Delivering the Systems and Expertise You Need to Confidently Make Great Hiring Decisions
I’m always hunting for ways hiring managers to more accurately determine who to hire that DON’T involve the requirement of being a better interviewer. In the past I’ve suggested that you should look at obvious traits like obesity and smoking addictions. I recommended that you look at the credit history of someone to determine if they know how to stay true to their word.
With that in mind, I found the most interesting article the other day about the Ivy League Advantage. It was the summary of work completed by a young Sociologist from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. She concluded, “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose”. Here are some of the highlights:
- “Elite professional service employers” rely more on academic pedigree than any other factor. For recruiters, it’s prestige that counts, rather than “content” like grades, courses, internships, or other actual performance. That’s because if you got into a “super-elite” school — which essentially means Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Wharton (University of Pennsylvania), and Stanford — you must be smart.
- Why spend effort looking for “that one needle in the haystack” at a “safety school” like the University of Michigan or, heavens forfend, Bowling Green, when the run-of-the-mill Yalie’s still a prince. Even “second-tier” Ivies like Brown, according to Rivera, are suspect for the top firms.
- While going to a super-elite gets your penny loafer in the door, that isn’t enough. Rivera says it’s leisure pursuits that seal the deal. Employers use these as “valid markers” or “proxies” of a candidate’s “social and moral worth,” all the more so for time-intensive sports that “resonate with white, upper-middle-class culture.” Think lacrosse, squash, crew, and field hockey. Skip football, basketball, and soccer. And no sport at all suggests “nerd,” which correlates to future “corporate drone.”
I got a call today from the Austin Business Journal. They are writing an article in response to a recent un-published Gallup Poll that suggests that the average American doesn’t really value an MBA the way it used to. While the poll was really short (only 4 questions) it did capture what we see a lot of in the recruiting world: apathy towards the MBA.
It used to be that an MBA meant someone who graduated from a strong undergraduate program, worked for 8-12 years with a track record of promotions and then chose to pursue an MBA knowing that it was going to be needed to advance in the world of management. They spent 2 years working on their MBA and earned not only a degree but a rolodex of comrades who endured the education with them and were part of the same educational fraternity.
Today, it seems like every obscure University in America offers an MBA. Some of them do it in 1 year. Some take 5 years by doing it just on the weekends. Some are traditional 2 year programs. They all add up to there being too many MBA’s running around.
What I shared with Ms. Zaragoza today was that a top tier MBA is just as valuable today as it ever was. Having any other MBA simply isn’t. While I understand a lot of people will get upset with me for saying as much, I’m simply stating what my experience has been.