Response: HMC Should Keep the Core

Re: “Mudd Should Reconsider Core,” Oct. 12 Opinions article.

As a senior scientist who regularly interviews and hires college graduates for a major corporation, I consider closely the range of courses a student has taken and would offer several opinions counter to the writer. The Core program is typical of most engineering colleges, providing a solid multidisciplinary foundation and providing early exposure to help students choose their career path among the engineering disciplines. Having sustained a high-tech international career through more than 30 years of economic good and bad times, I can personally attest that the breadth of technologies you are exposed to in your undergraduate studies will contribute strongly to your ability to master the new technologies that will emerge during your working lifetime.

Post-graduation studies of scientists and engineers have repeatedly shown that the more years they work, the more they use and value the breadth of course work they were exposed to as undergraduates. 

As someone who has guided software development, I can definitely say that the narrow specialization of study serves the computer science majors worst. Programmers who lack domain knowledge write absolutely the poorest code from a user’s standpoint—code that resembles a car with two steering wheels, one detached and both located inside the trunk. 

If you’re concerned about more depth in a specific field, get a master’s degree. The bachelor’s degree is to help students refine their area of interest, and provide a broad base from which to launch a lifetime of on-the-job learning. The Core serves that purpose well, which is why it is typical of most engineering colleges. 

Mr. Kim Head

BS, Geophysics, 1978; MBA, 1986

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