Tag Archive for 'cuhk'

what’s more imporant: the shell or the egg?

One of the home­work this week is to write a resume (CV) of myself later to be sent to my poten­tial employer in my summer intern­ship. First of all, the school has required all resumes to be writ­ten in the “stan­dard­ized format” (read “boring out­dated format”), which has required the stu­dents to reveal their cumu­la­tive GPA and all bunch of boring details like edu­ca­tion, etc. That got me won­der­ing why the school didn’t go ahead and do the work for me instead of having me fill in all the infor­ma­tion the school already has access to. Now, I thought one of the few things I remem­ber from the man­age­ment classes is that “personality matters”. Inter­est­ingly, the “stan­dard­ized format” doesn’t even give you a hobbies/interests field to fill in. Appar­ently the school doesn’t really want to know about me as a person.

On the con­trary with my school’s direc­tion, the market seems to think that the shell of the resume is prob­a­bly more impor­tant than the con­tent. Some time ago I came across a very out­stand­ing resume that serves to prove this point. More­over, a simple Amazon search for “resume writing” turned up 4,000+ results. This raises a pretty inter­est­ing ques­tion: “If the resume writ­ing skills can improve my inter­view results, given my resume con­tent is the same, then why the heck do I have to work so hard for the resume content?”


So what are the resume con­tent? It would be your col­lege degree, your cumu­la­tive GPA as included in my “standardized resume”. These are the things that we’ve been work­ing so hard for since at a young age. Then, if there are so many “instant ways to get your resume noticed in today’s crowded job market”, why don’t we just do the “instant ways” instead of having spent prob­a­bly hun­dreds of thou­sands of money to get that little degree title which occu­pies prob­a­bly 3 – 5 lines of text in that little piece of paper? Isn’t the shell more impor­tant than the egg?

As abstract as it may seem, those titles, col­lege degrees are actu­ally also part of the shell. Then what is the egg? It’s your per­son­al­ity. (I hate to use this term because it sounds like those pro­fes­sors, but that’s what it is) There are hotel CEOs not having a degree about hos­pi­tal­ity. That more than serves the point that the degree really doesn’t make too much of a dif­fer­ence, no matter what the soci­ety tries to make us believe.

I had a con­ver­sa­tion with a friend of mine about this topic a couple of days ago, and he said one thing that explained this stuff pretty well:

After we grad­u­ate and come into the soci­ety, we all have to start learn­ing from the ground up anyway. It is naive to think that more than 10% of what you’ve learned at school actu­ally applies in the real world. What truly mat­ters is your own capabilities.

This brings us back to the same old ques­tion: what’s the point of wast­ing so much resources get­ting part of the shell, learn­ing about a bunch of use­less stuffs so you can get past the exams? That is a big waste of resources. People feel more proud when they are in the quan­ti­ta­tive finance pro­gram more than in the engi­neer­ing pro­gram because they had higher admis­sion grades. Wel­come to real­ity; the world of package/tags; the world of absurdity.

so this is the most prominent career?

I was study­ing for the account­ing exam tomor­row and got too bored so I did some Inter­net surf­ing. A random search revealed the fact in the US, the aver­age accoun­tant makes about $40,000 a year and the aver­age pro­gram­mer makes about $50,000 a year, which is as much as 25% more than that of accoun­tant (data from salary.com). At the same time, Hong Kong stu­dents are com­pet­ing so hard for the busi­ness degrees or pro­fes­sional account­ing degrees. I can only say it is a living proof that people will always follow the hype no matter what his­tory has taught us. People seem to have for­got­ten all about the IT bubble when almost every new born mil­lion­aire was doing IT businesses.

OK so people have free­dom of choices and maybe the folks at ACCA and friends aren’t talk­ing their asses off when making state­ments such as “accounting will be the most promi­nent and in-​demand indus­try for years to come”. Let’s talk about the real con­tents involved. In my entire text­book Hos­pi­tal­ity Finan­cial Account­ing, the typ­i­cal day-to-day job of an accoun­tant seems to be draw­ing tables (jour­nals as the call them) like this:

Date Account title and Expla­na­tion Ref. Debit Credit
Sept. 5 Mer­chan­dise Inven­tory   1,500  
  Accounts Payable     1,500
8 Accounts Payable   200  
  Mer­chan­dise Inven­tory     200

I have noth­ing against this kind of tables really, but what bugs me is that this is the gist of an Uni­ver­sity course. Frankly, a 10 year old can learn to do these kinds of tables given proper edu­ca­tion and some time to learn. Why do ter­tiary edu­ca­tion stu­dents bother with these labor paper work? What’s more, I don’t see a single reason why this kinds of things are not done by com­puter, but paid employees.

With that said, let’s com­pare the ordi­nary “output” of the ordi­nary pro­gram­mer: public void mirror() { mirror(root); } private void mirror(Node node) { if (node != null) { // do the sub-trees mirror(node.left); mirror(node.right);

    // swap the left/right pointers
    Node temp = node.left;
    node.left = node.right;
    node.right = temp;


Alright this is not a pro­gram­mer vs accoun­tant topic but the mere fact that a 10 year old kid is not likely to be able to com­pre­hend the above code right away makes pro­gram­ming imme­di­ately looks more “professional” than “professional accounting”. And for your infor­ma­tion, the smartest com­puter pro­gram in the world prob­a­bly cannot pro­duce any code like the above level (which is already not very complicated).

All that aside, as of writ­ing of this post, I am a busi­ness stu­dent who is likely to be doing the table stuff in the future. But this has got me think­ing, how can some­one pos­si­bly love this kind of works? If not, then I’m going into deep trou­ble: spend­ing life doing things I don’t like.

In my opin­ions, why have people grown to pursue boring jobs like account­ing instead of more fun work like design and sci­ence? This is soci­ety at work guys. The soci­ety, either your family, tele­vi­sion adver­tise­ments have made us not want to adven­ture. Now that seem rea­son­able that most people will want to pursue the safest career out there, “the career that is to stay in-​demand for the years to com”. Think about it, is the very same reason you are pur­su­ing your “career” (if you have any def­i­nite one), or are you really pur­su­ing your dream?

Enough com­plaint, time to go back to my study for the account­ing exam tomorrow…