Expert Generalism and Columbia

There are many incredible institutions across the US who have both the reputation and teaching ability to enable students to have very successful careers in tech. Stanford, MIT, and Carnegie Mellon are among the top and do an incredible job preparing their students.

An age old quote “Jack of all trades. Master of none.” drives many to focus deeply on one specific area with only a shallow look into the depths of other fields.

However, with the rapid growth of information, becoming an expert generalist can enable one to connect disparate fields with ease and draw inferences to discover new info one never learned.

The universe follows predetermined laws that lead to quantifiable and predictable outcomes. Therefore, one can expound upon something and gain new insights with great certainty of accuracy or at least enough trust to drive important decisions.

As someone who plans to work in areas requiring cross-disciplinary insight, this ability will be invaluable in enabling success. The day to day operations will require rapidly assimilating new information and connecting it to the tasks at hand.

For me, Columbia University is perfect. The school is divided into Columbia College (CC) and the School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS). More than 3/4 of students are at CC. For an individual interested in pursuing CS, this may not at first appear to trump the programs at a school like Stanford due to its large focus on technology and appropriately large cut of the funding.

However, Columbia is a haven for the expert generalist. With NYC immediately surrounding the university and a subway stop taking students anywhere in the city directly beside the school, one has access to the diversity and possibilities of the city itself. This is an obvious point but one worth making.

On the school aspect, Columbia surrounds every student with other individuals having disparate passions and interests and ensures they have meaningful interactions that benefit both minds through the transfer of perspective and knowledge. While discussing a subject in a field which one is not an expert in, one has the unique opportunity to rapidly expand knowledge on the fly and have one's assumptions disproven. The university provides this exact level of interdisciplinary discourse.

With my indefatigable thirst for knowledge and skills, Columbia University will be equipped to sate the vast array of interests I will wish to pursue without having to skimp on any of them.

By catering to expert generalists, they became a match with me and I am thoroughly excited to start in just a few short weeks.