There’s an article in “Forbes” entitled “Do You Really Need A College Degree To Study At A Harvard Graduate School?” by Dolia Estevez. In the piece, Ms. Estevez hangs a lantern on the case of Alejandra Soto, spokesman to former Mexican President Felipe Calderón. It seems that Mr. Soto is currently enrolled at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Mid-Career Master in Public Administration (MC/MPA) program called the Edward S. Mason Program. The only thing is that Mr. Soto is enrolled at this Harvard graduate school without having first earned an undergraduate degree from any institution.
Writes Ms. Estevez in the piece, “Up until now, it was generally unknown that Harvard–the country’s top-ranked Ivy League school where eight U.S. presidents have graduated, including Barack Obama–would take students that lack a college degree in any of its graduate programs.” But, unfortunately, that’s not factually correct, Ms. Estevez. Previous students who have attended a Harvard graduate program without first having earned a college degree have earned attention in the press. Look no further than Blake Lanier Gottesman. Gottesman served as Deputy Chief of Staff to former United States President George W. Bush. At age 28, Gottesman was the youngest member of President Bush’s senior staff. He started working for the Bush administration as the body man and personal aide for the president from 2001 to 2006 (like Charlie on “The West Wing”).
Blake Gottesman never graduated college (he only attended college for a year) and yet he graduated from the Harvard Business School in 2008. This is well documented both on his “Wikipedia” page and throughout the press. As noted by Harvard, extraordinary circumstances can lead the university to drop a prerequisite for admission. We’d say being the youngest aide to the President of the United States is extraordinary circumstances. Wouldn’t you no matter your political beliefs?