Bryan Caplan  

School Networking Bleg

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Questions for everyone:

1. How many people you met in K-12 are you still friends with?

2. How many people you met in K-12 do you professionally interact with?

Questions for college attendees:

3. How many people you met in college are you still friends with?

4. How many people you met in college do you professionally interact with?

Questions for graduate/professional school attendees:

5. How many people you met in graduate/professional school are you still friends with?

6. How many people you met in graduate/professional do you professionally interact with?

Please include your age and major in your response.


Comments and Sharing






COMMENTS (70 to date)
Tom West writes:

1. 0 - we scattered to the winds by grade 7
2. 0
3. 20 (+ wife) - they still form the vast majority of my current friends
4. 1 - most of my college friends are in CS, but work for different companies

age: 53, major: computer science

Tom West writes:

Oops. noticed is was K-12, not elementary. Still 0 on both counts. University scattered my high school friends all over to be rarely seen again.

(Not a Facebooker, which would probably change things.)

FCAJR writes:

1. 0
2. 0
3. 1
4. 0
5. 1
6. 0

age=54, BSEE, MBA

Levi Russell writes:

1. 5
2. 0
3. 6
4. 0
5. 4
6. 7

age: 28
majors: finance (undergrad), agricultural economics (doctorate)

Cole writes:

1. 5
2. 0
3. 20
4. 0

Age: 24
Major: economics, minor in CS
Occupation: programmer

I'm counting 'friend' as anyone I intentionally try to hang out with even if it is only once or twice a year.

Nicholas Weininger writes:

1. 2
2. 0
3. 10
4. 2
5. 2
6. 0

Age: 36
Majors: CS (undergrad), math (undergrad and grad)

Sean writes:

1. 4
2. 1
3. 0
4. 0
5. 0
7. 0

Age: 48
UG: Biochemistry/Philosophy
PGC: Accounting/Finance
PGR: Behavioural Economics

Having worked a lot internationally, most of my network of friends relate to companies I have worked with or the expat communities in each country.

Andy writes:

1. 15-20
2. 0
3. 10-15
4. 2
5. 15-20
6. 20+

Age: 33
Undergrad Major: Econ/CS
PhD: Econ

Age: 27
Major: philosophy

Survey questions: basically 0 in all cases, unless you define "friend" more loosely than I'm comfortable with. Having switched fields since leaving grad school probably has a lot to do with it.

Caliban Darklock writes:

45 - Occult Science / Computer Science

None. Across the board.

I dropped the last person from my life that I'd known in high school when I was 28. That's about the time when all my friends became work colleagues.

Devon writes:

1. 0
2. 0
3. 3
4. 0
5. 3
6. 0
34, history (ba), IR (ma)

This fails to account for the networking powers that some alma maters have with people you meet later.

How many people at my workplace took an interest in unconnected new employee me because they had gone to the same school in a different decade?
2 from undergrad and one from grad

MG writes:

I am surprised no one has inquired what the definition of "friends" is. If it includes social media, the numbers would change dramatically, but would they reflect the intention of the bleg?

Ross Emmett writes:

1. Facebook friends with 15. The one person I still met when I was back home died a couple of years ago. I would meet him for coffee once every three to five years.

2. Zero

3. Zero.

4. Zero.

5. Still friends with my supervisor. Among other students from IMBA program, I am Facebook friends with 9. No other interaction with other students either at IMBA or Ph.D. level, either as friends or as colleagues.

On the other hand, I established friendships with about 20 people who were already professors while I was in grad school, and I am still friends with at least 10 of them (Buchanan died, Heyne died, Larry Moss died, as did a couple of the people I knew at Univ. of Manitoba). And professional colleagues as well (#6).

Age - 58
Undergrad Major: History. Graduate Degrees: IMBA. Ph.D.

I might add I had an unusual Ph.D. experience. I had already been a professor of business, and held Research and Visiting Fellow appointments at a College within the University, where my day-to-day interactions were solely with professors. My only contact with other graduate students was in the classroom.

Bill writes:

1. 4
2. 0
3. 0
4. 0
5. 2
6. 1

I'm 48. Econ major undergrad. MBA with concentrations in finance and statistics.

Cullen writes:

1. 1 (if going by people who I actively contact, which I'm using as the standard here).

2. 0

3. 0

4. 0

5. 4

6. 0

25 years old, undergrad history major, graduated from law school last year.

Thomas writes:

1. 0
2. 0
3. 2
4. 0
5. 7
6. 0

I'm 50. Engineering, multiple careers, now finance.

Ben writes:

Define "friends"; I am "friends" with many people to varying degrees ranging from the exchange of cards at Christmas to spending time together almost daily, so where is the threshold? Define "professionally interact"; does the fact that I read this blog, and that it influences my thinking sometimes about conservation biology and evolutionary biology (my field), does that mean I am "professionally interacting" with you? Heck, given that I attended several colleges and focused, at times, on things from anthropology to philosophy to organic chemistry to biology, define "major" – what I ended up with a degree in was a minority of all of the years I spent in college, so do you really only want my official "major"? And you say "do you" professionally interact with – so you want only present-day interactions? Even if I have coauthored papers with people from high school, say, if that only happened in the past I don't count it? How far in the past? I find this all extremely vague.

Joe S writes:

1. 5
2. 0
3. 3
4. 0
5. 12 (+ wife)
6. 2

30, AgEcon (BS, MS)

J. writes:

1. 2
2. 0
3. 2
4. 0
5. 5
6. 1

Age: 32
Majors: Physics/Philosophy (BA), Physics (MA, PhD)

Kevin writes:

1) 1
2) 0
3) 2
4) 0
5) 20+
6) 12

*I'm still in graduate school.

Age: 29
Major: Epidemiology

Sol writes:

1. handful? I find this one hard to count.
2. 0
3. 5
4. 0
5. 0
6. 0

age 44, math & computer science, then math.

Yaakov writes:

1. None

2. None

3. Several, depending on how you define "friends". For a moderate definition the answer is 1.

4. None. I may have had one or two clients from school, but not anything meaningful. I did several times give free advice to peers or friends of peers from college. I do the same to current neighbors.

5. None

6. None.

I am 47, majored in electrical engineering. I was brought into my current profession by a childhood friend, but he went to a different school and was not in my grade.

Jay writes:

1.0
2.0
3.0
4.0
5.0
6.0

38 years old. Undergrad: Biology Professional: Dentistry

Matt H writes:

1. 2 both my best friends are from this period, I speak to them regularly
2.0
3.0 had lunch with someone 2 years ago, but that is about it.
4.0
5.12 - Recently organized a reunion, had about 20 people there.
6. 1 - hard to count, I worked with one of them recently, and have worked with others in the past, I know I could network for jobs if I needed one, but I don't...and unless I want to move to SF it wouldn't be useful.

Major: Human Computer Interaction

None of this counts facebook, in which I am "friends" with my entire elementary school class.

Kevin V writes:

1. 10 - we were close in high school, hung out over the summers during college; social media has preserved the ties.

2. 1 - a friend helps with graphic design for my academic projects.

3. 8 - mostly through common political activities, 2 are people who weren't enrolled in college.

4. .5, sort of, kind of.

5. 10 or so, including teachers and temporary fellows.

6. nearly 10; we remain close and plan events together; we also read each other's papers on a regular basis.

Age: 32, Major: Philosophy, Graduate Focus: Philosophy.

Brad writes:

1. 2

2. 0

3. 1-2

4. 0

5. 0

6. 0

I am 40, majored in Economics undergrad and started PHD but left early with MS. Also got a second finance MS.

Evan writes:

1. 12
2. 2
3. 10
4. 0
5. 18
6. 2

Age 28
Economics/Mathematics major
MBA

Leopold writes:

Age 40 with MSEE. If you define friends as people I regularly talk with and/or have seen in person in the last 1-2 years then my answer is:

1) 0
2) 0
3) 1-2
4) 0
5) 0
6) 0

Most of my current friends I met through either my work or my wife's work.

Edward writes:

1- 3 at my wedding (2 years ago). About 50 on Facebook

2- 0

3- 4 at my wedding. About 100 on Facebook

4- 0

5- About 20 at my wedding. About 200 on Facebook

6- 2 regularly now (one sits on my board), but about two dozen over the years


39 years old.
Undergrads in Physics and Drama
Masters in (1) Industrial Relation and (2) MBA a Finance and Marketing

Greg writes:

1. 3
2. 0
3. 6
4. 1
5. 20
6. 0

Age: 47; major: Cognitive science, computer science

john writes:

1. 2
2. 0
3. 4
4. 0
5. 1
6. 0

Age: 45

Degree(s): Bachelors and Masters in Computer Science


At two points, I worked with someone who I went to college with, but both of those jobs are long gone.

Granite26 writes:

1. How many people you met in K-12 are you still friends with?
0 (FB friend ~ 5)
2. How many people you met in K-12 do you professionally interact with?
0
Questions for college attendees:

3. How many people you met in college are you still friends with?
1 (FB friend ~8)
4. How many people you met in college do you professionally interact with?
1


Please include your age and major in your response.
37, Computer Engineering

___

FB friends is, a new way of saying 'we exchange xmas cards and that's about it'

gmm writes:

1: 3
2: 1
3: 10
4: 2
5: 1
6: 1

Age: 28

Undergraduate: computer science
Graduate: computer science

I'll agree the question is rather under specified.
For example, I met many people through my school friends, even though they didn't go to the same school as I did. It's not clear if I should include those in the totals.

Looking forward to being in the "special thanks to" section of your book ;-)

Andrew writes:

1:1
2:1
3:0
4:0
5:0
6:0

Undergrad -- Finance
Graduate -- MBA

Age 38

Colin writes:

1. How many people you met in K-12 are you still friends with? 10

2. How many people you met in K-12 do you professionally interact with? 0

3. How many people you met in college are you still friends with? 0

4. How many people you met in college do you professionally interact with? 0

Age: 32
Computer Science

I've noticed that all my friends that moved I no longer consider friends.

I still live in the town I graduated high school in and I assume that's why I still have high school friends.

Alex writes:


1. 10
2. 2
3. 4
4. 0
5. 3
6. 0

33
undergrad: public administration
Grad: political science

Leo writes:

1. 5
2. 0
3. 5
4. 0
5. 4
6. 1

31 y/o, Majored in computer science and went to law school. Don't really work in either field though.

Chris writes:

1. 12
2. 3
3. 1
4. 0
5. 10
6. 6

Age: 35
Undergrad: double major Spanish/Business Administration
Grad: Computer Science

I grew up in a city with a huge government lab relative to its population size, which I realized later had the effect of making my high school class much more "STEMy" than most. Many of the friends/colleagues I still have from my high school years only became close friends years later (and more than a thousand miles away from our hometown).

Jon Murphy writes:

1) 4
2) 0 (this may be a function of the fact I no longer live in the same state as where I grew up)

3) 15 (I had a small group of friends, all of whom I still are in touch with)
4) 0

5) n/a
6) n/a

Age: 25
Econ: Economics

Chris writes:

1. 10-15
2. 0
3. 0
4. 0
5. N/A
6. N/A

32 Y/o

Note on #2, I interpreted the Q to mean in a professional capacity for my job. I am a customer of a few of my old friends small businesses but I do not count that as it has nothing to do with my professional career path. The friends in #1 are all friends that are currently in my cell phone contacts that I have communicated with on a more or less continuous basis since school. I am not much of a Facebooker although that would greatly expand that number if I counted all of them.

I switched from Engineering to Business after 2 years and transferred schools. after the transfer I was working full time while attending school as a commuter part time so I did not develop any relationships at the new school at all.

I got my first job in my career path from a k-12 relationship, the mother of one of my best friends was a VP at the bank I started at, and she gave me an opportunity as a temp to display my skills and earn a full time position

Abe writes:

1. 2
2. 0
3. 100ish
4. 20ish
5. NA
6. NA

I'm 32 and I studied economics and statistics.

Xenophon writes:

I’m defining “interact with professionally” as “contact by telephone or in person for professional purposes at least once per year.” I hope that meets the definition you intended.

Assuming that the “met in xxx” refers to classmates:
1. 1
2. 0
3. 20
4. 5-ish
5. 6
6. 20+ to various degrees (none daily, way more than 20 yearly)

If “met in xxx” includes either family friends (and their children who weren’t classmates of mine) or my father’s colleagues and students, add another 50+ to #2. Note, however, my father was (and is) an exceptionally well-known and well-connected Computer Scientist. I’m also in C.S., although never in the same subfields that my Dad has worked in.

I’m 53. B.S. Math class of 83, Ph.D. Software Engineering 2008.

Michael writes:

1. 3
2. 0
3. 7 (including my wife)
4. 1 (not included in #3 above)

By "friend" I mean people I've talked with on the phone or seen in person at least a few times in the last year.

If you're asking about networking, the number of college acquaintances I could call up for a referral or drinks is 2x higher, but the K-12 number remains about the same.

The one college guy I work with professionally I helped get a job at my company.

29 years old; BSEE

Roger writes:

I am pretty much zero on Q1-4. I do have several acquaintances I keep in touch with who are high school buddies, but I would not call any close friends.

I was a business major. I am now 55 years old, but never met a single person from my college acquaintances in any professional capacity, and that despite (or because) it being one of the biggest business schools in the US.

FWIW, I went to college to learn and get my signaling diploma, not to socialize or watch sports. The second I got hired, my degree and prior connections or networks meant ZERO. It was all about performance and politics from that point on. I will say that my business education did a good job of preparing me though for business. It wasn't JUST signaling.

Steve Bacharach writes:

1.10
2. 0
3. 6
4. 0
5. 0
6. 0
Age 44
B.A. Geophysics
M.S. Geophysics

Floccina writes:

1. 3

2. 0

3. 0

4. 0

I am about 55 years old. My major was natural resources with my area of interest being Resource Economics.

Cory writes:

1: 3
2: 0
3: 2
4: 2

Age: 34
Major: BS in Computer Science.

Eric Rall writes:

1. 1
2. 0
3. 32
4. 4
5. 0
6. 0

Age: 33
Undergraduate major: Computer Science
Professional major: Business (MBA)

I also have an MS in Computer Science, but my answers to 5 and 6 refer only to the MBA because there was a near-100% overlap between my peer group with the MS and the BS (I took the MS at the same department of the same college, starting immediately after completing the BS).

Ben Gross writes:

1. 0 actual face-to-face, have-a-beer-with-you friends; 45 on Facebook
2. 0
3. 1 (but 2 on my Christmas card list)
4. 0
5. 4
6. 0

age=46, BA, JD

IVV writes:

1. ~20, in Facebook
2. 0
3. ~50
4. 0
5. ~10
6. 0

Most of them are in Facebook, with the exception of my wife, who I met in graduate school. I'll share a beer when we can, which is rare.

Age 40, BS Mechanical Engineering, MS Bioengineering, MBA Finance.

Mike Hammock writes:

1. 3
2. 0
3. 5
4. 1
5. 1
6. 3

age 40, major: econ (BS, MS, PhD)

LD Bottorff writes:

1. 2
2. 0
3. 0
4. 0
5. 0 (I can't even name anyone I attended graduate school with)
6. 0

Age 63, majors, math, computer science. Since I am now retired, it is difficult to have professional interaction with any of these folks, but if you had asked the question before I retired from my 30 year career in telecommunications, the answers would have been the same.


Mars writes:

1. 6
2. 0
3. 6
4. 1
5. 5
6. 2

Age 27
College majors were finance and philosophy
Grad schools were business and law

Mars writes:

PS So do any women read this blog? Watch out for selection bias.

Alan writes:

1. 0
2. 0
3. 1
4. 0

51 Economics

Bernie638 writes:

1: 0
2: 0
3-6 N/A

I'm 44 and I teach people how to operate a nuclear plant but I've never set foot on a college campus.

Michael writes:

1) 5
2) 0
3) 8
4) 0

28, Economics

Mike Buckland writes:

1. 3
2. 0
3. 1 (Married to her)
4. 0
5. 0 (Other people in grad school? Who knew?)
6. 0

BS Chemistry
MS Statistics
Age 56

Missing writes:

[Comment removed for supplying false email address. Email the webmaster@econlib.org to request restoring your comment privileges. We'd be happy to publish your comment. A valid email address is nevertheless required to post comments on EconLog and EconTalk.--Econlib Ed.]

Ilya Somin writes:

1. 1
2. 0
3. 7-8
4. 3-4
5. 8-10
6. Too many to count, but probably at least 20-30 (as you know, I am an academic).

Age:41
Major: Political science and history

David Friedman writes:

1:0 Unless you count people I have not interacted with for over a decade, might conceivably interact with at some time in the future.

2:0

3: 1

4:0

5:0

6:0

70, Physics PhD

od writes:

1. 2
2. 0
3. 8
4. 0
5. 5
6. ~10

33, MBA

caryatis writes:

Judging from the low numbers others have posted, I assume you mean real friends, whatever that means, as opposed to Facebook/other social networks. I'll give both numbers for comparison.

1. 3 (dozens on FB)
2. 0
3. ~10 (hundreds on FB)
4. 2

28, no major

Max M writes:

1. 5

2. 0

3. 1

4. 0

5. 1

6. 1

Steve S writes:

1. 4
2. 0
3. 11
4. 0

30, BS Metallurgical Engineering

P.S. I currently live within 30 miles of my high school and college, which I think makes my numbers even more frighteningly low

alepruitt writes:

1. 9 [close friends] 60-80 [FB]
2. 0

3. 12 [close friends] hundreds [FB]
4. 0

5. 10 [close friends] 30-40 [FB]
6. 0

28
BSC Economics
MA International Studies

JohnBinNH writes:

1. How many people you met in K-12 are you still friends with?
Zero

2. How many people you met in K-12 do you professionally interact with?
Zero

Questions for college attendees:

3. How many people you met in college are you still friends with?
Zero

4. How many people you met in college do you professionally interact with?
Zero

Questions for graduate/professional school attendees:

5. How many people you met in graduate/professional school are you still friends with?
One

6. How many people you met in graduate/professional do you professionally interact with?
Zero

Please include your age and major in your response.
62; BA Linguistics; MSc Computer Science

Mark V Anderson writes:

1 0
2 0
3 0
4 0
5 0
6 0

58, accounting undergrad, masters in Tax.

Fascinating look at contributors. Numbers are much lower than I would expect. I would have expected I was an outlier, but I'm not. Is this a function of economic blog readers?

Paul Ralley writes:

1. 3
2. 0
3. 20
4. 0
5. 7
6. 3

41, Undergraduate Mathematics, Professional School Accountancy.

Many of the 20 in 3 are only via facebook, otherwise I would have lost touch by now I imagine. Similarly for 5. and Linkedin.

John Fembup writes:

1. 2
2. 0
3. 1
4. 0
5. 0
6. 0

Age 70. Majors = mathematics and English Lit (double major). Am retired now; career was in business.

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