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Who Needs Harvard? 577

theodp writes "Slate's Daniel Gross explores why big corporations are hiring fewer Ivy Leaguers. Is it because today's bosses aren't as snowed by polished young Ivy grads as they were in the past? Or are today's Ivy League graduates simply so wealthy that they no longer feel the need to find stable, high-paying jobs at big companies?"
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Who Needs Harvard?

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  • by slavemowgli ( 585321 ) on Saturday January 15, 2005 @12:23PM (#11373305) Homepage
    It's because they all get hired by Google these days. :)
    • Re:The real reason (Score:2, Interesting)

      by frenetic3 ( 166950 )
      Nah, it's because we're starting our own companies [] now :) (ok, ok, not Ivy, but MIT []) :P

      • Re:The real reason (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Ralph Wiggam ( 22354 )
        Engineering schools tend to produce grads that start thier own companies because just a few engineers with a good idea and some capital can start a company. Graduates with political science, history, or law degrees rarely start thier own companies.

        I went to the Univ. of Illinois where Thomas Wolfram founded a company so he wouldn't have to find a new apartment after graduation. His company produces Mathmatica (amazing software if you have a chance to use it).

  • Other Schools... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lord Pillage ( 815466 ) on Saturday January 15, 2005 @12:23PM (#11373308)
    Could it be that other schools are becoming better as access to information increases?
    • I attend a school to which people in their right minds have referred as the "Harvard of the plains."

      Walk into any intro-level class and you'll find that most are taught by full time and often tenure-track faculty, with a few part-timers thrown in, and some graduate students for things like public speaking. The professors went to good schools -- Illinois, Chicago, Harvard, Yale, UCLA, and others.

      The catch? This is a public university with "at" in the name. Do the faculty and their allocation in classes
    • by Pavan_Gupta ( 624567 ) <`pg8p' `at' `'> on Saturday January 15, 2005 @01:17PM (#11373629)
      I can speak from the perspective of UVa out here in Virginia -- which was ranked as the #1 public school last year, and is tied for #2 this year with University of Michigan. #1 this year is UC Berkley, who trades spots with UVa every few years. (All these facts are courtesy of the worst ranking agent ever, US News and World Reports)

      Anyway, basically what I'm trying to say is that public schools are making huge headway into almost every important field. Berkley has the amazing engineering program that the best schools compete neck and neck with. Michigan has extremly competitive law, business, and medical schools. Virginia has #4 law program, the #12 business program, the #24 medical school, a top 5 commerce school (that puts out some of the best investment bankers in the world) -- etc, etc.

      Between the three top public institutions, every facet of higher education is relatively well covered from medicine to liberal arts to commerce to engineering. Today, wasting 50 grand a year on a Harvard education may still be worth it if you're not lucky enough to be living in Virginia, California or Michigan, but honestly -- the concept of building a network of connections and alumni support is well expressed in our public instituions today.

      Perhaps the biggest difference between a public school and a private schools is a fact that wikipedia expresses -- the endowments are huge for schools like Harvard and Yale. UVA had an endowment of 1.4 billion dollars, harvard had 22.6 billion, and yale was at 11 billion. Harvard is the second largest nonprofit after the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation.

      Those are the facts that set apart a university like Harvard from a UVA or a Berkley. I think in the coming years these kinds of huge differences between top public schools and top private schools will increase. While the economy was bad in the earlier part of this century (hehe), schools like Berkley and Virginia took hits in funding. In virginia for example, the tuition was raised somewhere around 30%, and funding dropped pretty substantially. Certain public institions in the state that weren't doing as well dropped substantitally in rank according to US News and World Reports, and without public support, pulic (!!) institions can't do well.

      For now at least, UVa looks to be going more and more the private route, especially with the new legislation on the table specifically asking for more leeway in the strings the government has attached to the institution. Hopefully as a more expensive, but still cheaper top instition that's quasi private/public will make for a better University overall. As per now, I can honestly say that going to a instition other than a top public one if you live in the states of Virginia, Michigan, or California (if accepted of course) would be a mistake. Perhaps getting lots of money to go to an expensive Ivy is not a bad plan, but the majority of them don't even offer merit based scholarships.

      Anyway, there were quite a few cents more than my 0.02 there, but take from this what you will. =)
      • Not Berkley!

        Or call it Berserkeley. But get that E in there!
  • by Ghoser777 ( 113623 ) <[] [ta] [abnerhaf]> on Saturday January 15, 2005 @12:26PM (#11373321) Homepage
    Maybe it's because they've realized George Bush not only attended, but actually graduated from an Ivy League School.
    • Not just one, but two.

      Bachelor's Degree from Yale, MBA from Harvard.
    • by flyingsquid ( 813711 ) on Saturday January 15, 2005 @06:22PM (#11375547)
      Any idiot can graduate from an Ivy League. There's several reasons for this. One is customer satisfaction. Am I seriously going to pay all that money for Harvard for bad grades? Another is the image of the university. Ivies thrive on the illusion that they are places of unparalleled genius where exceptional academic performance is just the rule. If they start failing people out, they have to admit that some of their students are substandard nongeniuses. Seriously, I've known *plenty* of idiots that went to an Ivy League school, so the fact that Bush went to an Ivy League is anything but impressive. Yet another is that the University is willing to tolerate idiots if they bring something else to the table, such as connections, a name, or shitloads of money. The Ivies have a whorish interest in money and power. Really, can anyone seriously argue that Bush would have got in to Yale, a place he probably can't even spell half the time, on merit?
  • Education has been found to be less desirable than motivation and work ethic.

    Education has now become accepted as being acquired through experience and higher learning - not just the next step/next grade level of yesteryear.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 15, 2005 @12:42PM (#11373416)
      For the average Ivy Leaguer, motivation and work ethic are exactly what got them admitted, and it's also motivation and work ethic that's required to do well in such a competitive environment.

      However, I can tell you that at my school, as well as most of the others in the Ivy League, there is a discernible difference between those who had to work hard to get in and those who are of "legacy" status. Us public school educated kids aren't necessarily a rarity anymore, but we do come from quite different worlds.

      Perhaps corporations are realizing that simply graduating from an Ivy League says little more about the person than graduating from any place still want those who aren't at the bottom of their class, because, truth be told, it's nearly impossible to flunk out of an Ivy League school. Few people realize that when you have a poor semester at most of these schools, you go on "academic leave" for a semester to "get your head straight"...your old grades take a more permanent vacation.
      • You can be both a legacy AND work hard. As you can tell from my lame nick, I went to an Ivy League school, and this was the case for me. But I also went to public school, so I didn't have the socioeconomic boost that often comes with being a legacy.

        As a side note, I was one of 22 hires to Microsoft my year (/~100 CS majors). MIT had something like 29. So I'm not sure what the article is talking about.

        (For those interested, I quit after a year because I hated it. I'm applying to grad school now. And I
      • why education? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by kardar ( 636122 ) on Saturday January 15, 2005 @03:20PM (#11374506)
        I think the key is to seperate "education" from a "license to get a real job". There are two camps here, really two sides. Pursuing philosophy because you LOVE it, and it enraptures you and consumes you and becomes your life's passion... or computer science, or theoretical physics, or economics, or any other subject like that. Versus working hard to get a BS so that someone will hire you. Versus "you forget most of what you study anyway, it just proves to your employer that you are willing to work hard".

        When you focus objectively on the subject, when you do what is called "deep learning", when you really get into what you are studying, and actually get your brain working, thinking new ideas, coming up with new questions, trying to find new answers, you begin to experience the true value of education, which is, if you asked me, about learning the material, understanding the significance of astronomy or physics or ethics or philosophy or literature or art or film, or politics, economics, etc...

        I am from the camp that respects education because education is good in and of itself, intrinsically. I find education to be an end in and of itself, a way to improve yourself, question your place in society, learn more about the world you live in. I am not from the camp that feels that education is a "license" to get a job.

        What we are probably seeing here is a reflection of these values - perhaps ivy leaguers are more likely to be passionate about education; perhaps they attach a significance to education that goes beyond the ability to get a job or proving that one is a hard worker.

        If you think about it, at least at the undergraduate level, the stuff you learn and study has been studied and taught for hundreds, even thousands of years... there must be some compelling reason for this; and I can speak from personal experience that if you open your mind and really focus on "deep learning", really get into what you are studying, that it becomes quite obvious why we are still studying these subjects thousands of years later.

        Education can be a very, very powerful tool; but you have to recognize that it has value in and of itself, and that it's not just a way to get a better job. Looking at it from this point of view, perhaps the figures make a little more sense. The types of environments that you will find in these big businesses probably make those positions less attractive to people who have a genuine, deep respect for education. Larger businesses will probably place more emphasis on a degree as a qualification or requirement, potential hires may be required to possess a BS as matter of policy.

        Perhaps the path to getting the most out of education doesn't lead to C* positions at large organizations; and if getting the most out of life has anything to do with getting the most out of education, and if getting the most out of education has anything to do with respecting education as being important in and of itself, not simply a means to get a job, then you may very well see the positions in large corporations being filled with individuals who are open to accepting the viewpoint of education as a requirement, as a prerequisite to employment, with less emphasis on the intellectual and creative side of education, which usually requires money and time to pursue.
      • >It's nearly impossible to flunk out of an Ivy League school

        This may be true of Harvard (90% honors graduation rate), but certainly isn't true of my alma mater, Cornell. 15% honors graduation rate, a large percentage of flunk-outs and "academic leaves" freshman and sophomore years (I personally know many who never returned) and, unlike many of the other "competive schools", there's no forgiveness for freshman grades. If you don't get on dean's list freshman year you might as well transfer, because you a
    • by ducomputergeek ( 595742 ) on Saturday January 15, 2005 @01:01PM (#11373520)
      Well, if you don't have at least a Bacholers Degree, we aren't even going to look at your resume. It takes a work ethic and motivation to get a degree. A BA/BS means that "hey this person had at least enough drive to get the degree, we can probably train them to do whatever we need".

      So to say that education is less desirable than motivation and work ethic is a fallacy since it takes motivation and work ethic to get an education.

      • Point is well taken, however, at the age of 13 I started a network consulting business. By the time I was 16 I was the sole network engineer for 6 hotels and one school district.

        At 18 I attended college and found myself making less money than I did before I started. Now I've graduated and I make the same amount of money as I started, of course I actually have a forseeable future so I at least gained that.

        Experience matters greatly, so does the education. The trick is getting both, which is something many

      • Not everyone is a DILL if they dont do a degree, sometimes spending those 4 years in a degree can mean the difference between missing the boat on the latest technology booms. Imagine if you went to UNI in 1994 to graduate in 1998. You would have missed the big internet boom, but if you left in '95 started a small company , got into the business and been one of the few people to do a particular thing, then you would have made more experience and technical knowledge while the UNI sticks with stuff 3-5 years O
    • by DataPath ( 1111 ) on Saturday January 15, 2005 @01:07PM (#11373558)
      People have been spouting this for years, mostly by people who went to technical schools instead of college, or people who took technical jobs out of high school.

      Can you honestly tell me that a potential employer who sees two resumes, one with a degree and 5 years programming experience, and one with only a high school diploma and 5 years programming experience, that he'll interview the high school graduate over the college graduate?

      Didn't think so.
      • I see it all the time. In fact I would be willing to take the high school graduate because he was motivated to place his resume knowing that their others with "merits" he does not have on paper.

        More and more businesses are actually interviewing candidates. They are considering those that submit resumes even without meeting the qualifications.

    • Education has now become accepted as being acquired through experience and higher learning - not just the next step/next grade level of yesteryear.

      Only in certain fields, which (judging from your responses elsewhere) you're a part of. In most of the world, it's still accepted that education gives students a few valuable things that they cannot and will not learn outside of an academic setting. These are things such as a holistic sense of how their particular field of study is interrelated with all others,
  • Legacy Graduates (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Prien715 ( 251944 ) <> on Saturday January 15, 2005 @12:28PM (#11373340) Journal
    Legacy graduates are destroying the integrity of the academic program and make a feudalism out of a supposed meritocracy.

    Say what you will about GW Bush; the man is not an intellectual, but is an ivy league grad.
    • Why is this any different than in the past? I bet there were a much higher percentage of Rockefeller and Carnegie types at the Ivy's 100 years ago. A lot of small liberal arts colleges have trouble getting lower income students because the schools with multi billion dollar endowments can be need blind while smaller schools just couldn't come up with the money to do so.
    • by Fnkmaster ( 89084 ) *
      Please. Do you have any idea what percentage of Harvard students get there because they were legacy admissions? It's far smaller than you seem to suggest. In reality, maybe 15% of students at Harvard are legacies (I'm guessing here based on my personal experience). And of those, perhaps 25%-35% are smart enough that they really deserve to be there anyway. So yes, there are a small number of folks being admitted these days because of who their parents are, not because of what they have done, but don't b
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 15, 2005 @12:29PM (#11373346)
    I've worked with both state-school grads and Ivy League grads. Ivy Leaguers, on average, surpass their state school colleagues in the area of self congratulation. Otherwise, there's no advantage in engineering and the hard sciences.

    When everybody gets an A at Harvard, how could it be otherwise? State schools have to offer admission to just about everybody, but there ain't no grade inflation there. Nothing like the Ivy League, anyway. The weak are culled from the herd by the sophomore or junior year.
  • Stable Jobs?? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GreyPoopon ( 411036 ) <gpoopon@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Saturday January 15, 2005 @12:31PM (#11373356)
    Or are today's Ivy League graduates simply so wealthy that they no longer feel the need to find stable, high-paying jobs at big companies?

    Or maybe it's the fact that there aren't any stable jobs at large companies anymore. Why spend the big bucks on the school when you'll have to change jobs every three years anyway. The article mentions it, but I can assure you that C-level executive positions usually last less than five years. The same is true for most other positions now, too.

  • Ivy vs non-ivy... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by lordbyron ( 38382 ) on Saturday January 15, 2005 @12:32PM (#11373366) Homepage
    Being alumni of the ivy I can say I have had no real advantage in the direct job market because of my school but the network that I was able to develop while at school is second to none.

    There is a idiom of ivy arrogance that the only difference between the education you get at Harvard vs other schools is that at other schools you learn about history at Harvard you are taught by the people that made history and sitting in a room with others that will make history.

    • Is that still true? Large public universities do most of the ground-breaking, historical research these days.
    • by jdfox ( 74524 ) on Saturday January 15, 2005 @01:32PM (#11373749)
      Being alumni of the ivy...
      You mean "alumnus". "Alumni" is plural, but "alumnus" is singular.

      ...I can say I have had no real advantage in the direct job market because of my school but the network that I was able to develop while at school is second to none.
      You're missing some commas there.

      There is a idiom of ivy arrogance that the only difference between the education you get at Harvard vs other schools is that at other schools you learn about history at Harvard you are taught by the people that made history and sitting in a room with others that will make history.
      Gosh, where to start: "a idiom", missing commas, missing "while" before "at Harvard", no capitalization of "Ivy".
      They would have thrown me out of CMU for writing like that. Is that another key difference between Harvard and non-Harvard education? :)

      • by Animats ( 122034 )
        Good point. How did someone make it through an Ivy League school without learning to write? That's embarassing, both for the student and the school.
    • Being alumni of a state school in CA, I can say I have had a real advantage in the direct job market because of my school and the network that I was able to develop while at school is second to none.

      There is AN idiom that permeates all aspects of my undergraduate education: learn by doing. This has served me well throughout graduate school, but most importantly, I learned a little bit of grammar that may have eluded the ivy population.
  • Nobody gives a damn about them anymore, redundant expensive education. There's far too many lawyers around and nobody really wants to be a doctor.

    "Ivy League" = Fucking rich, so who cares either way ?

    • "Ivy League" = Fucking rich, so who cares either way ?

      You're only a contrapositive away from "Community College" = Kenny McCormick, so who cares?

      Someone will write a book one day called "The Rise and Fall of the American Middle Class" and plug it on the talk show circuit as a quaint look at a historical curiosity. The rich people will chuckle at those uppity poor people and the other social class will marvel that there was a time when the rich let it happen.

      Isn't it enough that the already-rich attack

    • and nobody really wants to be a doctor

      I do! Unfortunately I faint at the sight of blood and I hate people...
  • Stable? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sphealey ( 2855 ) on Saturday January 15, 2005 @12:33PM (#11373371)
    There is no such thing as a "stable" "job" anywhere in the United States today. You either work for someone else, in which case your job is only as stable as the next quarter's results (factoring out your personal performance), or you work for yourself with all the instability/risk that entails.

    But the 1950s career ladder is gone.

    • What about a job in academia (tenure), government, ... thats about all I can think of but there's probably more examples where the bottom line isn't a guillotine.
      • What about a job in academia (tenure), government, ... thats about all I can think of but there's probably more examples where the bottom line isn't a guillotine

        From what I hear, tenure isn't the job-for-life it used to be. If you're not publishing and bringing in grant money, tenure won't save you. Of course, academics who don't bring in grant money don't get tenure in the first place, so the only ones in danger are the very rare few who slack off once they're "in".

    • Re:Stable? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Per Wigren ( 5315 ) on Saturday January 15, 2005 @01:41PM (#11373794) Homepage
      There is no such thing as a stable job anywhere in the United States today.

      Then what is this? []
  • Harvard? (Score:3, Funny)

    by mr. marbles ( 19251 ) on Saturday January 15, 2005 @12:42PM (#11373415)
    Isn't it, Haaarrvard?
  • through a series of grueling interviews and don't really take the name of the university into account too much.

    Nothing worse than hiring an ivy-league graduate who cannot do the job very well and then proceeds to display an arrogant attitude towards his or her non-ivy-league coworkers who can.

  • Alumni support (Score:3, Insightful)

    by antifoidulus ( 807088 ) on Saturday January 15, 2005 @12:47PM (#11373442) Homepage Journal
    As a student at Penn State, I can attest to the power of alumni support. The education here is pretty good, and that is my main advantage when looking for a job. However, one big advantage(probably 3rd behind education and experience) is the freaking HUGE network of alumni that "bleed blue and white" and prefer to hire Penn State grads. As more and more people go into higher education, the percentage of Ivy League grads is dropping, and to a certain extent, I think there is some resentment towards them.
    Also, to me it seems people at the top schools have tough times finding jobs. I'm not sure why, maybe it is an over-reliance on technology(they don't network, they just resume bomb on monster) and a lot of them end up hiding out in grad school for a while, maybe never going to work at a big company.
  • by Newer Guy ( 520108 ) on Saturday January 15, 2005 @12:48PM (#11373450)
  • My opinion... (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by andreMA ( 643885 )
    Too many Ivy League graduates went into politics and were/became corrupt. Who wants to emply someone and have to watch the silverware?
  • by rsmah ( 518909 ) <> on Saturday January 15, 2005 @12:55PM (#11373489)
    According to the article, the percent of all CxO's are Ivy grads has dropped to 10% from 14%.

    According to the US Census, about 13 mil employed white males from 35 to 64 have a bachelors degree or greater.

    There are 8 Ivy League universities, but let's be gracious and include schools like Stanford, MIT and Chicago and up the number of "top" schools to 12. Let's assume an average enrollment of apx 1,500 students per year per school between the years 1960 through 1990 (the years those white males went to school), leading to a total of 12 x 1,500 x 30 = 540,000 graduates and let's assume that 2/3 are male (it's only 1/2 nowadays), leading to apx 360,000 ivy leaguers out there.

    This means that ivy leaguers make up apx. 2.8% of the eligible CxO candidate pool.

    So, the conclusion is that having an ivy degree increases your odds of becoming a CxO by about 3.5x today instead of the 5x it did back in the day.

    Of course, all this is meaningless drivel since they Ivy League is a *football* league, not some sort of academic standards association and, more importantly, as if increasingn a 0.002% chance to 0.007% means anything at all.

    • What you need to consider is how often an Ivy League grad is going to hire another Ivy League grad over an otherwise-equivalent grad from elsewhere.

      Also, consider how often a new IL-grad will be offered a job by a previous-generation ILer based on having been in the same dorm/fraternity/drunk-tank as new grad's parent.
    • by mochugger ( 850128 ) on Saturday January 15, 2005 @02:17PM (#11374090)
      The boost is even bigger than that, because only a portion of the 360,000 Ivy League graduates are going directly into business. Many of them are becoming lawyers, scientists, professors, and *gasp* politicians. If only 100,000 of those 360,000 actually try to go directly into a business job, the percentage of the eligible C-level job candidate pool they take up is even smaller than 2.8%.
    • by John Murdoch ( 102085 ) on Saturday January 15, 2005 @02:56PM (#11374322) Homepage Journal
      Of course, all this is meaningless drivel since they Ivy League is a *football* league, not some sort of academic standards association

      While the Ivies do play football (of a sort), the Ivy League is much more than a football league []. The eight Ivy League schools, with MIT, do cooperate on issues like admissions, financial aid, etc. In years past the cooperation was extensive--enough so that the Federal Trade Commission sued alleging restraint of trade (since the Ivies would coordinate financial aid offers to prevent "bidding wars" for students).

  • by siskbc ( 598067 ) on Saturday January 15, 2005 @12:58PM (#11373504) Homepage
    Do realize they're talking about the old-school, New England ivies here, not other good schools including MIT, Caltech, UChicago, Stanford, Carnegie Mellon, GaTech, Berkeley, etc. Quite frankly, the education from the old-school ivies isn't what it once was - check out all the stories on grade inflation, enormous gen-ed requirements, etc, and I question the education coming from Harvard et al these days vs. in past. And grade inflation makes it harder to separate wheat from chaff. Basically, Harvard has become complacent.

    Compare this to the competition at other competitive schools whose degree programs are still tough (see above), and A's mean something. These schools - some mentioned in the article as ivy alternatives - are picking up the slack. I know for sure that the high-profile companies the article mentioned (McKensie, Goldman-Sachs, etc) do recruit heavily among top-tier non-ivies these days. They do here at Caltech anyway.

    Also, as things move more and more toward technology and fewer employers care about the liberal arts, the smaller ivies don't have the resources to compete - science is very expensive. Even Princeton and Yale didn't crack top 10 in many of the sciences, last I checked, and the other ivies aren't close. In sciences/tech, Harvard is the only Ivy that can even COMPETE with many of the the schools I listed at the top.

  • The real reason is that middle management is usually the seeding ground for MBAs. Most companies have cut that back on mid-level management so MBAs are just not getting hired up like they used to (a glut on the market).

    Now for a rant:
    Besides, nobody likes working with know-it-all smart-ass trust fund babies. Pedigrees aren't the mark of true intelligence. It's also a matter of economics--It's easier to higher a state school grad from the top of his class for lower salary expectations than some snotty
  • by gvc ( 167165 ) on Saturday January 15, 2005 @01:06PM (#11373551)
    In my opinion, Americans spend way too much effort getting into the 'best' schools. In the end, your personal achievments speak much louder than where you graduate from. Mediocre Harvard graduates are still mediocre; exceptional XX-State graduates are still exceptional.

    By all means go to the school that will best enhance your personal talents. But don't stand on your head to be admitted to 'the' school, especially if this effort is contrary to developing your individual talents. Admission to university is a beginning, not an end.
    • n my opinion, Americans spend way too much effort getting into the 'best' schools. In the end, your personal achievments speak much louder than where you graduate from.

      Convincing the wannabes of this is one of the keys to the Bush and Kerry families of the world maintaining their positions. How many of the Bushes went to Nowhere Massachusets State or Just North of the Border Texas U? Filtering and mating for the super-rich and super-insiders in one of the key functions of the Ivys. They let in just eno

  • other reasons (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AnonymousCactus ( 810364 ) on Saturday January 15, 2005 @01:09PM (#11373568)
    The successful people they're counting are the college graduates of at least 10 to 20 years ago. College attendance began its explosion during this time and that leads to the percentage decrease because the number of Ivy admissions hasn't increased in kind. With so many more people attending other colleges and Ivys not keeping their proportion, it's no wonder that more good people that end up in high positions in corporate America having come from other colleges.

    The majority of kids attending Ivys might come from rich families but I would argue this is much different than 50 years ago when the majority came from families that were both rich and had high status. Admission has become tough, even for legacies (well, unless there isn't a building named after your dad) so a lot of the kids being groomed to take over the family empire are more likely to not get into an Ivy and are more likely to not want to go even if they could. Ivys have become a lot dorkier in recent years.

    Having attended both an Ivy and non-Ivys I can say that the difference is that the non-Ivys tend to be more practical, teaching things employers actually want to know. Ivys are about theory and thinking...which is what learning should be about, even if not as useful right out of college.
  • Opposite argument (Score:3, Insightful)

    by muadist ( 622577 ) on Saturday January 15, 2005 @01:10PM (#11373585)
    I find it interesting that the article asserts that more children of the rich are getting into the ivy league nowadays. In fact, one could argue the exact opposite. In the past, the ivy league was only for the wealth. However, more and more, the ivies are striving for diversity and they are not taking as many "old money" private school kids.
  • Ivy League graduates aren't wealthy - not when tuition is $25,000/year. I'm going to be paying for my education for a long time to come.
  • F@!ing morons (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 15, 2005 @01:12PM (#11373596)
    Visit an Ivy League school sometime. Yes, we have more than our share of legacies, and rich kids, but a vast majority are just very smart people with financial aid (over 70% at Harvard). Believe it or not, we're not all rich kids coasting by on someone else's money or reputation.

    You want to see spoiled rich kids, take a look at BU. Brandeis. Bennington. Fairfield. Holy Cross. Schools where the kids of rich people go when they're not smart enough to get into the Ivy's, and not lucky enough to be a legacy.

    Gawd, this attitude really ticks me off. I got into Harvard, graduated with honors, and got a good job (in IT, no less). I'm far more typical than the spolied rich kids.
  • As someone who has spoke to many in the position of hiring, here is what they always say they are looking for:

    - Well Rounded... not just knowledge of the job, but working with people!,
    - proven ability to learn something new.
    - Experience
    - overall industry knowledge
    - Has previously handled job of equal stress/commitment
    - has reason to be a long term employee (show job commitment)


    1. All jobs require working with people. From dealing with the boss, to clients, to fellow employees on a group pr
  • Seems to me employers these days value experience much more highly that any bits of paper from big name educational establishments you might bring along to your interview.
  • by Presence1 ( 524732 ) on Saturday January 15, 2005 @01:26PM (#11373711) Homepage
    The corporations USED TO offer "stable, high-paying jobs", but now offer neither.

    Pretty much everyone knows that there is no corporate loyalty to their employees anymore, and that you cannot expect to have a position next year EVEN if you do a great job (strategy changes, mergers, sales of divisions, etc.).

    Corporate pay is no longer what it used to be either. Except for getting to the absolue top, you may live comfortably, but you will not get wealty on 4 decades of corporate pay. And they are getting better at extracting more work for less (real) pay -- its called increased productivity.

    In contrast, there are now many examples of excellent success in entrepreneurship, and the better control over your lifestyle. So, if you were smart and had a top education and a choice, would you go be a wage slave for some corp? Maybe for a few years just to get a bit more background and maybe connections, but not for long. Pretty soon, you won't put up with the corp BS, and you'll choose a better lifestyle running your own show. Ergo, there are fewer Ivy-types available to rise into those positions
  • by Dr. Zowie ( 109983 ) <slashdot@ d e f o r e s t .org> on Saturday January 15, 2005 @01:26PM (#11373714)
    I teach astronomy at the college level at a large state school, and I did my graduate work (including TAing) at Stanford. I'm continually amazed at just how, well, crappy most students are. Because there are such big financial incentives to finish college, many people go to college who simply don't belong there.

    I refer to people who don't enjoy learning, who prefer not to think, who generally don't retain what little they do learn, and who often don't pick up the infrastructural skill of critical, organized thinking.

    These people are suffered to finish because the schools and departments themselves have incentives to process as many people as possible.

    IMHO, that has devalued higher degrees and academic grades so far that they aren't helpful predictors of future performance. We're seeing that reflected in the Fortune 100 statistics.

  • A better write up of the article can be found at m []; Slate's is woefully biased.

    And from the actual paper: "Between 1980 and 2001, the percentage of Fortune 100 top executives with Ivy League undergraduate degrees fell by four points (to nearly 30%) while the proportion from public schools increased by 16 points (to 50%)." The paper then goes on to say that this effect may be because there are more people graduating from state schools than ivy league scho

  • ... OR (Score:2, Interesting)

    by uarch ( 637449 )
    ... or has Harvard just lowered the quality of its graduates by inflating [] everyone's grades?
    The stories about it may be completely bogus but if they are giving out that many A's then something is definately wrong.
  • Devaluation (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Monkelectric ( 546685 ) <slashdot@mon k e l e c t r i c . com> on Saturday January 15, 2005 @01:48PM (#11373848)
    This is all part of the continuing devaluation of American workers. People older then say 30, aren't really feeling it. But every college graduate I know who is working in the county records office, "self employed" making 10g/year, selling motorcycles, doing plumbing, woring at walmart, and delivering pizzas *WITH A COLLEGE DEGREE* knows what these people are finding out -- that "business" has sold us out.
    • Re:Devaluation (Score:3, Informative)

      by hagbard5235 ( 152810 )
      A college degree in what? Frankly, with the exception of history or econ majors, I don't know what I'd do with graduate with a liberal arts major. I can plug someone with a science or engineering background into a lot of slots, but the share of US graduates in science, engineering, and mathematics has been in rapid decline for some time now. Maybe that's why you are seeing college grads in jobs you feel are beneath them.
  • by humblecoder ( 472099 ) on Saturday January 15, 2005 @02:20PM (#11374110) Homepage
    The article doesn't say that companies are hiring fewer Ivy Leaguers. It says that fewer "C-level" (CEO, CFO, CIO, etc) execs went to an Ivy League school as an undergrad. Also, it is not like NONE of them are Ivy grads. The percentage dropped from 14% to 10%. This is still a LARGE number when you compare the enrollment size of the Ivy's with the size of the population at large. Based on this number, Ivy schools have a disproportionate representation in the board room, relative to their size.

    Based upon the erroneous conclusions of the submitter and the author of the original article, I would say that both probably attended a public college. :-)

  • Trained Crooks... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by HermanAB ( 661181 ) on Saturday January 15, 2005 @03:04PM (#11374392)
    Could it be that many people are pissed off at the highly trained crooks that ran Nortel, MCI/Worldcom, Enron, Tyco and many other companies into the ground?

    Plainly, Harvard and others, did not spend enough time teaching ethics. Aristotle is forgotten...

  • by PornMaster ( 749461 ) on Saturday January 15, 2005 @03:18PM (#11374494) Homepage
    There seem to be some shining examples of people who've worked their way up from the bottom... I would assume that it's because they've shown themselves to be motivated and have a fundamental understanding of what the majority of the company actually *does*, and doesn't just look at their products as "goods sold" and people as "labor costs".

    Look at the recent McDonald's CEO and the current nominee for Commerce Secretary (or was he confirmed already?) from Kellogg's.
  • Who? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by the eric conspiracy ( 20178 ) on Saturday January 15, 2005 @04:56PM (#11375066)
    Who needs Harvard? A lot of talented people looking for a really good education that they can use as a springboord for a better life. Get real people, life is not measured soley by whether or not you find a CEO job for chrissakes. It's about doig something that you enjoy and making the lives of people around you better in the process.

    Slashdot should know better than to publish an article like this. Life is more than getting a fancy title in corporate america. Criminy.

The unfacts, did we have them, are too imprecisely few to warrant our certitude.