8 responses to “WTF #9: Master of My Domain”

  1. Chris Gammell

    I know it’s silly, but I often shun the highest GPA people. I’ve written before about how I read resumes from the bottom up, but even without looking at the resume, I often shun the top academic performers. It’s all anecdotal, mind you, but it seems to have worked out for me in the past. Working with the top students often doesn’t jive with my personality and the way I work; plus the personalities that accompany perfect grades (perfectionism) can be detrimental in a fast paced engineering environment. This is, of course, in hiring interns. If there was one trait I’d like to hire on it’d be eagerness and interest in the field. Really it’s just enthusiasm. Good luck trying to find that on a spreadsheet!

    And yes, I also have a bit of nostalgia and self interest in mind: If my former bosses had only gone by GPA, I never would have gotten a co-op, which would have meant I would have had a hard time getting my first job. Somehow I snuck by the filtering system (well, I had above a 3.0, which was required) and must have wowed them with my wide eyed wonder and my impressive past work (newspaper delivery, ice cream scooper, tennis instructor).

    Though I can’t blame you for choosing the way you did, Fluxor, I’ll be interested to hear more about these students you’re hiring. When I find myself increasingly critical of management (everywhere) for assuming that engineers are interchangeable, it’s interesting to see that the system is set up so that managers are presented with a list of assumed interchangeable worker bees. Can’t wait for the next WTF!

    1. Katie

      I’ve actually wondered if my 4.0 is sometimes a detriment. Maybe I need to intentionally get an A- in something to bring it down to a 3.98 🙂 I’m really enthusiastic, personable and a great communicator, I promise!! That’s why I always link to my blog on my resume. I think it communicates a personality if those in charge of hiring happen to check it out.

    2. Fluxor

      Katie, Chris is just bitter about those with 4.0s 😉

      1. Chris Gammell

        Well…I said it was silly on my part. And of course I’m bitter. But not with Katie, she’s cool!

  2. BrickInTheWall

    I am new to this blog, but have found it to be very well written and insightful. When you mentioned that, “the spreadsheet doesn’t indicate what the highest attainable score is. So one guy has a GPA of 3.5 while another gal has 89. Umm…”, I thought, why not just assume that a 3.5/4.0 is a 87.5 and compare everyone equally that way. I think thats better than eeny meeny miney mo-ing it, even though I doubt you did that.

    1. Fluxor

      If your method of comparison is to be valid, the two assumptions you’ve made implicitly must hold true. One, GPAs, when divided by the maximum score, can be directly compared against percentages. Second, the maximum GPA score is 4.0. Both are incorrect.

      1. BrickInTheWall

        You’re right. Gpa’s don’t convert directly to percentages that way. Here is a link I found from the University of Washington with the correct conversions on a 4.0 scale http://faculty.washington.edu/mbarreto/courses/gpa.html

        Also, I found a link that may be of use to you when trying to make sense of the Chinese system of grading
        http://www.foreigncredits.com/Resources/GPA-Calculator/

        1. gasstationwithoutpumps

          That percentage to 4.0 scale converter is specific to one faculty member. Since both the percentage and the 4.0 scale are completely arbitrary, there cannot be a universal converter between them, much less a “correct” one. I know several faculty who write their tests to maximize information gain, which results in a mean score of around 50% and standard deviation of around 20%. On such a test, the scale you cited would be ludicrous.

          The foreigncredits.com site assumes that all schools in a given country use the same scale, which is also a dubious assumption.