Most useless class you took in undergrad?

So what was the most useless class you had to take in undergrad?

I'm still not convinced supply chain management is even a legit major. Not sure why people want to work in amazon fulfillment centers...

Comments (83)

  • Intern in S&T - FI
May 4, 2020

most of the classes i took in ug were usless

    • 5
May 4, 2020

Calculus. The vast majority of engineers don't use calculus AT ALL in their jobs. I was a finance major and have never found any use for calculus outside of academia. It's a totally pointless course for almost everyone.

May 4, 2020

Calculus was more useless than the marketing class you probably took where you spent the entire semester learning vocabulary?

    • 1
May 4, 2020
Rotterdam:

Calculus was more useless than the marketing class you probably took where you spent the entire semester learning vocabulary?

100%. There is literally zero use for calculus among 99.9% of the population. At least for those of us who work in businesses, there is something that can be learned in a marketing class--because revenue production is key to the survival of all business.

May 4, 2020
real_Skankhunt42:

The vast majority of engineers don't use calculus AT ALL in their jobs.

Says the finance major.

1) Most engineering classes heavily use calculus + differential equations as the most basic tools.
2) You use the knowledge you learned in classes in engineering jobs.

Finance Data Science

May 4, 2020
Milton Friedchickenman:
real_Skankhunt42:

The vast majority of engineers don't use calculus AT ALL in their jobs.

Says the finance major.

1) Most engineering classes heavily use calculus + differential equations as the most basic tools.
2) You use the knowledge you learned in classes in engineering jobs.

That is factually incorrect. The book "The Math Myth" covers this topic. The vast majority of engineers never use calculus on the job. Virtually no one outside of engineering and finance/economics academia uses calculus.

As a finance major who has actually passed CFA L1, calculus was wholly unused. Never once on the job in 10 years, from investment banking analyst to mortgage bank branch owner/operator, to head of analytics for a real estate company with $1 billion in assets has calculus ever been remotely, potentially needed. It's a totally useless course for almost all college students minus the engineers who rarely use it post graduation.

May 4, 2020

I can only hope you're joking...

May 4, 2020
lcmc123:

I can only hope you're joking...

Why should the entire student body of a college take a course focused on tools they will never use and concepts they will forget days or weeks after the exam? You've been programmed to believe that all things STEM is good, but it's a waste of time and money for the majority of students at a university.

We bitch and complain about the cost and value of college and then we grasp our pearls when we are forced to confront the efficacy or value of a personally favored course.

I'm waiting for the asinine argument, "well I use calculus in my Monte Carlo simulations when I trade stocks." Yeah, while you are underperforming the market...

May 4, 2020

As a math major I'm probably a bit biased I. the subject but I don't entirely disagree. I think someone who believes schools should have gen ed requirements(not saying this is you, I don't even believe in it myself) should support a calculus course being one of them. While it's probably true that the majority of folks who take a calculus class will never directly use anything they learned in it, I do think some of the concepts are valuable in life. Ideas like limits, rates of change, and cumulative growth are important. As an aside from the whole calculus thing, I think if schools are going to require a math course it should be something like intro to proofs or propositional logic. Taking that class really has made me a better writer and helped me organize my thoughts more clearly and rigorously, and I think most people could get more than a little out of it.

    • 6
May 5, 2020

Couldn't agree more.

Taking an Intro to Proofs completely changed I approach any problem. Skills you learn as a math major - particularly the ability to break down a problem into a simple and general terms- are useful in all walks of life.

Tbh, what 99% of people think is math is just calculation. Real Math is in the logic and proofs. Wow I miss solving Putnam problems.

Finance Data Science

May 4, 2020

Wtf are you on. Calculus is 100% useful for a lot of different markets related roles. A flow options trader at a bank directly told me that calc even above Calc 1 is really useful for his job. Even if you don't use it, it's one of those things that teaches you how to think in a valuable way. I haven't even mentioned its value to many different academic disciplines and computer science. I'm saying this as someone that's never been incredibly into math.

Array

Most Helpful
May 5, 2020

Even if most people are the type of people who will learn by imitation and therefore have no practical use case for calculus in their day to day lives, that does not make calculus a "useless" class.

Calculus is an integral part of the language we use to describe our natural world (no pun intended). Universities would be doing scholars a disservice if they did not require you to at least familiarize yourself with the first principles of such a foundational discipline as mathematics.

Moreover, calculus under-girds the infrastructure that any person born in a 21st century society will rely upon on a daily basis.

You reason that just because Jane Doe doesn't differentiate and integrate equations all day long professionally, calculus is a waste of her time as a student. I reason that if she cannot understand calculus, she faces a ceiling on her ability to understand her world, the rules it operates by, and the realm of possibility that exists within those bounds. Without that understanding, is her wellbeing as a sentient thinker not diminished? And can a university that purports to cultivate minds really take the position that usefulness in a broad sense boils down to vocational utility?

For the students in this thread reading, I implore you to take calculus if you can do it without damaging your transcript irreparably. I don't use it in my day to day life, but I am sure glad that I dedicated time to understanding this facet of our universe before my attention got sopped up completely by the needs of the day at the office and at home.

As a coda, if you think calculus will never come in to play professionally, think again. Every C-suite in the world nowadays cares about calculus and its applications because even if the CEO cannot calculate the dot product between two vectors, the CEO is likely someone who is holistically intelligent (protip: you can get this from taking an undergrad calculus course) and therefore they or their advisors understand that the future of their businesses at the turn of the 21st century lies partly in their ability to harness the power of big data, predictive analytics, algorithms, computers, robotics, etc - all of which make use of calculus. Because calculus is part of the lingua franca of modern innovation, failing to understand calculus really bars you from participating in the cutting-edge initiatives that are being undertaken in the business world today.

    • 10
May 5, 2020

Post was refreshing to read! I never thought of Calculus that way, to be quite honest. I do think that math, in general, allows us to think of the world in a different manner. I worked in engineering in the past, and Calculus was used heavily, especially when you work in a lab and assisting the senior engineers doing vector analysis on new products for the company.

+1 SB

No pain no game.

May 4, 2020

I transferred between sophmore and junior year between a private school that takes no federal money to a public school.

I had finished by Econ major by mid-way Junior year. My senior year was the biggest joke ever and I am forever jaded by the university system going forward (I fought the administration a whole year to get my previous Lib arts classes accepted, only 40% actually got approved)

Here we go:
- Japanese history - Samurai to the Pokemon (dead serious)
- History of Islam - Critiques on Western Repression
- Democratic theory - This was during the '16 election where I had to listen to Freshmen spout bullshit like "The Tea Party and the Libertarians hate Latinx people.
- Business ethics - a Freshman foundation course they would not let me take online or at a CC.
my last semester in university. Essay topics such as "Why is it immoral to falsify X,Y,Z" or "what would you do if you saw sexual harrassment in the workplace?" That's $5.5k I'm never getting back

And finally, the last one: I took German AND Spanish at my old college - new college didn't accept credits for either so I got to redo that.

Needless to say, I vehemently flip the bird to my Alma Mater and only donate to the former college. I did the math - I spent an additional $33-35k just on the bullshit retake classes alone. Had I not fought the administration, I easily could be looking at 2x that----on top of the tuition I already was paying or had payed.

/End rant

    • 2
  • VP in PE - LBOs
May 4, 2020

That's the right idea. Ethics is a complete waste of time. Good on you for treating it like the joke it is.

    • 1
May 4, 2020

Glad that's what you took out of my post. SB'd

    • 1
May 5, 2020

Good god, this reads like a Glenn Beck list of liberal arts courses corrupting young minds, emphasis on the liberal.

Why did you decide to transfer from your first school?

Array

    • 1
  • VP in PE - LBOs
May 4, 2020

Any undergrad business class after basic accounting (and maybe statistics/analytics).

May 5, 2020

Why statistics/analytics?

  • VP in PE - LBOs
May 5, 2020

It's pretty useful to interpret, say, a study or report someone gives you and it gives you an intuitive understanding of how to manipulate data even if you aren't going all in and using R. Also I think it generally makes you a smarter person and better at solving problems even if it isn't directly related to what you do day-to-day.

  • Analyst 1 in S&T - Other
May 7, 2020

Yeah I went to a non target where all our banker alumni studied accounting or finance so I presumed I had to major in one of those to be taken seriously about my pursuit of high finance, I hated my time in undergrad business school and as soon as I landed my internship at a BB I rerouted to minoring in statistics and taking as many math / CS courses as I could.

If I could go back in time I'd study STEM - and would have definitely tried to get into an Ivy or top LAC.

May 4, 2020

mindfulness and art of Yoga and Meditation.

Array

    • 1
May 4, 2020

Curious how this was useless? Bad instructor? It's a pretty useful practice altogether. Definitely changed my life when I was consistent with it and need to get back into it.

    • 4
    • 1
May 7, 2020

I believe in the practice just not as a class. A lot of the stuff you can learn on your own.

Array

May 4, 2020

Any and all business classes

    • 3
May 4, 2020

I took a social media class taught by a 60 or so year old journalism professor. She knew an extraordinarily small amount about social media.

    • 2
May 4, 2020

Was AOL one of the course topics?

    • 1
May 4, 2020

Luckily no - but it was a lot about "creating your personal brand" on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

May 4, 2020

Philosophy and Theology. We were required to take 2 PHIL and 3 THEO as general classes

Yes, I went to a Catholic school...

    • 5
    • 1
May 4, 2020

Curious about the Theology courses... were they cakewalks or designed towards Seminary-esq Theology majors?

May 4, 2020

They were mostly cakewalks unless you decided to take a hard class like Modern Theories of Historical Islam or something. Although you could major in Theology and we did have a seminary on campus for those who chose that path

    • 3
May 4, 2020

Philosophy is awesome but can be ruined by a teacher fairly easily

Gun rights activist
May 4, 2020

Introduction to Political Science - It actually might be an interesting topic but our professor had like 50 slides per lecture with weird memes on it. She also once panicked, that the she had just deleted the internet.

  • Prospect in Other
May 4, 2020

--deleted--

    • 2
May 4, 2020

Intro Art History
Except it was more about appreciating cultures and not actually looking at art

Literally cannot name you a single painting/work of art I learned from the course

May 4, 2020

I bet you were there to meet girls

Finance Data Science

    • 1
May 4, 2020

Ngl the ratio was def >1 maybe even >2. Had to pick between that and philosophy lol. Took it though because the philosophy class was actually hard from what I heard and didn't want to sack my GPA on a gen ed.

  • Incoming Analyst in PE - Other
May 4, 2020

really can't wait to use my intro to film 100 knowledge in high finance.

I slept through a midterm in that class bc I was hungover and told the TA I had an asthma attack and couldn't get out of bed. The TA went to bat for me in front of the prof so I could take it at a later date during some additional office hours. The look on that prof's face after I left office hours after ~12 minutes of taking an their exam was priceless. Got an A in the class too.

May 5, 2020

I showed up 2/3 into my theater final, by which time most of the people were gone since the final was that easy. Actually liked the class, we had to go to a couple student plays over the semester which were actually pretty good and useful as a cheap/free date sometimes.

May 4, 2020

Acting. There were like 4 levels and I took the first one just for fun.

Professor was a very serious theater director and I did not have any fun.

LuckyNonTarget:

I'm still not convinced supply chain management is even a legit major.

You're right that SCM is a useless major.

People in industrial engineering / Operations research learn the exact same things + more. All the actual SCM roles are given to these IEOR graduates.

Finance Data Science

    • 1
May 4, 2020

General education.

Funniest
  • VP in PE - LBOs
May 5, 2020

Not a lot of intellectual curiously here... guess that explains all the threads about IU

    • 10
  • Associate 1 in IB - Gen
May 5, 2020

Zing

  • Incoming Analyst in S&T - Other
May 5, 2020

Useless in relation to finance? Career? Personal development? Are we taking into account the cost(s) of the course, the instructor, etc.?

Also pretty sure supply chain management is one of the more lucrative career roles these days, and I don't think they make you sit in fulfillment all day...

May 5, 2020

I took a class called American Foreign Policy, which normally was taught by a well-respected professor. Class normally was challenging and supposed to be one of the more interesting classes offered by the Political Science department.

Normal professor was out for the semester due to health-related issues and the college brought in a literal crazy person without a PhD to teach the class. It effectively turned into "America's Greatest Conspiracy Theories", and every single person in the class got an A. All you had to do was pander to his love of the deep state.

What's funny is this guy is very active on social media, and based on 2020 standards is now a very measured and reasonable man. The times, they do a'change.

    • 1
  • Associate 1 in IB-M&A
May 5, 2020

Real talk - my engineering background and calculus courses have helped me get the "feel" for modeling and finance more than any other course. All this rambling about blah blah on the job, without an understanding of underlying theory means that you are not gonna be able to go outside of the template someone gives you.

Financial modeling is so difficult because you are solving CALCULUS questions with incomplete and piecewise information and functions. This is why you turn on iterative calculations, because the computer will converge towards the solved-for number to a significant figure that is good enough for valuation.

I've worked with a lot of people in finance (and engineering) who take the "on-the-job" attitude, and they are fine with vanilla stuff, because it is a well trodden path, but as soon as we start talking about non-standard structures or new alternatives, it becomes difficult for them to "get" it intuitively. It's a cargo cult way of looking at things, and it works until it doesn't.

As to "useless class", idk, I feel like with effort you can get something out of anything you participate in, even if it isn't directly applicable to what you want to do.

    • 3
May 5, 2020

This thread a snapshot of WSO

May 5, 2020

all of them

May 5, 2020

Russian Fairy Tales

May 5, 2020

Labor Economics taught by a guy who thinks unions add value.

It was like being taught Geography by someone who believes the earth is flat

  • VP in PE - LBOs
May 5, 2020

I mean they do so...

May 5, 2020

There isn't business on earth that wouldn't be worth substantially more if it's employees were de-unionized

    • 2
May 5, 2020

I took a basic business communication class my Freshman year.
The grad student teaching it decided to spend 90% of the class talking with us about memes as that was what his dissertation was about. The other 10% of the class was vocabulary memorization. No one cared as it was the easiest survey class any of us had ever taken.

May 5, 2020
Comment
May 7, 2020