Commencemnt Data Exercises

Like all ceremonies, I was really bored during my commencement so I really heavily marked up my booklet. This ranges from observation notes to recognizing who I did and did not know out of my entire graduating class. Below is a summarized version of these notes with some added analysis.

Slightly cleaned up “published” spreadsheet can be found here. Raw spreadsheet of data analysis can be found here. Graphs can be found within the spreadsheet, but I want to call out the most interesting graph which is here.

People are recorded based on their primary major (double majors are ignored), i.e. how they are listed in the graduation exercises booklet, so these statistics don’t capture how I actually know all of the 21L major graduates.  Totals are also slightly off because I’m filling it out in March 2018 so I’ve met some more people than I originally marked down.

I also include graduate student tallies but they are significantly briefer because I don’t know very many graduate students and I am not interested in combing through everyone, so I do not promise a complete overview. The bar for recognition is also considerably lower.

Observations about data:

  • Out of my class of 1086 people, I only knew 17% of my class year personally. If you include people I had heard about and maybe sort of knew, I knew 25%.
    • Given that the East Side is ~25-30%, this matches up with my personal conception of myself as someone who was decently well-connected on the East Side and had tangential but broad connections to the West Side.
  • My vague conceptions of which majors were the most popular was a bit off. I would have said that the top 5 majors were 6, 2, 18, 8, and 10. Turns out it’s actually 6, 2, 18, 16 and 10, with 16 and 10 being about even, with 8 and 20 not far behind.
    • Notably, COURSE 6 IS LARGER THAN THE ENTIRE SCHOOL OF SCIENCE
      • If you take 6 and 2 out of the School of Engineering, the School of Engineering is about the same (1 less than) the School of Science
      • MIT is 75% engineering, 20% science, 5% everything else
    • If we don’t collapse the majors, the top 10 major types are 6-3, 6-2, 2-A, 18, 2, 20, 16, 8, 7-A, 6-1
  • I did not know or had even heard of any 2017 Course 11s or 22s. I knew half of the Course 12 2017’s personally
  • The most interesting graph, in my opinion, is this one –  how my network compares to the actual major percentages (i.e. if I had a likely chance to meet everyone, what should my expected “knowledge” graph should have looked like?)
    • From this, we see that I preferentially knew 2, 6, 8, 9, 12, 18, 21 and CMS.
      • Course 9 is the most surprising to me – I already knew that Random Hall had way more Course 12’s than expected
    • I had a notable deficit of Course 7, 10, 16, and 20
      • This plays interestingly in with my incorrect guesses for “which majors are the most popular at MIT”
      • I am a bit surprised by the Course 7 one since I have taken higher level Course 7 classes
    • It is funny that lurking on the Course 3 mailing lists has given me slightly enough familiarity to bump my Course 3 2017 knowledge to “normal” status.
    • Pity that we can’t capture the 21L knowledge – again, I think I knew all of the 21Ls who graduated my year
  • There were no pure Course 7’s – only 7As and maybe some double majors
  • Rip me really loving the CMS / MAS theses, but primarily knowing scientists / engineers
  • For grad students, I unsurprisingly knew mostly MEngs because of these people were graduate students. I am surprised that I knew more Sloanies than expected, although they make up a considerable number of the graduating class due to having more 1 – 2 year degrees

Assorted observations of the actual ceremony:

  • National Anthem – MIT Chorallaries
    • Huh, they actually stated that they were only singing “a verse of” the national anthem
  • Commencement Address – Tim Cook
    • soooo close with the humanities shout out, but geez, what an ad
  • Salute and Presentation of the Class Gift
    • so undersold
    • 64% – good job Marcus.
    • I think it’s funny how many of the speeches are about tempering tech with humanities
  • Charge to the Graduates – Reif
    • yikes students as product
    • Also the tent party jokes
    • OMG REIF PLZ
    • The Better World Name drops
  • Presentation of Degrees
    • “Two headphone jacks”
    • Aisle seat is pretty swag
  • Receptions
    • That senior administration call out OMFG
  • Dean Randall – “In my 12 years here, I only remember 2 people getting direct call outs”
  • Why are all of the economics theses “Essays on the Economics of X”
  • There is a “Master of Science (without specification of field)”
  • Not everyone does a thesis for Sloan? Weird that some people have it and some don’t
  • God there are a million sloanies
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