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Do You Really Need an Ivy League Degree?

You completed your BA seven years ago and your MBA two years ago - both at public universities. Your rivals boast Ivy degrees. Does it really matter?

A second- or third-tier educational background can be a significant handicap in the world of finance, where hiring managers often look to academic pedigree as shorthand for intellectual ability. So, what do you do if you're not a graduate of an upper-tier school?

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AUTHORJon Jacobs Insider Comment
  • KC
    KC
    7 September 2010

    In my opinion to answer if you need an Ivy league degree, I would say, if you can't get an Ivy League degree, there are many great public schools like UNC Chapel Hill, Michigan, Berkeley, UCLA, UT Austin, University Of Arizona, University Of Rochester. As well as tier 2 privates like USC, NYU and Carnegie Mellon. It's not the end of the world if you are not an Ivy grad and trying to break into finance.

  • Ne
    Neeraj Sharma
    12 July 2010

    When you decide that the most friendly customer service person is the one who uses the customers' names' repeatedly, you will have a class of friendly customer service employees who may not use the customer's name often but are friendly. They will suffer. And you'll get plenty of unhelpful and unfriendly reps who will use the customer's name in conversation. These unfriendly employees will get promotions. This is how pre set notions, when used as shortcut to judge performance, hurt productivity. Ivy League education falls into this inside the box thinking. Hiring managers pre judge Ivy League graduates to be better, even among professionals with many years of experience.

    Most of all, graduates from Ivy Leagues get better jobs simply because they find more hiring managers who graduated from the same schools. Alumni network, not education, is the biggest selling point and the schools are not shy of admitting and announcing it.

  • VP
    VPSlacker
    11 November 2009

    It's not fair, but it's true - an Ivy League degree certainly helps. I am not inordinately gifted in finance and banking. However, I have always found that my Ivy League MBA opens doors - even if only for an interview. This has, in my opinion unfairly, ensured that I have stayed employed during the downturn while people more talented than me have unfortunately stayed jobless. My sincere advice to anyone contemplating college/b-school is to try and get into the most prestigious university possible. Experience has taught me it really helps. (PS For all the technical grammarians amongst you, apologies in advance for my spelling/syntax errors!)

  • Ja
    James
    29 September 2008

    Here is a site for those professionals affected by this crisis to brainstorm and explore their career options at this crucial time. Post your thoughts at :

    www.xwallstreeters.com

  • CA
    CASTOROPOLLUX
    23 July 2008

    The funny thing in this thread is that people are trying to analyze the grammar of somebody or how someone perceives a certain school. I've graduated with three degrees one in Math, one in Philosophy and one in Financial Economics and the only thing I could find is daytrading which I'm starting to get better at it. In the mean time I'm taking some classes financing them myself on risk management at a prestigious school in NYC. In every exam, in every paper I have done significantly better than people in my class which deal with let's say CDS, swaps and other instruments every day. Most of them Ivy's etc, yet we do have a 3 trillion dollar hole in the credit market. The funny thing is that you can be even a genius at a good state school or not-ivy school and someone with history major @ Brown will get a trading job at a prestigious hedge fund trading millions, or someone with a Yale degree in Literature will become chief of operations somewhere.
    America is trying to sell a product in the world that no one is buying anymore. Just because one has an MBA from Wharton doesn't mean that one knows what the economy is, and from what I've seen they don't.

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