FLG read this post about hiring at elite firms the other day. As Megan says, much of it isn't very shocking, but some of it is just crazy. Here are a few random thoughts:
1) Look, anybody who doesn't know that having Harvard on your resume is almost a prerequisite to get a job at McKinsey isn't paying attention, and it sure helps a lot at places like Goldman Sachs and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. Nothing surprising there.
FLG wishes he was on campus still because he had full access to the article there, but, according to the paper, recruiters viewed Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Stanford as very elite. Okay, fine. Where FLG had a bigger issue was that they then seemed to draw a bright line between graduates of the vaunted HPYS and even the rest of the Ivies. Several comments explicitly stated that there is some sort weakness in one or more areas inherent to candidates at the other Ivies.
This made FLG ask, in what sort of fucked up world do people really believe that thetr is some material difference between the average student at Harvard and Columbia or Dartmouth? Seriously? Really? (Questioning Brown, okay, FLG gets that, nobody likes Brown.) FLG knows people who have attended all of the Ivies and there are some who are very impressive, some who are less so, and some who make FLG scratch his head. There are all sorts of reasons that a student would choose Columbia over Harvard, access to NYC being top among them. The only logic that says idiots choose Columbia over Harvard is straight up prestige whoring, which FLG thinks makes some sense given that we are talking about elite firms, which brings FLG to...
2) Who is shocked that elite organizations are full of elitists assholes?
3) There's a sort of irony here. Nobody in their right mind thinks ALL and ONLY the best people attend HYPS. Or even top 25 schools for that matter. So, what these elite firms are actually saying is that we have a baseline, it's a pretty high baseline, but still a baseline, not a demand for the best exactly, and since we have a larger selection of people from these institutions who meet that threshold than we can hire, we'll just do that and say we're hiring the best. When, as Megan put it, they're focused on hiring the very, very good. It's the self-delusion going on here that FLG finds so crazy.
4) Another thing FLG thought was just batshit nuts was the idea that being an Olympic athlete or world class pianist made a candidate "well-rounded" and "well-adjusted." It certainly shows drive, dedication, and ambition outside academics, which are great traits, but FLG finds the idea that somebody who, for example, does four hours of ice skating practice six days a week for ten years is therefore fantastically interesting and adjusted as a person silly on its face.