The prestige of the school from which someone obtains a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) degree may make little difference in terms of how much money they earn, according to a new study examining STEM salaries 10 years after graduation.
The researchers observed few salary differences among more than 7,000 STEM graduates, although students with liberal arts degrees from top schools made more than those from a less-prestigious institution.
Brigham Young University professor Mark H. Showalter thinks standardization in science and engineering curriculums may be a factor in this trend, noting a difference in wages is observable by excluding test and income data from the salary assessment.
Carla Brodley, dean of computer science at Northeastern University, says computer science graduates' wages are determined by their performance on the technical interview, which may include a coding test, when being hired. "It's not clear to me that higher-ranked schools prepare you better," she notes.
Although JMJ Phillip Executive Search's Dennis Theodorou acknowledges a top-tier school will open up more job opportunities for undergrads, he says after a decade "it's really about the experience you have."
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