All professors brag about the one lucky student who gets a job offer with a six-figure salary. This is a medal proudly worn by the bragging academic. Gives him/her status amongst peers, and the opportunity to recruit more students, the essential currency of teaching.
I am never sure of the truth of these bragged-big salaries. Here is an example of a brag from Colorado School of Mines. A piece of paper, yes paper, arrived on my desk. I repeat part of what it said:
Starting salaries for Mines grads are increasing 5 percent. The highest starting salary for a 2010-2011 BS graduate to date is over $102,000. So far the median salary is $64,739. Last year’s highest was $95,000 with a median of $60,478. (By comparison, CU-Bolder’s reported median starting salary is $46,200).
I am not sure that I would employ anybody taught by somebody who writes such sloppy prose: Mines for mining–or sorry Mines is a grand shortenting of the Colorado School of Mines; grads for graduate; etc. But the prose and writing skill deteriorates further in the next sentence which reads:
Mines continues to be the top-rated public university in terms of starting median salary and mine career salary, according to PayScale.com. Mines outranks UC Berkeley, Georgia Institute of Technology and CalPoly.
Missing hyphens and commas be damned! It is the salary that counts to make the message. Screw precision and mellifluous prose.
So the lesson learnt: go Mines and go six-figure salaries; eschew good grammar and all those soft skills, for you will be moving dirt, and words don’t count.
Except they do. I wish to remind all who enter mining that communication and precise wording are essential to success. So study grammar, rhetoric, philosophy, history, and literature as well as the ROCKET SCIENCES needed to be a good mining engineer.
I wonder if the mining graduate who got over $100, 000 as a starting salary knows somebody in the mining industry? Or do they have very high grades? Or have they excelled in social activities that go beyond the merely academic? These types of brags never tell you the specifics of why one graduate gets a six-figure salary while their peers get a mere $60,000 and less.
Maybe the lucky salary recipient is not a mining graduate, but got a degree in petroleum engineering and is on the way to work for the oil & gas industry.
I once met a fellow who got a straight-out-of-school six-figure salary. He had worked, before university, in the mining industry as a laborer. He was the brightest-in-class. He was personable—a charasmatic person who charmed all he came into contact with. He had led debating societies; he had excelled in university politics; he was a fine sportsman; he was tall, dark, and handsome. He was sent to headoffice and then to foreign climes and hostile places to promote the interests of the mining industy. From what I heard he is a success: but he travels far & often; works hard & long; and never burns out.
Point is it takes move than the ordinary to get such salaries in the mining industry on graduation. But it can be done. You just have to excell in all regards: physical, intellectual, and technological. Give it a try.