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    Forbes article

    It started with an abdication of trying to find great, well-rounded students in lieu of, as admissions offices blather, a “well-rounded class” of amalgamated specialists. Weird, if well-intended, admissions policies that can actually hurt different minority groups, as the Supreme Court recently ruled, both through distorted screening and eliminating standardized tests—the best way, paradoxically, for people from under-privileged backgrounds to show they belong. (For all this effort, the Ivies still inordinately favor the rich and connected.) And then, once the students matriculate, the schools undermine the standard that otherwise makes their degrees mean anything. At America’s two most august universities, Harvard and Yale, nearly 80 percent of all undergraduates average an A or A-minus.

    And guess what? Employers have figured this out. Forbes surveyed nearly 300 subscribers to its Future of Work newsletter, with three-fourths of respondents holding direct hiring authority. Among those in charge of employment decisions, 33% said they are less likely to hire Ivy League graduates than they were five years ago, with only 7% saying they were more likely to hire them.


    Adds Jim Clark, who hires technologists for Kansas City’s HNTB, the nation's second largest architectural firm: “The perception of what those graduates bring has changed. And I think it’s more related to what they’re actually teaching and what they walk away with.”

    Perhaps this is an indictment of all of higher education? Absolutely not. Forbes also surveyed the hirers about public university graduates and the grads of good non-Ivy private colleges, and the numbers are almost precisely the opposite of the Ivy results, with 42% saying they are more likely to hire public university grads and 37% saying they are more likely to hire grads of non-Ivy League private colleges than five years ago. Only about 5% say they are less likely to hire from either group.

    “37% of those with hiring authority said state universities were doing better than five years ago in preparing job candidates.”

    “Just 14% of hiring managers said the Ivy League colleges were doing better than five years ago in preparing job candidates, while 20% said they’re doing worse.”

    “Being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes is really important,” says Laura Bier, a San Diego-based management consultant specializing in healthcare and defense. “Kids who've been to a public school have had a broader diversity of friends from different backgrounds, teachers from different backgrounds and are better able to be nimble in those situations.”

    It comes down to preparedness. Some 37% of those with hiring authority in our survey said state universities were doing better than five years ago in preparing job candidates and 31% thought non-Ivy League private colleges had improved. Just 14% had similar praise for the Ivy League, while 20% said they’re doing worse, making this the only segment in which negative appraisals of the trend in job readiness exceeded positive ones.

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    Quote
    Forbes surveyed nearly 300 subscribers to its Future of Work newsletter, with three-fourths of respondents holding direct hiring authority. Among those in charge of employment decisions, 33% said they are less likely to hire Ivy League graduates than they were five years ago, with only 7% saying they were more likely to hire them.

    Both my kids recently attended Ivy League colleges or equivalents, and my observation is that broad statements like the one above hide a lot of information as to what's happening under the surface.

    The most selective employers, such as those in finance or consulting, and the most selective PhD programs, will continue to disproportionately choose students from the Ivy+ colleges, regardless of what's going on at these colleges. Why? Because that's where a disproportionate level of talent ends up after high school. For example, roughly half of the national science award winners typically end up in either MIT or Harvard. Those students will have no problem getting the post-bachelors outcome they desire, despite any protests.

    The Ivy League students that will be affected are those outside the top echelon. There are a good number of students at these colleges that are academically indistinguishable from the top students at a typical state flagship. Their employment prospects were going to take longer anyway, and no with the unwanted attention from the protests, they could very well end up underemployed relative to their degrees.


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