January 2017

Are You a One Decimal Point or a Nine Decimal Point Person? teaser image
Do you often look at the big picture or do you enjoy delving into the finer details of a problem? Are you satisfied knowing a simplified answer or do you need to know the exact solution? Do you usually look for general trends or strive to find the best fit for the data?
Simple questions like the ones above are a great way to get to know yourself and can help you select a graduate program and determine a good career fit for you.
So, are you a one decimal or a nine decimal point person?
One decimal point people are really good at staying focused on the big picture and the overall objectives of a problem or a project. They don’t get bogged down by the details or become fixated on the minutiae. They’re satisfied knowing a general ball-park answer. These traits make this person great for managerial roles, but they are also effective researchers because they do not get lost in the depths of data analysis.
Nine decimal point people are more technical-minded and prefer to explore the intricacies of a problem. More decimal places mean more precision, and a nine decimal point person seeks to determine an answer to the highest level of accuracy possible. They enjoy analyzing data, creating spreadsheets, and playing with numbers. These types of people usually get more knowledge and experience out of their graduate research because they enjoy taking the time to fully understand the depths of the problem. They don’t get bogged down by the details, instead, they love it. A nine decimal point person might enjoy completing post-doc research or pursuing a career in a technical role.
Most people don’t subscribe completely to one group, but would place themselves somewhere in between. However, it ruins the purpose of the question if your answer is qualified!  Of course it’s more common to feel you don’t completely belong to either group, but if you take the time to ponder the question, you probably lean more towards one group than the other.
In thinking and contemplating your personality traits and natural tendencies, you can learn more about yourself. Once you better understand the way you think and how your brain works, then it can be easier to pick a graduate program, an industry, and a career that works for you.
Kelsey Fieseler | Mechanical Engineering
P.S. I would like to thank Mr. Don Wells, a former Aggie, who first posed this question to me.

Kelsey Fieseler is a first-year Master’s student in Mechanical Engineering from Sugar Land, Texas.

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