How to Choose a College Major and Why


A young lad on Wall Street Oasis asked the Community on the importance of choose the proper degree so that he can survive in 15 years. I applaud his courage and forward looking approach by taking a long-term horizon in his long positions with the Game of Life.

This is a repost of my response to this thread: What’s the most valuable and versatile Undergraduate Degree nowadays and looking into the future?

In order to understand this properly you have to know all the players in this market namely:

1. Market Makers
2. Promoters
3. Lenders
4. Corporations

College or University is a business first and an institution of higher-education second. A college cannot sustain operations in the red much like any other business therefore there must be promoters to elevate the brand, create a sense of purpose and urgency, and maintain the necessity of going to this institution so that the market makers can feast on the innocent souls of future generations.

Promoters can be anyone like your parents who’ve gone to and are indebted to Lenders from this process and people like your friends or teachers who encourage you to soak up that clout by going to the best target or top school to have the highest probability of success in order to “make it” in life. Promoters makes a market for the Market Makers who are Professors, bloated Administrators, and other Staff that work and feed off of this institution. They trade you, the ignorant, through X amount of credits for a Y degree so that you may graduate in Z years. Sales cycle is typically four years til maturation at which point you are either marketable or not to Corporations but certainly almost always indebted at this point to Lenders.

School is a stage where the game is played and done effectively your four years will be filled with many good stories of parties, late night cram sessions, and tales of getting laid. Enjoy it while it lasts because the real world isn’t as chill in comparison and hopefully, because it is not the duty of Institution to prepare you for this, you also made time sufficient to network and connect with decision makers or friends of decision makers to get yourself locked into opportunities so that you don’t have to use the normal channels to get your foot in the door; fraternities or sororities are great backdoors into some of the most prominent Corporations without leaving you constantly red-eyed from over studying while providing you some hint of social life.

If you were lucky and went on a scholarship or your parents paid for the ordeal, great. If not, then now you are about 200-250k USD in debt and looking (begging) for a job that pays sub $100K ($65-85k maybe?) as an Entry-level nobody. You also meet, depending on the growth of the Corporation and how well it adapts to this Automated economy, other drones who are 10, 15, 20, or 30 years your senior resembling what you will be like in their age doing the same job because they have no other option and they’ve locked themselves into their jobs to call it careers to support their wife, kids, and toys if they can afford it. As you look at that cubical you begin to wonder if it is worth it but you keep reading articles on LinkedIn written by the likes of Jack Welch telling you to keep drinking the coolaide and follow his archaic advice from his limited experience as a widget maker CEO. From confirmation bias, you will no doubt at this point believe in the rhetoric at work from your boss and peers, excited about single digit or low double digit promotions and dreaming about living the life or something in your 30s. Knowing that most haven’t reached escape velocity and your peers are just like your int he cubicles next to you, that dream fades day by day.

Corporations are to serve the shareholders not you. You are simply SG&A unless if you are in Sales or some other field where you kill it for the company or the company gets killed. You start to realize that no W-2 employee every made it to the Olympus 100 (Forbes 100) list and that in order to do that you need to not think like the other working bees next to you. Too late, you’ve drank too much coolaide and now read articles produced by the Gods of Olympus to make a Market for obedient working bees and you have no idea what you wanted to do pre-college, post-college, or at work. You have no life purpose and this $200-250k debt is burning a massive whole in your Checkings Account every slowly as compound interest works against and not for you.

Closing Remarks:

Steer clear of cognitive biases such as confirmation bias on degree selection (reading too much garbage from Business Insider or other unqualified channels of ‘media’ on compensation and careers or listening to your idiot roommate who dropped out twice already and changed majors three times) and the sunk cost hypothesis where you feel like you have to swim in your lane even though there is a big Great White Shark smacking its lips waiting for you to get ever closer to becoming his Dinner. Just like investing in the Markets, know how to properly value yourself, your time, connections/network, and opportunities that lay ahead in 5-10 years in order to make calculated risk-adjusted and properly hedged decisions with your long positions in the Game of Life.

Doesn’t matter what you major in, learn something fun that adds value to the REAL world. Fuck what market makers, promoters, lenders, and Corporations want you to think to make you easier to control. $SNAP had a don’t give two shits attitude where at that time the world of Social Media was about stamp collection not deletion and living in the moment. Right now it is one of the most successful Social Media IPOs in history.

Have fun, learn to learn not to rote memorize, and innovate… Or take a Liberal Arts degree and ride 20 years in the Military to retire on a less than stellar Pension program but none-the-less a Pension retirement at age 42 and figure out what you want to do with life at that point.

Concrete Answer:
1. Computer Science (help put your buddies out of work by Automating their jobs away)
2. Engineering (facilitate and work with CS majors to get rid of the human work force)
3. MBA rebrand – Use this cautiously as a non-M7 and non-Target will almost certainly leave you worse off than before

How WSO can help?:
1. Learn the Language of Finance (IBD, PE, HF courses, etc)
2. Network with others who speak the Lingo (i.e. WSO Intern and City ABC Social Events)
3. Level-up and be in charge of both humans and Robots to be a Lieutenant in the Army of SkyNet (Webinars, Resume services, etc)

Final Notes:
I noticed most people fall short on Soft skills and not Hard skills which results in lost opportunities. Your value add as a human being is having Soft skills for which Machines cannot at this moment Master and doing it better than the next person. I’m writing a basic LinkedIn guide for fellow Apes here on WSO. If you want opportunities you have to pry them from other people’s “cold, dead hands!”

Cold calling, e-mailing, and connecting on LinkedIn are some of the tools that you ought to have in your toolbox as a student or working Professional. People spend too much time on their phones so the game is to figure out how to get their attention at the right time, with proper content, entice, engage, and sell them on your idea or yourself.

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