Did you know that many of the prestigious consulting firms hire more or less exclusively out of the Ivy League? Sure, they’ll hire out of other prestigious universities like Duke, MIT, Caltech, and Stanford but if you’re thinking that these firms will hire out of Carleton College, you’re mistaken. No offense to Carleton College. It’s a decent school. The fact is that since the 1980’s, these prestigious firms have made it standard practice to limit their recruiting to a select set of universities. And why shouldn’t they limit their outreach when so many students from these top universities choose to go into consulting?
But is consulting these students’ dream? According to an article on Ivy Leaguers in consulting in “Quartz,” “It didn’t take long for investment banks—along with their service economy corollary, consulting firms—to create an elaborate system that funnels elite students into internships and jobs they never imagined themselves in. Writing in Washington Monthly, sociologist Amy Binder, a professor at the University of California, San Diego, described a recent study in which she and her team interviewed 60 students or recent graduates of Harvard and Stanford University. Many of the subjects said they went to school with no intention of becoming bankers or consultants. They started college knowing little about these professions, and harbored a sense that they would be dull and not particularly meaningful—only to find themselves competing for jobs in these fields.” So do these students choose fields such as consulting out of peer pressure? To conform with their classmates? What is it?
Maybe, as the article in “Quartz” points out, it’s the fear of missing out (FOMA as college students like to call it!). Maybe it’s because the pitches these firms are giving are so ubiquitous on college campuses. Maybe it’s because other businesses just don’t make the effort that Wall Street does. Why do you think so many students from top schools choose to go into consulting and other finance-related jobs? And do you think that it’s justified that firms like McKinsey, Bain, and Goldman Sachs recruit almost exclusively from our nation’s most prestigious universities? We’re curious to hear your thoughts on the subject so post a Comment below!
And, while you’re here, read about the Ivy League’s influence on career.