Planet Money, the economics reporting unit of National Public Radio, ran a great story this morning (9/11/13) entitled “Why Women (Like Me) Choose Lower-Paying Jobs.” Although not strictly about mathematics or computer science, the reporter Lisa Chow was an applied math major in college, earned an MBA, and is pursuing a career not directly related to either of these areas of study. Here is the part of the story that got my attention.
Midway through the conversation, I realized that the economist — Anthony Carnevale of Georgetown University — was basically talking about me. I described my situation to Carnevale: I majored in applied math. I have an MBA. And I’m working as a reporter at NPR.
“Oh, you left a lot of money on the table,” he told me. “You left probably as much as $3-to-$4 million on the table.”
At Gustavus, we pride ourselves in having our students find their vocation in life and many times this is not the same as doing what they studied here on the hill. I know math majors who have careers in the ministry and television and are living incredibly fulfilling lives.
But maybe economics should be part of the vocational equation as well.