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Undergrad education and "prestige"

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Connemara, Dec 8, 2007.

  1. Connemara

    Connemara Well-Known Member

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    I was thinking about this after reading the Wharton thread. In the experience of SFers, has the relative prestige (or lack of) of your university's name benefited you? This can be in terms of employment, applying to grad school, social bragging, whatever.

    You see this notion of "I need to go to an Ivy League school or I'm worthless" on boards like the infamous College Confidential. Asian kids with 4.0's, near-perfect SAT scores, and they're all shitting their pants over Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, Columbia, etc. They get upset when they have to attend a "lesser" school such as Swarthmore, Northwestern, Georgetown, NYU. It's kind of sickening that our culture has cultivated this Ivory Tower image of highly-ranked universities.
     
  2. username79

    username79 Well-Known Member

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    I know plenty of state school people that make tons more than the average Ive League grad.

    I haven't seen anything to tell me that the Ivy League and "prestige" is anything but a farce.

    Then again, the only thing that matters at the end of the day is your net worth. If you don't believe that, you might care where you went to school.
     
  3. LabelKing

    LabelKing Well-Known Member

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    You sound like you're suffering from a John O'Hara-esque inferiority complex.
     
  4. Connemara

    Connemara Well-Known Member

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    You sound like you're suffering from a John O'Hara-esque inferiority complex.
    Obviously. That's why I'm transferring.
     
  5. Piobaire

    Piobaire Well-Known Member

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    By mid-career, where you went to school means squat in your life and earnings. The richest physician I know went to Brooklyn Medical College. The richest businessman I know never went to grad school and graduated from the University of Hartford.
     
  6. Canadian

    Canadian Well-Known Member

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    I graduated from the University of Lethbridge. A tiny school in the middle of nowhere. I now work in politics.

    My dad was kicked out of university and is now worth several million.
     
  7. Tsintaosaurus

    Tsintaosaurus Well-Known Member

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    people grow up and realize that personality has more real world application than academic achievement.

    status is important with asian cultures, hence the obsession with harvard, stanford, M.I.T., et al.
     
  8. tiecollector

    tiecollector Well-Known Member

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    It's all marketing. I give more cred to those who attend decent public schools than to Ivy league schools.
     
  9. Brian278

    Brian278 Well-Known Member

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    I think the education is probably better on average at Ivy League schools than your average state schools. I would think it makes a fairly small difference in the average graduate's success. Depending on the profession, all things being equal, the school you graduate from can make a difference in how much you make right out of college.

    That being said, nearly all the top ranking employees (and likely the top earners) at my company all graduated from non-Ivy League institutions, thought a small few of them have graduate degrees from Penn or Stanford or Princeton or some such university.
     
  10. gamelan

    gamelan Well-Known Member

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    i'm thinking that it's certainly not going to hurt that you've got that Harvard, Princeton, Yale degree on your resume.

    but that being said, i read an article about how schooling doesn't matter for individuals that know how to apply what they've learned. they'll end up making similar money whether they've gone to State U. or USNews-Top-10 U.

    -Jeff
     
  11. Serg

    Serg Well-Known Member

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    By mid-career, where you went to school means squat in your life and earnings. The richest physician I know went to Brooklyn Medical College. The richest businessman I know never went to grad school and graduated from the University of Hartford.
    Yay Uha!
     
  12. drizzt3117

    drizzt3117 Well-Known Member

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    It just depends on what industry you are in. In certain fields, your undergrad institution makes a bigger difference than in others. I would say the vast majority of resumes that come across my desk that get a second look are from Top 25 universities with a disproportionate amount from the Ivies and equivalents.
     
  13. KBW

    KBW Well-Known Member

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    From my experience quality of education has nothing to do with where you have been to school. I've taken classes all over the country and do research with professors from Duke, Northwestern, and other schools of that sort. I'm still in school at Clemson (have been already to UNC and Vandy) and my father who is happier and more succesful than 90+% of college grads didn't even go to school until he was already very succesful. It is all with how you use your education the school does not matter whatsoever except for getting interviews and getting into certain graduate programs. I know several of my peers here at Clemson who are getting ready for grad school at schools such as Harvard, Duke, Yale and others up there and most of them won't make much of themselves because their people skills suck and they are only good at studying. They could be good researchers but that is about it. Bragging rights are about the only thing that is worth a shit 10-15 years after you graduate because other than that YOU are the only thing that contributes to your success not the school you went to.
     
  14. thinman

    thinman Well-Known Member

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    You can get just as good an education at a state school as you can at any Ivy. The trite saying that you get out of an education what you put into it is really true.

    IMO, the biggest benefit of an education at a school with a great reputation is the networking opportunities (e.g. Harvard grads take care of their own). Networking can help jump-start a career, but in the long run it's your own abilities that matter most.
     
  15. dirk diggler

    dirk diggler Well-Known Member

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    I think the education is probably better on average at Ivy League schools than your average state schools. I would think it makes a fairly small difference in the average graduate's success. Depending on the profession, all things being equal, the school you graduate from can make a difference in how much you make right out of college.

    That being said, nearly all the top ranking employees (and likely the top earners) at my company all graduated from non-Ivy League institutions, thought a small few of them have graduate degrees from Penn or Stanford or Princeton or some such university.


    GO QUAKERS ! ! ! ! !
     
  16. nerdykarim

    nerdykarim Well-Known Member

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    You can get just as good an education at a state school as you can at any Ivy. The trite saying that you get out of an education what you put into it is really true.

    IMO, the biggest benefit of an education at a school with a great reputation is the networking opportunities (e.g. Harvard grads take care of their own). Networking can help jump-start a career, but in the long run it's your own abilities that matter most.


    +1 to both of those things. My limited experience looking for a job after my undergrad education (at a presumably-decent top 20 in Atlanta) would indicate that employers don't really care if prospective students went to Emory or GSU--they're interested in the difficulty of your courseload and your experiences, as they're translated to your resume and personal statements (for grad school/law school). As a prospective law student, I really don't think my expensive UG education really bought me much of an edge over any other student.

    PS: My experience is very limited, but I figured I'd toss in my .02 anyways.
     
  17. Piobaire

    Piobaire Well-Known Member

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    IMO, the biggest benefit of an education at a school with a great reputation is the networking opportunities (e.g. Harvard grads take care of their own).

    I totally agree. Just the other day I was saying the only difference between Harvard's MBA and say, the #30 MBA, is that Harvard has 200+ years of alumni getting the next crop of graduates jobs.
     
  18. Nantucket Red

    Nantucket Red Well-Known Member

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    I entered Columbia 15 years out of high-school after gaining quite a bit of life experience and narrowing my focus to an area of specialty. Graduating Magna with departmental honors and Phi Betta Kappa has meant mainly a great deal of personal satisfaction. In terms of professional life, it meant a career change, but in that sense it has been nothing more than another point along a very long learning curve.

    The only real worth it's been in terms of prestige is making Japanese girls swoon (and they're an easily impressed bunch).
     
  19. haganah

    haganah Well-Known Member

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    In finance, the bulk come from top 10 schools. They tend to admit more intelligent kids that have proven themselves. We also recruit heavily only from these schools. But the caveat is that if I were to come across someone that went to a state school at my firm, I kinda would think they were much more driven and intelligent than most of the top 10 kids, only because it's so hard to break in otherwise. As for those with MBAs, names mean even MORE.
     
  20. rdawson808

    rdawson808 Well-Known Member

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    The quality of the education you receive is not the issue here--it is people's perceptions of your ability and smarts. As another poster said, once you're in the middle of your career, your undergrad alma mater won't matter.

    But people still have serious bias for certain schools. For what it's worth, I think it's stronger here on the east coast than on the west. If you want to get to grad school it matters to a point. A Harvard 2.0 with crappy letters of rec. will not be chosen over a 4.0 with good letters from a state school. But all things equal...

    And the Ivy degree can get your foot in the door more easily in business.

    That said, if you have the ability and take advantage of opportunities and work your ass off, a degree from a non-Ivy won't hold you back.

    b
     

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