There is an article on “CNBC” today that tackles the issue of whether or not an Ivy League education is worth the cost of admission. Is the degree worth as much as we think it is? The consensus is…it is but not for the reasons you may think.
One of the reasons parents may want their children to attend an Ivy League school is because of the education they will receive. These are supposed to be the schools with the best professors who are leaders in their respective fields, with the best research facilities, with the finest libraries. But this article suggests — and we happen to agree — that what sets Ivy League colleges apart from other competitive universities is not the education that students receive. Amherst College and Williams College are two examples of schools that not in the Ivy League that can offer a wonderful college education. And you can get one amazing education at the University of Michigan.
But what about after college? The article points out that “the lowest median starting salary for an elite eight ranges from $49,400 for Brown to $59,600 for the University of Pennsylvania…According to one study, that’s about 32 percent higher than a graduate at a non-Ivy League, liberal-arts school. A mid-career salary ranges from a low of $99,700 from Columbia to a high of $123,000 from Princeton and Dartmouth.”
The fact is that in the competitive job market, the old saying of “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” is still very much the case. Many companies like Bain, McKinsey, and Goldman Sachs recruit exclusively out of top schools. At Ivy League colleges, students form connections — friendships — with their classmates and these very connections often help shape their futures.
And for the job interviewer perusing resumes and deciding if she should bring in the Princeton grad or the Rutgers grad for an interview, our bet is on the Princeton grad every single time. Are there exceptions? You bet. Many of the leaders and captains of industry in the United States and around the world attended universities you may never have heard of. But they are the exceptions to the rule, not the rule.