Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Job hunt 2012: It's time to get dirty

Our path to a full economic recovery may be sluggish, but "Dirty Jobs" host Mike Rowe argues that it couldn't hurt if we keep an eye out for opportunities in the mud.

FORTUNE -- To catch a bloodworm, you have to wade knee-deep in Maine mudflats and dig in the muck. Now, you have to be careful handling these creatures, which have alien-looking mouths and four black teeth that sting like a bee if they find their way into your skin. It may sound like an episode of "Fear Factor," but catching bloodworms is another day at the office for some Americans, and it's surprisingly lucrative. The worms are sold for bait, and 175 or so of them will bring in roughly $50.
Bloodworm hunting is just one of the 300 dirty jobs that Mike Rowe has completed on his Discovery Channel show, "Dirty Jobs." And doing some of the grittiest and grossest jobs in America has given him a special perspective on work in the U.S.
"Dirty Jobs" host Mike Rowe
The American economy was kept on bed rest throughout 2011. While the most recent Department of Labor jobs report posted slightly encouraging numbers for the month, 8.8 million jobs have been lost since the financial crisis began, leaving 13.3 million Americans unemployed, 43% of which haven't been working for over six months.
The disappointing numbers have made many Americans increasingly gloomy about their future prospects. Yet, "so many people I've met on 'Dirty Jobs' are completely oblivious to those kinds of statistics," Rowe says.
It's not that these people are clueless. On the contrary, they see opportunity in jobs that many would consider grunt work, and they're fine with filling those spots. The rest of the country could learn something from this attitude, Rowe says.
"Are we really just going to accept the idea of a jobless recovery? Or are we going to have to fundamentally rethink the definition of a good job."
Our ideal jobs have become increasingly clean over the years, in part because the United States economy has shifted from one that makes tangible things to one that generates ideas. "More and more workers will be asked to think rather than produce in the traditional manner of manufacturing industries of the past," according to a 2010 report by the Educational Testing Service and the Council of Graduate Schools. The report also predicts that even more jobs in the U.S. will require advanced degrees in coming years.
But there is also room for people with trade skills. "We simply value a different set of things than we used to," Rowe says. "We bought into the notion that all knowledge comes from college, but the truth is there's infinite knowledge out there."
Rowe argues that the workforce would benefit if society had greater respect for "alternative," tracks such as vocational and trade schools. "If you call something 'alternative,' what does that mean? In basketball, it means you sit on the bench," Rowe says.
In fact, research conducted by University of Minnesota sociologist Jeylan Mortimer suggests that high school students who remain open to vocational or trade school are more likely to stay employed during tough times than those who see their career paths with tunnel vision.
This isn't to say that everyone should ditch their Ph.D. programs and dig for bloodworms. But "Dirty Jobs" has taught Rowe that there is plenty of tough physical work that pays relatively well and keeps the country running. Right now, there seems to be plenty of job opportunities in ITto go around, but to make them viable, someone has to put up the cell phone tower.
The path to full recovery may be sluggish, but it couldn't hurt if we keep an eye out for opportunities in the mud.

Dumbest Moments in Business

"Stupid." "Like a banana republic."
Those are a few of the choice words investors used to describe Congress' behavior during the debt ceiling debate.
Some members of Congress were willing to risk letting the country default rather than borrow more money. The country needed cash to pay bills from policies that had already been authorized by...well, Congress.
Their principle was noble -- the United States can't borrow indefinitely. But to not raise the debt ceiling would have meant cutting spending drastically, upending the economy. That, in turn, would worsen deficits as tax revenue fell.
Congress came through in the end -- barely -- but the bickering led to the loss of the country's prized AAA credit rating-- Jeanne Sahadi.

Source: http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2011/news/1112/gallery.dumbest-moments-2011/?iid=GM

Colleges pay presidents millions while raising tuition

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Some private colleges are paying their top executives millions of dollars, at the same time they're hiking tuition prices for students.
Vanderbilt University paid its chancellor, Nicholas Zeppos, $1.9 million in 2009, according to the school's most recent tax filings -- enough for up to 43 students to attend Vanderbilt at current prices. His total pay includes a base salary of $673,002, as well as bonus and other compensation.
That same year, Vanderbilt's tuition jumped 4.3%. Since then, the college has hiked tuition more than 3% annually, and now totals $41,332, according to the university.
His overall pay was actually 21.5% lower than it was the previous year, according to the school. Even so, Zeppos' 2009 base was almost four times the average professor's salary of $179,600, the college confirmed.
Zeppos "deserves the compensation he receives," said Mark Dalton, chairman of the college's Board of Trust, in a statement.
"We know that Nick is a highly attractive candidate for other top universities seeking new, vibrant leadership," Dalton said. "We cannot allow another university to recruit him away from Vanderbilt on the basis of compensation or other factors."

5 biggest state tuition hikes

Quinnipiac University, located in Hamden, Conn., is in the same boat. Its president, John Lahey, made $1.2 million in 2009, including base pay of $760,706, according to tax documents. Meanwhile, the college raised tuition and fees nearly 5% that year, and more than 5% each year after. Students now pay $36,130 a year to attend.
Emory University, in Atlanta, and Houston-based Rice University also paid their presidents more than $1 million in 2009 while raising tuition nearly 5%. Both schools have also hiked tuition during the past two years.
As student loan debt continues to grow and students storm campuses across the country to protest the surging cost of tuition, college presidents' big paychecks are adding fuel to the fire, said Sara Hebel, a senior editor at the Chronicle of Higher Education, which recently published its annual survey of CEO compensation among private colleges.

College graduation rates: Income really matters

"At a time when the national conversation is focused on widening income gaps between the wealthiest individuals and everyone else, it is not a surprise that college presidents who earn some of the highest salaries have been targeted by students who face rising tuition," said Hebel.
Of the 519 private colleges with budgets over $50 million that the Chronicle surveyed, 36 presidents earned more than $1 million in 2009. That's up slightly from the 33 presidents who topped $1 million in earnings during the previous year. The Chronicle report, which is based on the most recent tax documents available, looks at compensation including base salary, bonuses and the value of benefits.
Some of the presidents got million-dollar pay because they retired from their schools that year -- and their packages were bulked up with deferred compensation, retirement benefits, sabbatical leave compensation and other one-time payments.
Debating whether college is 'worth it'
The median total compensation of the 519 presidents at colleges surveyed by the Chronicle was $385,909. That's a 2.2% increase from 2008. The median base salary was $294,489, a 2.8% bump up from the prior year.
Tuition has been increasing at an even faster rate. Private colleges raised tuition by an average of 4.3% for the 2009 school year, according to the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. And the hikes have been continuing. Private colleges increased tuition and fees by 4.5% for 2010, and 4.6% for the current school year.
While stated tuition and fees are higher, the actual amount students are paying at some colleges may be decreasing. Some schools are ramping up financial aid at the same time, making the "sticker price" misleading.
For example, while the University of Pennsylvania's published tuition and fees have surged 37% over the past seven years, the average net cost (including financial aid) for students aided by the college has actually decreased about 4%. Only the wealthiest families (those earning annual income of more than $200,000) pay the full sticker price, the university said.

How much will that college really cost?

That said, the president of University of Pennsylvania, Amy Gutmann, still earned a handsome base salary of nearly $900,000 in 2009, the main chunk of her $1.3 million in total compensation, according to the university's tax filings.
And Hebel said that while presidential salaries hold symbolic importance, especially at a time when college is becoming increasingly unaffordable for the average family, the typical president's compensation package actually makes up only 0.4% of a college's budget.
Of course, there are bigger gaps at some schools. While inflated thanks to a one-time retirement payment in 2009, the $1.8 million in compensation given to the president of Beckley, West Virginia-based Mountain State University accounted for 3.5% of the school's entire budget, according to Chronicle data.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Top 10 MBA programs in the U.S.

Which schools have the best job placement records and strongest programs? Here's this year's Poets&Quants ranking of the best of the best MBA programs in the U.S.

1. Harvard

Index: 100
2010 Rank: 1
Average GMAT: 727
Acceptance rate: 12%
Median base salary: $120,000
Suggested two-year budget: $168,000

When people think about the MBA degree, the very first school that immediately springs to mind is Harvard. HBS is synonymous with the degree and literally sets the pace for the industry. It's why everything it does instantly makes news -- both good and bad. And Harvard's new dean, Nitin Nohria, has immediately injected new energy and enthusiasm at the school.
Within 12 short months since assuming leadership of HBS last July 1, Nohria has racked up accomplishments that would have taken some B-school deans a decade or more. They include crafting and then communicating a new agenda for the school, pushing through significant changes to the MBA program amid concerns from some that he was moving too fast, and raising millions of dollars in donations, including a $50 million gift from India's Tata Group and its philanthropic interests.
Percentage of MBAs with job offers at graduation: 94%

2. Stanford

Index: 98.8
2010 Rank: 2
Average GMAT: 730
Acceptance rate: 12%
Median base salary: $125,000
Suggested two-year budget: $174,362

Stanford Graduate School of Business has been on a roll this past year. The school moved into a new, classy home, an ambitious $350 million campus composed of nine world-class buildings. And the school just received $150 million from an alum -- its largest gift ever -- to help establish a new institute whose goal is to combat poverty around the world. But the school's main attraction is its location in the midst of Silicon Valley, the world's high tech center. Many graduates end up working for startups and the Valley's giants, from Apple and Google, to Hewlett-Packard and Intel, or starting their own companies from scratch. Stanford's first-year Management Foundation courses offer students a menu of choices in each required discipline, tailored to their skills, experience, and career goals. Stanford students also have the option to incorporate courses -- and especially joint degrees -- from other graduate programs at the university.

Percentage of MBAs with job offers at graduation: 84%

3. Booth - Univ. of Chicago
Index: 98.5
2010 Rank: 3
Average GMAT: 719
Acceptance rate: 22%
Median base salary: $107,000
Suggested two-year budget: $170,976
The mantra of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business is it's all about the idea. Students focus on generating, analyzing, comparing and refining ideas so they can turn them into even better ones.
The full-time MBA Program consists of 20 classes plus leadership effectiveness and development (LEAD). The flagship of the program is its flexible curriculum. With only one required course, students design a program to fit their career goals.
Four major components make up the flexible curriculum: foundation courses that focus on developing analytical tools and knowledge that support the rest of the curriculum; functions, management, and business environment courses that cover basic disciplines, management, and the environment in which firms operate.
Percentage of MBAs with job offers at graduation: 86%

4. Wharton - Univ. of Pennsylvania
Index: 98.0
2010 Rank: 4
Average GMAT: 720
Acceptance rate: 19%
Median base salary: $120,000
Suggested two-year budget: $178,400
A new MBA curriculum now delivers life-long education to MBA graduates, along with more leadership and communication experiences. The basic program is still focused around an intensive core curriculum in general management, plus the depth of 18 majors and the breadth of nearly 200 electives.
The school's month long pre-term session includes a two-day off-campus retreat where students begin the process of learning to lead in a team environment. The first year's focus is an intensive core curriculum that students complete together in learning teams of six.
During the summer months between the first and second years, students are busy with internships, career treks, and volunteer projects around the world. When they return, the second year curriculum offers flexibility to follow personal interests.
Percentage of MBAs with job offers at graduation: 88%

5. Columbia
Index: 95.0
2010 Rank: 5
Average GMAT: 716
Acceptance rate: 16%
Median base salary: $110,000
Suggested two-year budget: $165,740
In the provocative documentary Inside Job, which chronicles the origins of the global financial crisis of 2008, Columbia Business School endures a nasty beating due to its close and cozy alignment with Wall Street.
Dean Glenn Hubbard, who had been chief economic adviser during the Bush administration, and finance professor Frederic Mishkin, a member of the Board of Governors at the Federal Reserve from 2006 to 2008, both nearly make fools of themselves.
No matter. If you're headed into financial services, you'll be hard pressed to find a more direct route than Columbia, which probably has more alumni on Wall Street than any other business school in the world (Wharton and NYU also are good bets but even they don't exactly rival Columbia).
Percentage of MBAs with job offers at graduation: 86%

6. MIT Sloan
Index: 95.0
2010 Rank: 8
Average GMAT: 710
Acceptance rate: 13%
Median base salary: $119,000
Suggested two-year budget: $165,264
MIT Sloan's two-year MBA Program is comprised of a combination of case studies, team projects, lectures, live case discussions, interactions with industry leaders, and hands-on lab classes.
Throughout the first-semester core, students work in teams of five or six, gaining skills through required coursework in economics, accounting, managerial communication, business statistics, and organizational processes.
Only one semester long, the short core gives students freedom to pursue individual goals throughout the rest of the program.

7. Kellogg - Northwestern
Index: 94.9
2010 Rank: 7
Average GMAT: 714
Acceptance rate: 20%
Median base salary: $110,000
Suggested two-year budget: $162,458
"Think Bravely: We believe that business can be bravely led, passionately collaborative, and world changing."
Those 15 words are at the heart of an ambitious effort to reposition Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management. The phrase is part of a branding exercise that will lead to more substantive changes at Kellogg by new Dean Sally Blount.
The school is known for its highly collaborative culture, its team-based approach to learning, and an unrivaled marketing faculty. For years, before several other schools caught up, Kellogg MBAs were known as a group with the emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills that set them apart from others. Bount is hoping to make Kellogg entirely distinctive again.
Percentage of MBAs with job offers at graduation: 86%

8. Tuck - Dartmouth
Index: 93.6
2010 Rank: 6
Average GMAT: 718
Acceptance rate: 18%
Median base salary: $110,000
Suggested two-year budget: $168,100
Tuck's unique, close-knit culture of affection and collaboration cultivates such unusual loyalty that more than 70% of alumni last year reached into their pockets to support the school, more than any other B-school in the world. (In contrast, annual alumni giving at the top 20 business schools average less than 20%).
Tuck's highly supportive alumni network helped to get 92% of this year's class job offers by graduation -- tops among the best B-schools in a still turbulent economy.
Dean Paul Danos takes little credit for the remarkable cohesion among alumni through the years. "You can't invent the love affair people have with Tuck," he says. "That whole cultural, social network of helping each other you can't get easily, and it's always been a part of the school's tradition."
Percentage of MBAs with job offers at graduation: 92%

9. Haas - Univ. of Calif., Berkeley
Index: 92.3
2010 Rank: 9
Average GMAT: 715
Acceptance rate: 12%
Median base salary: $111,000
Suggested two-year budget: $156,284 (non-resident)
The highly selective MBA program at the Haas School of Business is anchored by 12 required courses that promote a general-management perspective and provide a framework for the more function-specific courses that follow.
The first year of the program is divided into four quarters. The core curriculum is rooted in business fundamentals -- including marketing, finance, and accounting.
Berkeley Innovative Leader Development (BILD) is a connective theme that runs through the entire MBA curriculum to ensure that every student develops leadership skills.
Percentage of MBAs with job offers at graduation: 77%

10. Fuqua - Duke
Index: 91.6
2010 Rank: 10
Average GMAT: 698
Acceptance rate: 26%
Median base salary: $107,833
Suggested two-year budget: $143,718
The first term at the Fuqua School of Business focuses on the development of collaborative leadership and organizational management skills. The full-time MBA program begins with a three-week Global Institute featuring two core courses: Leadership, Ethics and Organizations; and Global Institutions and Environments.
Students then dive into economics, finance, marketing, and operations management.
Throughout the program, students can pursue a wide-ranging management education designed to suit their individual goals; alternatively, they have the option to focus on a particular career path through a variety of interdisciplinary concentrations and certificate opportunities.