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UChicago's Terrible PayScale Ranking

Cue7Cue7 Posts: 1,668Registered User Senior Member
edited September 2013 in University of Chicago
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/09/13/business/economy/Mismatched-Rankings.html?_r=0

Any ideas why UChicago's payscale ranking is so poor, while its much bally-hooed US News ranking is quite high? It's the only national university with such a disparity (e.g. US News rank of 5, payscale rank of 104). Yes, engineering schools do well, but I'm surprised by the gap between UChicago and peer schools such as Columbia or Swarthmore (which have very high US News ranks and then at least decent payscale ranks - ranging in the 20s to 50s).

I'm a UChicago alum and I know the standard response is "UChicago grads are less pre-professional," but I'm surprised by the sheer low mark of the ranking. Swarthmore isn't pre-professional either, and it's 27 on the payscale ranking. Columbia has a similar curriculum and bent to UChicago, and it's 54 on payscale. Why and how is UChicago so low?

Any thoughts?
Post edited by Cue7 on

Replies to: UChicago's Terrible PayScale Ranking

  • ww2015ww2015 Posts: 65Registered User Junior Member
    Colombia law graduates earn more than those from Yale and Harvard, since most of its graduates work in New York. How about its undergrads? Do most of them work in New York?
  • J'adoubeJ'adoube Posts: 2,052Registered User Senior Member
    Mid-career means that these people graduated a while ago so things might be a little different now. If Chicago's reputation as the teacher of teachers is true then we shouldn't be too surprised by the results if we take into account how poorly paid educators are in this country.
  • RMLRML Posts: 5,812Registered User Senior Member
    I think Chicago suffered in this ranking due to the absence of an engineering field, as well as, its poor placement in banking and financial institutions. It seems that Chicago is not well respected by banks and financial firms despite its strong economics and mathematics programs.

    As you can all see, most of the schools that occupy the top spots are specialist schools focusing in engineering, tech, IT and business.
  • ww2015ww2015 Posts: 65Registered User Junior Member
    Probably in the next a few years, USNEWS will include kind of pay scale data in its ranking system. I will support if they do so.
  • motherbear332motherbear332 Posts: 668Registered User Member
    This is "mid-career" salaries. What exactly does that mean and where are they getting the data from? Good, meaningful data on jobs and salaries is difficult to come by, even for new grads. It only gets more difficult as time goes on.
  • unaloveunalove Posts: 3,725Registered User Senior Member
    Agree with J'Adoube- these rankings could tell us more about Chicago 20 years ago than Chicago today.

    The high ranking of Stevens/Babson seem a bit of a lark, but they may tell a good story-- that is, the lower-ranked private schools are worth it if you plan to live in a high-cost-of-living area and are going for a professional undergraduate degree. I imagine there are many employers in New York who would be happy to take a Stevens alum but might not know Swarthmore; and employers in Boston who would be happy to hire Babson but might not know Bates.

    (Excuse my examples, I'm going for alliteration here.)

    Not to mention that most academic researchers-- which I imagine many alumni are-- do not make much money relative to their level of education.
  • Sue22Sue22 Posts: 2,152Registered User Senior Member
    Check out this discussion which touches on the weaknesses of PayScale. Pay particular attention to PayScale's methodology.

    http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/college-search-selection/1551708-us-news-rankings-what-would-they-look-like-without-peer-assessment-score-9.html

    For instance, if you dig around a little you'll find that the sample size of mid-career alumni for Swarthmore was all of 13. Yup, they judged the strength of the institution on the basis of 13 self-reported salaries.
  • JHSJHS Posts: 14,014Registered User Senior Member
    I haven't looked at these Payscale rankings, but in the past every time I have looked at Payscale it has been next to useless. It excludes anyone with an advanced degree, which means probably 70-80% of the graduates of any college I care about. I think it effectively measures how many people are in family businesses. Against that background, a few engineering or accounting graduates, plus some entrepreneurs and professional athletes, can really move the averages one way, and government employees and private school teachers move it the other way.

    Chicago's "problem" probably boils down to too few heirs of family businesses, no engineering and accounting grads, and too many people in public or nonprofit sector jobs. When Chicago did its long-range plan a decade or so ago, one of the findings was that compared to peer institutions its alumni were heavily weighted to education and public service, and not to business careers. I think they have been trying to address that at the admissions level, but none of it will have shown up in "midcareer" analyses yet.

    Here's a concrete example: I have two cousins, siblings, who graduated from Chicago in the 90s, and thus might possibly be in the Payscale numbers. One was a physics major, then got a PhD in applied math, and makes a zillion dollars working for a financial trading firm. The other sibling was a political science major. She worked for a politician in Indonesia, then ran a successful congressional campaign in her hometown. She worked as a key staffer for that congressman for years, then left to run a successful statewide campaign, and was one of the leaders of a successful effort to legalize same-sex marriage in her state. She works as a lobbyist/organizer for unions in her state, and probably intends to run for office. So . . . two different careers, both pretty interesting, actually, and both directly relating to interests they developed at the University of Chicago, but only the low-paid one shows up in the Payscale numbers.
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