Smart People Should Build Things | Andrew Yang

Summary of: Smart People Should Build Things: How to Restore Our Culture of Achievement, Build a Path for Entrepreneurs, and Create New Jobs in America
By: Andrew Yang


Smart People Should Build Things, authored by Andrew Yang, delves into the career decisions of students from elite universities and the impact it has on the economy. The book explores the reasons behind students’ preferences for prestigious professional service companies, such as management consultancy firms, banks, and legal organizations. Yang examines the shortcomings of these high-paying, challenging corporate jobs and takes a closer look at entrepreneurship’s potential in driving national economic growth. The book serves as a guide for those eager to understand the challenges and rewards of seeking an alternative career path outside the realm of traditional corporate roles.

Elite Universities and Professional Service Companies

Elite university graduates opt for professional service company jobs for the high pay prospects, formal application processes, and peer influence.

As students approach the end of their studies, they often find themselves questioning their future career paths. Elite university students, in particular, tend to gravitate toward prestigious professional service companies such as management consultancies, banks, and the legal profession. The high payment prospects and challenging work environment are among the major draws of these companies.

Data confirms this trend, with Ivy League graduates demonstrating an average of 40% opting for finance or consulting positions. Additionally, 13% continue their studies in law school, while others apply for jobs in professional service companies.

The formal and selective application processes of these companies are also appealing to students from elite universities, as they are well-suited to the stringent procedures that resemble those of their alma maters. Furthermore, the influence of peers plays a significant role in these career choices, leading students to follow in the footsteps of their fellow graduates.

In summary, top-performing graduates from elite universities turn to professional service companies for reasons including high pay prospects, formal and selective application processes, and peer influence.

Professional Service Firms Shaping Career Choices

Professional service firms invest heavily in recruitment by spending millions of dollars to secure the best students. These blue-chip companies offer personal and professional growth opportunities to attract students. They claim to teach essential skills such as delivering high-quality work that can easily be applied to other roles. Students see these companies as great starting points while feeling insecure about their career paths.

Challenging Realities of Professional Careers

Have you ever experienced a gap between your job expectations and reality? The same goes for professional service companies’ expectations of their employees. This frequently leads to high attrition rates, which can harm individual mental health. Even moving from a large to a small company can be detrimental, as the required skillsets differ, and there’s a good chance of a salary downgrade. Startups also hire from their network, making it harder to leave once you’re in.

The Power of Innovation in Economic Development

Professional service companies are not the driving force behind economic growth; start-ups are. Studies have shown that new firms are responsible for all job growth in the United States. Smaller firms account for more patents per employee than larger firms and their impact on national economic development is more significant. The benefits of larger firms, such as those in the financial sector, are less clear. Share trading does not add value to the economy, thus making innovations far more beneficial. Unfortunately, the majority of US workers are now employed by companies with 500 or more employees, sidelining the most productive areas of the economy. As a result, there may be a surplus of unemployed or underemployed law school graduates by 2020.

Starting a Successful Business

Starting a business requires solid preparation, research, building a website, and securing co-founders, staff, investors, and advisers. The biggest challenge is finding initial funds to get started. Success usually comes after a long period of failure, so be prepared for setbacks. It is essential to keep in mind that remarkable careers are unlikely to advance in a straightforward, linear fashion.

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