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Careers that require prestige

rundmcrundmc Posts: 494Registered User Member
edited November 2010 in College Search & Selection
What are some careers where attending a prestigious college will give a huge boost and what are careers where prestige doesn't matter?
Post edited by rundmc on
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Replies to: Careers that require prestige

  • kwukwu Posts: 4,759Registered User Senior Member
    Finance, consulting.
  • Smart GuySmart Guy Posts: 167Registered User Junior Member
    Any job closely related to $$$.
  • sakkysakky Posts: 14,759- Senior Member
    Academia is deeply rankings-conscious.
  • confidentialcollconfidentialcoll Posts: 2,491Registered User Senior Member
    I think the clearest industries are probably finance and consulting, even mediocre (average gpa average extracurriculars) students at top schools get interviews with prestigious divisions at top finance and consulting firms and several get offers. Law cares religiously about which law school you go to and law schools seem to care a little about prestige (more about lsat though). Med schools don't seem to care much where you go to undergrad.

    not sure how other industries view prestige, but I have a hard time believing that any of them care about prestige as much as finance and consulting appear to.

    caveat: you also see some students from state schools and unknown schools make it finance and consulting, but these tend to be the absolutely top students at their univ, something like 3.8+ gpa along with high performer / captain of varsity sports team for example. Sometimes people will get in because they come from rich and connected backgrounds.

    also no industry requires prestige, but some clearly favor prestigious colleges.
  • 2college2college2college2college Posts: 1,523- Senior Member
    Medical research, highly sought after medical specialities, big law.
  • sakkysakky Posts: 14,759- Senior Member
    not sure how other industries view prestige, but I have a hard time believing that any of them care about prestige as much as finance and consulting appear to.

    As prestige-conscious as finance and consulting are, I would again submit that academia tops them all. For example, as an academic, you are expected to maintain a copy of your CV for public scrutiny at all times - and your CV will be intensely scrutinized. Every time you give a presentation, every time you meet somebody in conference, every time somebody reads one of your papers, your CV will be examined and scrutinized. 'CV-snooping' would be deeply unsettling for most people, but is treated as a matter of routine within the world of academia, being as unremarkable (and, perhaps as unsettling to the squeamish) as dogs sniffing each other's rears. And what is invariably one the very first things listed on your CV? Your schools - those at which you hold faculty positions and those at which you obtained your degrees. Heck, it's routine to list your schools before you list any of your actual research publications, which one would think would actually be prioritized. In fact, the schools that you obtained your degrees from is often times listed first, even before your current faculty position, even for fully tenured faculty who had earned their degrees decades ago.

    Consider these examples:

    http://econ-www.mit.edu/files/5411
    http://www.people.hbs.edu/mbaker/cv/cv.pdf
    CURRICULUM VITAE: Monica Lam


    While finance and consulting are indeed prestige-conscious, I am not aware of any such comparable social expectation within them for people to be so cognizant of the biographies of even casual colleagues. Do bankers and consultants meet each other in social gatherings and then immediately rush home (or, now, whip out their smart-phones) to check the CV's of the people they just met? Probably not. But that happens routinely in academia. In fact, you're actually expected to know the biographies of the people in your academic field.
  • RMLRML Posts: 5,815Registered User Senior Member
    Well, the thing with academia is that grad school matters more than undergrad school. Malcolm Baker went to brown undergrad. In academia, who cares Brown? If Baker have not attended Cambridge and Harvard, his CV won't look as good, in my opinion, not counting Mr. Baker's accomplishments, of course.
  • zapfinozapfino Posts: 2,499Registered User Senior Member
    ^ ^True, though this varies by discipline, and even by subspecialties within disciplines. There's also some emphasis on the particular person under whom one obtained one's doctorate.
  • PizzagirlPizzagirl Posts: 26,239Registered User Senior Member
    While finance and consulting are indeed prestige-conscious, I am not aware of any such comparable social expectation within them for people to be so cognizant of the biographies of even casual colleagues. Do bankers and consultants meet each other in social gatherings and then immediately rush home (or, now, whip out their smart-phones) to check the CV's of the people they just met? Probably not.

    I was on the website of a consulting competitor of mine, and to my surprise they did have something that showed "a sampling of undergraduate and graduate schools our consultants come from." The ones cited were:

    Brown University
    London School of Economics
    Northwestern University
    Stanford University
    University of Chicago
    University of Michigan
    University of Notre Dame
    University of Pennsylvania
    Yale University
  • RMLRML Posts: 5,815Registered User Senior Member
    ^ Those are ALL prestigious schools.
  • PizzagirlPizzagirl Posts: 26,239Registered User Senior Member
    Yes; what's your point? Except you'll always have people on here that argue that Michigan doesn't belong on that list, or that Notre Dame doesn't belong. You know, those types of people. Boy are they tiresome!
  • sefagosefago Posts: 1,707Registered User Senior Member
    Notre Dame gets recruited by nearly all the prestige-conscious firms so its definitely elite in that regard. Its just not a research powerhouse. Michigan graudates are like everywhere lol not just in the US but internationally.
    ^ ^True, though this varies by discipline, and even by subspecialties within disciplines. There's also some emphasis on the particular person under whom one obtained one's doctorate.

    I was about to mention this. Acdemia is about who you work for not what school you go to. Its natural thta the best people to work for are at the best schools. However going to work with a Nobel laureate at a 200 ranked school could do more for your career than going to the number one graduate school.

    Sakky, I would agre with your examples but you should also be aware that there are some people who believe school is more important than accomplishments and vice versa.
  • sakkysakky Posts: 14,759- Senior Member
    Well, the thing with academia is that grad school matters more than undergrad school. Malcolm Baker went to brown undergrad. In academia, who cares Brown?

    But that's what I'm talking about. The OP's question was not specific to undergraduate studies. In academia, where you obtained your PhD matters tremendously, even if you obtained it decades ago, and even if you've published extensively since then. People still care. They probably shouldn't, but they do. Academia is the only profession that I know in which you can be a grey-hair, and yet have people that you meet not only rush to download your CV to examine where you went to school, but also expect that you have your CV publicly available so they can complete that examination.
    If Baker have not attended Cambridge and Harvard, his CV won't look as good, in my opinion, not counting Mr. Baker's accomplishments, of course.

    And now you're behaving like a true academic: glancing at people's CV's and judging their worth by where they went to school. Again, notice how Baker's accomplishments were listed after his education, which illustrates the primacy of his education. You actually have to scroll to page 3 before you get to his publications, which are ostensibly his true 'accomplishments'.
    There's also some emphasis on the particular person under whom one obtained one's doctorate.

    Yet that's rarely listed. Education, on the other hand, is always listed, and is almost always one of the first entries on any CV.
    I was on the website of a consulting competitor of mine, and to my surprise they did have something that showed "a sampling of undergraduate and graduate schools our consultants come from." The ones cited were:

    Brown University
    London School of Economics
    Northwestern University
    Stanford University
    University of Chicago
    University of Michigan
    University of Notre Dame
    University of Pennsylvania
    Yale University

    Yet the difference is that that's merely a sampling. You can't connect any individual consultant to any individual school through that sampling.

    But in academia, everybody expects to be able to connect individuals to their specific alma maters through publicly available bios. For example, Harvard Business School doesn't simply say that they have a faculty who obtained PhD's from schools such as Harvard, Stanford, or MIT. People want to know specifically that Malcolm Baker got his PhD from Harvard, Al Roth from Stanford, or David Garvin from MIT.

    For that reason, I would propose that academia is even more prestige-conscious than consulting or finance. I am not aware of any social expectation within those industries for everybody to maintain a public bio that details where they went to school, nor of a cultural dynamic that encourages people to peruse each others' biographies.
  • sefagosefago Posts: 1,707Registered User Senior Member
    I thought most CVs started with your education . . .

    However, I do agree that academia is more prestige conscious than Finance/Consulting in the long run. Is even difficult to get funding if you dont teach at a top 20 school. And to teach at a top 20 school you need to have attended a top 10 school to have a shot. What a cycle. No wonder so many PhDs end up in industry or strategy consulting
  • ghostbusterghostbuster Posts: 1,590- Senior Member
    The PRESTIGE factor is much more important in Law School, Medical School and Graduate School than undergraduate schools.

    However, prestige may get you in the door but not necessarily keep the job, and I have seen people with more modest credentials dance circles around people with so called prestigious diplomas, both in teaching, the professions and consulting. Nothing, repeat NOTHING, trumps competence and compassion.

    People with high IQ's often lack EQ's. And everyone knows the secret to success in business and professions is EQ's. You must have "the core gray matter" to get started, but once there, if you lack people skills you will sink like a rock.
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