite math (geometry, algebra, and trig) suffices.
...and help requested: We're wrestling with how to get the student costs to a minimum and need your help on some administrative specifics. BTW, "distance-ed" is a non-starter since it's proved a disaster for building the face-to-face communication skills imperative for career success.
Specifically, we're trying to figure out how to provide solo-individuals
(at a cost comfortable for them) the education available to corporate
fast-trackers in (astronomically... as in $55,000 per semester! high priced) CLOSED-enrollment, cohort programs. Would you please take a few minutes to help us try to do so? Where we
need your help is in balancing (1)"do-able" for working students with
(2)"sustainable" as a program:
(1) Do-able contemplates a variety of
costs: Tuition, travel, time, room, and board.
(2) Sustainable is more focused: TuitionTuition
for even the relatively inexpensive OPEN-enrollment courses runs:
AMA ($1048/day and up), Chicago ($1450), Wharton ($1750). Tuck (Dartmouth),
at $1640, bless 'em, at least throws in room & board. Worse than daily
tuition rates, coverage roughly commensurate with our Core requires a
bunch of courses. Of the above, the worst offender is the AMA, requiring
47 days and totaling some $57,805.
Unbelievably, it gets even worse. No matter how many you take, NONE provides
any quantitative analytics. ALL target working-Joes with typical baccalaureate,
non-preparation in mathematics. While most reflect the good sense to remain
silent on analytics and computation, one of the AMA's ($1998/day!) in
advanced (?!?) finance trumpets the stipulation that participants bring
an HP-12c. All courses are presented in, now traditional, silo-centric isolation.
Click "Tuition" for reference links.
constitutes the critical factor in retaining
qualifiedQuick question: How many B-School professors do
you know who are/have been C-Level executives?
Now, eliminate from your list any who aren't conversant with vector (tensor
preferred) calculus, applied statistics, operations research, and IT; multinational experience required.
Familiarity with OOP, numeric methods, sparse hypercube compression, and CAD/CAM
highly desirable. See the problem? professors.
Observation: As should quickly become clear, we're not remotely interested in superficialities, e.g., diplomas (see para. next). We are profoundly interested in ability; this, too, should quickly become clear. Once "launched" in the corporate sphere, those with real ability (here: analysis AND communication) are rapidly and favorably noticed.
Tips: Virtually all resumes are screened via some form of AI, looking for telltale such as, "MBA." If all that you're trying to do is increase your chances for an interview, matriculate in a local MBA program and add "MBA" to your resume with a vague "stab" at a prospective graduation date. For those feeling less compelled to hew to the truth — ahem — you might just make the addition to your resume ... and matriculate if and as it proves a potential "issue." Either way, you'd not be breaking any new ground. You should also join
MENSA"Psst! Don't tell anyone." Far from "genius-level," being in the
top 2% of the general population suffices for membership., it's far easier than you might think. It's, also, about the only credible way to say that you're smart without offending ... unless of course you've won a Nobel prize.
If you're in a real hurry, here's a link to the SURVEY, though you might do well career-wise to read on and work through this example, too. For you confirmed autodidacts, here's a (worst case) do-it-yourself primer and reading list. (Engineers, etc., can obviously skip the remedial math which should leave only a few months of spare time reading. However, we've included some advanced titles anticipating the content of our "Engineering-level" modules, e.g., partials, calculus of variations, line integrals.) In all, it should keep most gainfully occupied for a time.
Crisis = Opportunity: First, some level-setting.
Feel-good rhetoric aside, businesses are in business to make a profit. Forget vision
and passion (Bang & Olufsen's CEO as visionary, 12/05); be profitable (B&O CEO and earnings up, 7/07) and have positive cashflow or it's, "Game
Over" (B&O CEO fired, 1/10/08). Globalization and the looming depression are heightening
these profitability and cashflow imperatives. With executives ever more
painfully aware of their need to better understand where their business
is and where it's headed, there's a growing, global need for analysts who
AND able to effectively
different kind of "fortune" cookie:
Making the boss feel stupid is ill-advised; making the PHB look stupid is suicidal.
Making the "suits" feel smarter makes you look smarter.
Communicate using appropriate economic concepts couched in accounting-ese.
Mathematics annoys and alarms non-quants; present graphically in Excel.
Support Excel with SUCCINCT PowerPoint slides; avoid Redmond-induced excitement,
You're NEVER writing a mystery: State conclusion first; support it with
"arguments" in descending importance order. Executive
crises constitute opportunities for those capable of bringing analytical, abstract
thought — e.g., engineers, CS/IT-types, JD's (surprise!) — to bear on complex business problems. (Aside: The perspective must be strategic and the analytical approach must be integrated, of course.)
WTF ... Business = Mathematics? At root, any business
is a system predicated upon rates of change, related rates, systems of
differential & integral equations, myriad endogenous/exogenous variables, and so
on. Business analysis is, therefore, about inflection points, complex
dynamics, risk probabilities, and n-space
Being the PHB is seldom the lark most presume; therein
lies the opportunity.
Instead of physical 3-space/time (skipping quantum space), one's confronted
with: multiple economies and taxation authorities (global, hemispheric, national, regional,
state, municipal), product/market (sector, competition, channel, feature-set,
value-proposition, life-cycle stage), firm-specific circumstance (capitalization,
investor expectations, liquidity, cash flow, profitability, labor relations,
equipment/facility condition, product "pipeline") to name but a few. All bear
on corporate decision-making.
Moreover, whereas the four-forces are (largely) predictable, the economic
arena features actively adversarial competitors, arbitrary (generally
ambiguous) rules, and un-knowable terrain.
Chess it is not.
systems. Individual businesses are bundles of portfolios; individual
portfolios are vector matrices; individual investments — securities,
products, processes, people — are vectors. Though the math-lite Core sips.
Okay, this is an admittedly corny Easter Egg.
His fellow principals don't, but your scribe gleefully accepts postings
to micro-brewery towns. Sadly, this [photo from France] has yet to prove
among them! Suggestions for running sessions in such locales are always
warmly welcomed — still way too many functional grey cells for current
Sláinte!at these concepts, the other isa courses exhibit less restraint.In
short, much of business analysis finds analogs in field theory.
Familiarity with sources/sinks and div/grad/curl "works" in much of the
advanced work. Not in direct application, rather, they constitute useful
abstractions for internalizing conceptual frameworks. For instance, in advanced
financial work, even dim recollection of DSP, spherical harmonics, Ritz's
method, et cetera, can aid conceptualization. Absent such grounding, grappling
with complexities such as financial derivatives (e.g., the sub-prime mess
as well as the recent Société Générale, Bear-Stearn,
Lehman, Citi, Hypo, AIG, WaMu, UBS fiascoes
... collectively merely faintest harbingers of FAR worse to come) can prove quite a challenge.
Despite one student reviewer's strong protest, this seems not the forum
for delving into the looming (hint: the current sub-prime-led "recession" is a mere "blip")
global derivatives mess. You may, however, find several apposite links
and brief discussion at the very bottom of the NEXT page. Obviously,
those with superior analytical and quantitative skills are unusually well-suited
to the task, needing only to learn the integratedVery
roughly: Students learn to address business problems via an iterative
four-component approach —
Conceptualize, Contemplate, Compute, Communicate. analytical
framework and effective use of business language. (It's vastly easier
to teach accounting to engineers than it is to teach vector calculus to accountants.)
All material is presented three ways: Verbally, graphically, and
Core is math-lite, a refresher in pre-calc can prove useful, oddly, for
quants later trying to explain their findings to non-quant
execs. Equally, those rusty in math can click on "mathematically" for a brilliantly
readable, concise (~120pps) review by an equally brilliantly prepared
author (Cal-Tech, Chicago, Yale) who happens to be an acclaimed teacher.
It's the title we've recommended for many years; students love it.
Now, a quick stake through the heart: Less than 1/3 of NYSE CEO's hold
MBA's, e.g., Jack Welch,
BS/MS/PhD (Chem Eng), Illinois, holds no MBA. Thanks to a nearly 40-year
dumbing-down of curricula, what had been a great credential is now a grossly
over-priced farce; the MBA has fallen on richly
deserved hard times. Our objective is to remedy the situation.
Our two-part goal:
First, we'd like to remedy what we see to be a serious problem. To wit:
the unavailability of meaningful business education owing to the dumbing-down
of curricular content and the growing irrelevance (see: Sidebar) of B-School
academics and academicians.
Second, we'd like to create something enduring. That demands faculty succession,
in turn, presupposing economic viability. Frankly, it's very difficult
to find individuals who are qualified to teach integrated analytics; expecting
them to participate for free is simply asking too much. While this isn't
intended to be a money-spinner, neither is it intended to run loses.
Sidebar: The irrelevance stems largely from
university committees too heavily predicating professorial rewards upon
(and the slavish adherence by B-School academicians to) the still-born "physics"
research model foisted upon them by the 1958 Foundation Reports. The research
is nonsense, pure and simple. It fundamentally stems from the lunacy of
attempting to put "IBM" under a bell jar, statistically or otherwise,
and expecting hard-kill "answers." Significantly, randomness,
though rarely satisfied, is invariably assumed. Rounding out the trifecta,
academics regularly fail to identify the most plausible rival hypotheses
much less disprove them. In simple fact, the root-cause regularly falls
outside the researcher's investigative curricular domain. Frankly, it's
all pretty pathetic. (Relatedly, see, "Loyalty,"
and, on a "happier" note, B-Schools aren't alone.)
In 2003, Professor Henry Mintzberg,
McGill, infamously reported tracking the performance of the academically
top 19 graduates of the Harvard Business School, Class of 1990. Ten of the
19 were, "utter failures ... another four were very questionable, at
best. So, five of 19 did okay." What a deal: two years and about $250K
for a 1 in 4 shot at success for the top-graduates from the world's top-rated
B-School. (HBS, NYT.)
BTW, in constant dollars, the HBS MBA's median starting salary has been
flat-to-down for more than a decade.
Were all this not pain enough, this from 1992: Take anyones choice for the top ten graduate business schools, eliminate Harvard, sum the headcount of senior executive graduates at "significant" firms of the remaining nine schools. That sum will be less than the combined number of comparable graduates from NYU and Rutgers. (Obviously, geography plays a large part. Until relatively recently, these two offered the part-time programs of choice for Manhattan's hard-chargers.)
Background: Open- vs. Closed-enrollment. Select
universities offer accelerated, advanced, caste
system Advanced Management Program / Executive MBA:
Closed-enrollment programs enjoying all the benefits of a "cost is
no object" budget.
They are taught by outside faculty, invariably those with noteworthy business
experience — we among them.
The success of these programs has spawned named-alike clone programs aimed
at the open-enrollment (general student) population. However and significantly,
these clones are taught by cloistered, silo-centric faculty. Result: Clone
program students lament learning FAR more from one another than from the
No great surprise, that; the students have actual real-world
experience.-based programs open ONLY to corporate-sponsored,
fast-track employees at upwards of $55K per semester per student; we teach
in several. Our take: AMP-like coverage should be extended well beyond
its current narrow, clubby confines but offered at a total cost appropriate
for normal folk. In essence, determining comfortable solo-student costs is the point of
requesting your opinion. Aside: We've provided clients such coverage since 1991.
Moreover, as our coverage is both accelerated and integrated,
Managerially, business operating units are generally split along functional lines.
Beyond trivial issues though, managerial decision-making can almost never
be solely function-centric. Academia, yoked with its silo-centric, function-based
model, is incapable of offering anything other than grossly flawed monocular
perspectives of decision-making.
Our perspective and approach are strategy/tactics/metric-centric, i.e., entirely integrative, and supported by our
own cross-functional mini-cases. Case exploration ties analysis and decision-making
across functional lines as well as back to theoretic underpinnings; mathematics
provides the exploratory engine.
Thus, accounting, economics, finance, marketing, operations, strategy,
and mathematics/statistics provide constant, common grist for the student analytical mill —
appropriate to success in real-world settings. it results in
more cost-effective learning in far less time than even AMP's.
Boredom breeds inattention, so our pace is intenseOur
pace spurs engagement, which spurs rapid "internalization."
Result: real learning in real-time.
To date, our "record" for effective rate of understanding is
45 minutes from start of day-one. It's held by the, then, CFO of a division
of UTC. Forty-five minutes from topic introduction (broadly, a constrained
optimization of a composite financial metric) to real-world application
Concurrent with application commencement from a modeling perspective,
was the real-time, on-going involvement of their Washington-based lawyers,
the divisional president, the CFO-via cell, and the CFO's team-leader,
spread out along the eastern seaboard. The model successfully trialled
Worth noting, the issue had been a substantial ongoing corporate problem
of some 7-years standing. Such being among the joys of governmental contracts.;
we cover the typical AMP/EMBA in two 5-day sessions
We cut the first MBA year to 10 days, while delving far deeper in economics,
accounting, finance, and marketing.
Far more significantly, our coverage is extremely analytic and quantitative
with JIT-coverage of statistics at appropriate points.
All the pieces are pre-assembled for you. You don't pore over stacks of
textbooks; you don't puzzle over how the various bits 'n pieces from different
subject areas fit; you don't wade through 100-page cases.
Most notably, you don't have to sort wheat from chaff; there is NO chaff.
Merely prepare the nightly mini-case (typically an hour) and come to class
ready to learn.
You supply analytic ability and enthusiasm; we supply the rest in ten
Guaranteed.. While our Core has been termed a near-religious
experience and our spreadsheet modeling as Excel-on-
it's proved accessible and non-quant safe.On
a bit of a "dare" from a client in 2002, we undertook a somewhat
watered-down "Core" program. For 2-days per week and 2-weeks
per month, we worked with a group of 9 supermarket employees who had,
on average, just about a high-school education.
Result: Their Grade 12-educated meat department manager successfully conceived,
created, and deployed an Excel matrix-based model to routinely execute a complex, multi-level
pricing strategy to the ends of optimizing region-wide profits through
production mix and co÷rdinated incentive initiatives across the supply
Those with higher education levels fared best. The Comptroller/CPA created
a successful cash management (optimization) model and a BS/ME created
an inventory management system (43,000 SKU) which resulted in both substantial
annual savings and operating efficiencies.
All but one of the 9 participants sailed home with colors flying. In a
second, larger group, all succeeded. There are ready work-arounds
for the intelligent, if not-so-mathematical, Core student. To wit: MD's
(executive roles in health care) and JD's (M&A/PE) have proved apt
and avid isa-Core students. One needn't know a PDE from a PDA because
the Core module is quant-lite, even if the rest of the modules are not.
Those able to mentally map the front-view of Snoopy's dog-house onto mental
graph paper can readily handle the Core. (Of course, that particular mental
abstraction is sufficient for dispatching basic differential and
integral calculus!) In all, Excel with add-ins does the heavy lifting.
As all modules are financial statement-centric,
everything covered applies to ANY commercial enterprise. Ergo, any Core
graduate's previous career business-sector confinement is eliminated, while prior acquired business knowledge becomes immediately applicable globally.