Author: CLAI

World traveler, explorer of cultures & societies. Wine beer food enthusiast. Lover of language, books, and art. Management consultant: turning ideas into action.

Colleges with the Highest Salaries – Should I get an MBA?

Curated by CLAI

SCHOOLS WITH HIGHEST SALARIES EARLY & MID CAREER: Technical abilities are highly valued among recent graduates, which explains why a student who graduates from an engineering program at California Institute of Technology will likely be better compensated, at least up front, than a Harvard graduate with an English degree. Those specialized skills offer a comparative salary edge for only a handful of years before that advantage begins to dissipate–and the salary benefits of a holistic, liberal arts education begin to catch up.

Colleges with the highest starting salaries

Colleges with the highest starting salaries (WAPO)

SHOULD YOU GET AN MBA? Here are some questions you should ask yourself.

  • Leadership & Management: Do the MBA programs I’m considering provide practical leadership and management training?
  • Credential & Brand: How are MBAs perceived in the markets I am in or would like to enter? What signals does an MBA send in these markets? What stereotypes (both positive and negative) might I face as an MBA? What is the specific reputation of the MBA programs I’m considering? How are these schools and their alumni viewed within my desired markets?
  • Community & Network: What do I know about the students at the MBA programs I’m considering? Are they like-minded peers? Do I see myself learning alongside them? What do I know about the alumni networks of these programs? How active are they? Are they concentrated in geographic areas and professional fields of interest to me?

The Truth about Travel and Vacations

Curated by CLAI

THE MORE YOU TRAVEL, THE MORE YOU LOSE SIGHT OF WHO YOU ARE

  • Because you realize that the more you spread the breadth of your experience across the globe, the thinner and more meaningless it becomes. You realize that there’s something to be said to limiting oneself, not just geographically, but also emotionally. That there’s a certain depth of experience and meaning that can only be achieved when one picks a single piece of creation and says, “This is it. This is where I belong.”
  • The self is highly adaptable to its external environment, and ironically, the more you change your external environment, the more you lose track of who you actually are, because there’s nothing solid to compare yourself against. With frequent travel, so many variables in your life are changing that it’s hard to isolate a control variable and see the effect everything else has on it. You are in a constant state of upheaval.
  • Because uncertainty breeds skepticism, it breeds openness, and it breeds non-judgment. Because uncertainty helps you to grow and evolve.
Castillo de San Felipe in Cartagena, Colombia

Castillo de San Felipe in Cartagena, Colombia (Christine Lai)

WHY DON’T AMERICANS TAKE VACATION? Many people chasing the American Dream are working long hours and skipping vacation to reach it. Most employees strongly believe, compared with people in other countries, that hard work pays off in success. Americans who work over 40 hours a week are more happy than those who work less – so are they happy being overworked? Europeans, on the other hand, are different – they seem to value leisure time more, and accordingly those who work over 40 hours are less happy than those working less.

Bye Bye iPod. Bye Bye Cereal.

Curated by CLAI

1,000 SONGS IN YOUR POCKET: $400 was more than my car payment, but I didn’t care. This iPod — whatever that meant — was beautiful, and I wanted it bad. It promised the never-ending mix tape, the opportunity to program a radio station that served a market of one: Fountains of Wayne to Janet Jackson to Nirvana to Alan Jackson to the Pretenders? No problem.

Breakfast (Catherine A Cole, NYTimes)

SNACK CRACKLE POP: Cereal, that bedrock of the American breakfast, has lost some of its snap, crackle and pop. For the last decade, the cereal business has been declining, as consumers reach for granola bars, yogurt and drive-through fare in the morning.

  • The drop-off has accelerated lately, especially among those finicky millennials who tend to graze on healthy options.
  • Birthrate is declining — and children traditionally have been the largest consumers of cereal.
  • Many surveys have shown that Latinos and Asians prefer other breakfast foods.
  • General Mills is marketing its iconic cereals as family brands in an appeal to nostalgia: Adults account for almost half of the consumption of Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

Extravagant Happiness, Emails on Holiday Mode

Curated by CLAI

EXTRAVAGANT V. ORDINARY HAPPINESS: Extraordinary experiences bring great joy throughout life. No surprise there. But the older people got, the more happiness ordinary experiences delivered. In fact, the happiness-making potential of everyday pursuits eventually grows equal to that of ones that are rarer.

Extraordinary v. ordinary happiness

Extraordinary v. ordinary happiness (Robert Neubecker, NYTIMES)

EMAILS ON HOLIDAY MODE: At Daimler, the German automaker, employees can set their corporate email to “holiday mode” when they are on vacation.  Anyone who emails them gets an auto-reply saying the employee isn’t in, and offering contact details for an alternate, on-call staff person. Then poof, the incoming email is deleted — so that employees don’t have to return to inboxes engorged with digital missives in their absence.

  • Volkswagen and Deutsche Telekom have adopted policies that limit work-related email to some employees on evenings and weekends. If this can happen in precision-mad, high-productivity Germany, could it happen in the United States?
  • White-collar cubicle dwellers spend 28% of their workweek slogging through email. They check their messages 74 times a day, on average. 38% check work email “routinely” at dinner peeking at the phone under the table

Money & Bras: From Corsets to Brassieres, States with the Biggest Bang for Your Buck

Curated by CLAI

THE BRA: Women today breathe a little easier — thanks to a World War I metal shortage. Since corset frames were mostly made of metal, which was needed for ammunition and other military supplies, in 1917 the U.S. War Industries Board asked American women to stop buying them.

  • Caresse Crosby patented the first modern bra in the U.S. in 1910.
  • Some historians credit William and Ida Rosenthal, founders of Maidenform, with introducing the A-, B-, C- and D-cup system in the late 1920s or early ’30s, while others claim it was S.H. Camp and Company.
  • When the androgynous flapper look came into vogue in the Roaring Twenties, so-called bandeau bras — which flattened the breasts — became the popular choice.
  • Today, nearly 95% of women in Western countries wear bras, which translates to a billion-dollar industry dominated by Victoria’s Secret and corporations like Hanes.
Brassiere in 1914

Brassiere in 1914

STATES WITH BEST BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: You’d squeeze the most out of $100 in Mississippi, where you could use it to buy $115.74 worth of goods and services, relative to the national average. Arkansas comes next, followed by Missouri, Alabama and South Dakota. The state where $100 falls flattest is Hawaii, where that same $100 gets you only $85.32. (D.C., though not a state, is even worse: It would buy you just $84.60 in goods.)

Relative Value of $100 in States in the U.S. (WAPO)