Everyone’s got an opinion on crazy these days; I suspect it has always been this way. However, this piece is worth your time, in as much as Salingo is making the worthy point that what a student chooses to do during his or her undergraduate years, is just as valuable as the name on the sheepskin. We knew this already, but in the midst of scarcity hype, it’s good to be reminded.
The ambition to get into the best colleges is driven in part by parents’ concern over job prospects after graduation. But in interviewing employers of all sizes in recent years, I found them increasingly less interested in where someone went to college, and more concerned about the hands-on learning experiences applicants get, including internships, undergraduate research, and other outside-the-classroom endeavors. And as more employers use their own data on the performance of their best employees to find out why they are thriving in the job, some are discovering that a worker’s alma mater or degree has little do with success on the job. Of course, there are exceptions. Some employers, mostly the big Wall Street banks, consulting firms, and law firms still tend to favor applicants from elite colleges and universities. But for the most part, it’s not the education that is better at these selective colleges; it’s the network of students that undergraduates connect to, through the parents of classmates, alumni, and eventually when students themselves become alumni. While that network might be smaller, it exists in some way at any decent college. —Jeffery Salingo