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Comment: Re:Why? (Score 1) 364

by metlin (#47979911) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Finding a Job After Completing Computer Science Ph.D?

Yes, there are a fair number of social scientists in consulting firms. Usually, they tend to be econ or poli-sci/IR, but you certainly have a smattering of other subjects. I once worked with a partner who had a PhD in Philosophy (not social science per se, but representative of critical thinking ability nevertheless).

I would imagine that there is a preference towards the hard sciences, but I think that is more of a self-selection mechanism than anything else. Management consulting entails a lot of number crunching (financial analysis, demographic segmentation etc), so people with hard science backgrounds tend to gravitate towards these roles.

Most back office analytics and research functions at the big consulting firms have quite an armada of doctorates. In fact, a few months ago, I worked with someone who had a PhD in Geography, which came in handy because he knew how to run geospatial analyses for a distribution problem.

Comment: Re:That totally won't work. (Score 1) 364

by metlin (#47979887) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Finding a Job After Completing Computer Science Ph.D?

This assumes getting hired into a lower level position in a larger consulting firm, rather than consulting on your own.

Did you not read my original comment at all? I mentioned that the major management consulting firms (i.e., MBB) hire PhDs and other Advanced Degree Candidates.

At which point they are back to exactly the same problem that they originally faced, which is getting hired for a job working for someone else. It doesn't matter whether that someone else hires them in order to farm them out to a third party, or hires them to do work in house, they are still facing the problem that they can't get hired in the first place because they are unable to sell themselves to a prospective employer.

Hiring in management consulting firms (at least at the junior levels) is less about selling yourself and more about your analytical skills. Such hiring is not predicated on your technical know-how per se but rather your critical thinking and problem solving abilities.

Comment: Re:That totally won't work. (Score 1) 364

by metlin (#47979303) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Finding a Job After Completing Computer Science Ph.D?

Not all consulting entails selling. In fact, in any good consulting firm, you won't be doing any selling until you're near the top (e.g., Principal/Partner). You may not even get to present anything in front of the client until you have some experience under your belt -- as a new hire, the only client facing activity you'll do is take detailed notes.

Moreover, junior resources (e.g., Associates or Consultants) tend to do a lot more data crunching and slide building than presenting content. And you're put through some pretty rigorous training before you'll ever see a client (in some firms, they call it MBA-light).

No one in their right minds will put someone fresh out of school to do anything client facing without some degree of coaching and experience.

Secondly, not every role in a consulting firm is client facing. Almost all the big consulting firms have a rather large pool of back office and analytics experts who do research, collate materials, perform analysis and so on. These are not client facing at all, and you won't have to do any selling whatsoever.

In any event, there is the perception of consultants thanks to everybody and their brother calling themselves a "consultant" and there is the truth. The truth is that in any good firm, partners will really vet you and groom you before you get to participate actively in any meaningful way.

Comment: Re:This is supposed to be the *WAY* they do their (Score 1) 389

a real mess that he inherited from the Bush administration

And someday (perhaps after he's out of office?), Obama will start being held responsible for his own actions by those who supported him. It's what, only been almost 6 years now? That's longer than many presidents serve in office. Obama's off to a really fast start, isn't he?

Comment: Re:This is supposed to be the *WAY* they do their (Score 1) 389

Did Obama end us being at war in Iraq? Apparently not...

Giving up and removing U.S. forces isn't the same thing as ending a war. The other guys were still in the neighborhood waiting for our announced removal.

Who looks really stupid now? The Iraqis who trusted the U.S. after we took down Saddam's government. They have a pretty good gripe about our government making promises to them and then not supporting them.

We ended the war against Germany and Japan in such a way that it didn't start back up again a few years later. That took time and leaving troops behind to maintain security and help rebuild the countries in a self-sustainable way so they're good friends of ours now and positive influences on the rest of the world.

Iraq? Not so much...

Comment: Re:Why? (Score 4, Insightful) 364

by metlin (#47976447) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Finding a Job After Completing Computer Science Ph.D?

Motivation notwithstanding, I would also suggest that you consider consulting.

I work in management consulting in one of the MBB firms, and we hire quite a few ADCs (Advanced Degree Candidates), particularly in the hard sciences.

The idea is that a PhD provides you with enough critical thinking and quantitative skills that would be extremely valuable in what you do. And you'd be surprised at the type of work that you'd get to do. As long as you have some semblance of social skills that can be cultivated and the ability to think quickly on your feet, you should be fine.

A good way to think about this is what happens when your senior client executive throws some numbers and asks you a question in the elevator -- can you quickly give an answer, and be professional and polite about it without becoming a nervous wreck?

Right now, I work with several PhDs and MDs in the healthcare payer/provider space, and their deep medical expertise is extremely valuable. We have similar profiles of folks with PhDs in mechanical/aeronautical/industrial engineering for industrial goods work, CS/EE PhDs in telecom/media/high-tech industry work and so on. You would be surprised at just how many PhDs, MDs, JDs, and the likes are hired by top tier consulting firms.

Despite what you may have heard of consulting on Slashdot and elsewhere, we do some pretty cool work. Yes, the hours aren't easy and you'll travel a lot, but consider it baptism by fire. In a span of two years, you would have worked on a wide array of projects and will have honed your hard and soft skills -- everything from building financial models to presenting to very senior executives.

And surprisingly, you will work with some very smart people. Yes, many of them may have MBAs, but just as many have other advanced degrees, and even the ones with MBAs also have pretty strong undergrad credentials (e.g., Harvard, MIT, Stanford), usually STEM.

So, whatever your motivations may have been, I will just say that consulting will teach you skills that are very hard to acquire elsewhere. It may be baptism by fire, but your value in the job market will grow by leaps and bounds.

Something to consider. :)

Comment: Re:The whole article is just trolling (Score 1) 738

by Alsee (#47975669) Attached to: How Our Botched Understanding of "Science" Ruins Everything

The article is kind of dumb.

Ad hominem.

You really shouldn't try to use fancy words you don't understand, trying to look smart. That was not Ad Hominem. That was his opening comment giving his opinion of the article (not the person). He then proceeded to follow up his opening opinion with perfectly valid arguments.

It's some guy who isn't a scientist and who doesn't really understand the scientific method arrogantly bitching about how everybody else doesn't really understand the scientific method.

Appeal to authority (arguing that the "authority" is unimpeachable).

You don't understand Argument From Authority either, nor do you understand when it is a fallacy and when it isn't.

That's the *actual* scientific method.

No-true-Scotsman fallacy.

Not only did you get No True Scotsman wrong, you actually have it backwards. It was the author of the "kind of dumb article" that committed the No True Scotsman fallacy. It was the article author who fallaciously tried to exclude science-he-didn't-like as not being "true science".

Controlled experiment may or may not come into it at all.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S...
Look at where it says "Testing".

I suggest you look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S... where it says "Testing": Astronomers do experiments, searching for planets around distant stars.
Astronomers, geologists, paleontologists, climatologists, and countless other fields of science are testing scientific theories when they engage in measurements and observations of the real world, which test the predictions of those theories.

But I would like to thank you for pointing out that Wikipedia section. I can see how you could read that section and overlook the example illustrating that observations-testing-predictions are a form of scientific experiment. That section should definitely be more clear. I'll leave a comment to that effect on the Talk page. ~~~~

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Comment: Re:The whole article is just trolling (Score 1) 738

by Alsee (#47975099) Attached to: How Our Botched Understanding of "Science" Ruins Everything

I think he's saying that we shouldn't be using evolution as a talking point when we want to say "see science works!" because we have no proof that evolution indeed works as Darwin described.

(1) Actually he's doing the standard right-wingnut attack on any science they don't like, primarily evolution and climate, and every field of science that supports them.

(2) Setting aside the poor choice word "proof", I think you underestimate what we've got backing up evolution. We literally have mathematical theorems proving the information-creating process of evolution. Evolution is an applied science, used somewhere or other by a majority of Fortune 500 Companies. (Specifically, software genetic algorithms that evolve "digital DNA". It's a field of programming that can solve categories of Hard Problems that are effectively impossible to solve by any other means.) We also have a continuous and complete fossil record of tens of millions of years of evolution covering much of Phylum Foraminifera. Foraminifera are tiny aquatic animals, most smaller than the period on this sentence. They live in the oceans in vast numbers, continually dying and raining down into sea floor sediment. 1970's deep sea oil exploration started bringing up long drill-cores from the deep seabed. Each core is filled with thousands of perfectly layered Foraminifera fossils. We have an effectively limitless supply of these fossils. And it's not merely every transitional form species. We can continuously trace the transitional forms along a ~150,000 year transition as one species splits into two. The only limitation on time-resolution is the small amount of vertical-mixing caused by living animals which disturb the sediment surface.

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Comment: Re:The whole article is just trolling (Score 2) 738

by Alsee (#47974721) Attached to: How Our Botched Understanding of "Science" Ruins Everything

Which "AGW denying bit" would that be? It can't be the part about observation because it hasn't gotten any warmer for the past 18 years, so there would be no warming to be observed.

When one activist website tell you that the earth is warming, and another activist website tells you that the earth isn't warming, it's a good idea to check the actual scientific data to determine which activist website is getting the facts wrong. Here's an 18 year graph. The earth has in fact been warming over the last 18 years.

Here's the 50 year graph. That's a neat website that lets you generate graphs over any date range. If you want to play with it, just be sure to update the year-values for both series 1 (the red graph) and series 2 (the green graph).

There was also an unexpected surge in heat being pulled from the atmosphere into the deep ocean. This has recently pulled a vast amount of heat off of the typical graphs of surface-level atmospheric temperature. This is why air-temperature-graphs gives a false impression of somewhat slower warming the last few years.

Air is extremely low density. Very little of the global heat resides in the atmosphere, and what does show up in the air is extremely variable as heat shifts between the air and the land&sea. In fact the atmosphere only accounts for 2% of global heat content. The land surface temperatures are about 8%. The massive oceans account for 90% of the planet's heat content. Here's a graph of ocean heat over the last 50-odd years. The vast majority of heat ultimately goes into the oceans. That graph shows that there has been absolutely no slowing in the rate of global heat increase. Global warming hasn't paused. Global warming hasn't stopped. Global warming hasn't slowed.

There doesn't exist ONE scientific body of national or international standing that still denies man-made global warming. The last national or international scientific body to dissent was, comically, the American Association of Petroleum Geologists back in 2007. Yep, even the oil geologists stopped denying it seven years ago.

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"What man has done, man can aspire to do." -- Jerry Pournelle, about space flight

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