It is commonly believed, by parents everywhere, that the quickest road to the poor house (that’s what my parents called it) is for their college-age children to major in Russian history, comparative literature, Kantian philosophy, or some other so-called useless field of concentration that has no practical use whatsoever. However, as it turns out, …
and as studies show, majors in these and other liberal arts concentrations might ultimately lead children not to their parents’ basement but to a fat pot of gold at the end of the poor house rainbow.
Using Census Bureau data, the Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project analyzed lifetime earnings for [several] discipline’s top 10% of moneymakers. It found that computer science’s stars rang up lifetime earnings of at least $3.2 million. Nice work, but not as impressive as philosophy majors’ $3.46 million or history majors’ $3.75 million.
Consider the executive leadership team at Seattle’s Zillow Group Inc. The real-estate data firm’s chief executive, Spencer Rascoff, chose a government and economics concentration at Harvard University. Chief Financial Officer Kathleen Philips studied political science at the University of California, Berkeley. Chief economist, Stan Humphries, earned a bachelor of arts in interdisciplinary studies from North Carolina’s Davidson College.
Last year, Mr. Rascoff, Ms. Philips and Mr. Humphries each earned at least $7 million in salary, bonus or stock options, according to Zillow’s proxy statement. Mr. Humphries took the most roundabout route of the three; after graduating from college, he taught high-school science in Africa for the Peace Corps before eventually earning a Ph.D in government from Georgetown University.