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The Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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Date: Sep 08 2003
Major: Computer Science (This Major's Salary over time)
I did my S.B. in math & EECS so I had the opportunity to work with people in the two departments. My general impression of engineering students was that most of them were quite bright and the less bright had to work around the clock to survive the back breaking work load. People are relentless and it's amazing how they don't stop working. With the math department, things are a little more theoretically so you generally tend to see more people with very analytical minds and poorer work habits. Not to say the math majors are lazy or anything but it seems like you're less likely to solve a math problem by spending hours on it as opposed to an engineering problem set which involves tons of grunge work. Overall, everyone was pretty smart and suprisingly open to collaboration. I heard all these scary stories about the cut throat competition @ MIT and I was relieved to find out that people are more than willing to stay up and help each other on problem sets. Professors are aware of the need for collaboration so they openly endorse it (although they usually require you to put the names of the collaborators on your pset). I can easily say I had the best five years of my life there (S.B. & M.Eng) and I was able to land an $83000 job as a software engineer @ Oracle straight out of college. There are about 40 other kids from my class at Oracle and it's gotten so ridiculous to a point where we don't even get excited when we see an old friend here anymore. It's a sad fact but corporate America is ran by prestige whores and the MIT name brand will take you far especially in these times. I recommend MIT to anyone who is hell bent on succeeding in college (even at the expense of making some social sacrifices) and you can be sure that the back to back all nighters and the long lab hours will pay off in the end.

Another note on the social life…the social life is not really that great but it's not nearly as bad as people make it out to be from the outside. There are some nerds/geeks at MIT but there are also tons of normal people who are fun to hang out with. The student body is very diverse and you meet people from all kinds of socioeconomic backgrounds. I had a friend who bought two Porsches by junior year and I know of a kids whose parents had minimum wage jobs. Varsity sports are obviously not so big (we don't recruit athletes) but the intramural scene is quite alive and you can participate in a wide variety of sports.

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