Fishing Only in the Heavily-Fished Pools

…probably won’t lead to great results.

Virginia Postrel  notes that “elite investment banks, law firms and management consulting firms often hire almost exclusively from a handful of schools,” citing  research by sociologist Lauren Rivera:  “So-called ‘public Ivies’ such as University of Michigan and Berkeley were not considered elite or even prestigious.”

Virginia argues that “If everyone you interview comes from the same few schools, the same social networks, the same previous employers or the same geographic regions, you aren’t really fighting for talent.”

What she is saying here is similar to my point in the recent post  “Top-tier university graduates only.”

Of course, for the industries Virginia mentions–law, investment banking, management consulting–people are being hired not only for their ability to do the job, but also for the advertising value of their credentials in attracting potential business.

2 thoughts on “Fishing Only in the Heavily-Fished Pools”

  1. The question is: have the Top-tier universities recruited the cream of the crop? Is the worst person from a Top school better than the best person at a non-top school?

  2. Happily the solution is obvious. Some other firm will make a fortune by hiring the brightest from the non-elite schools. Though it presumably will have to do so without including IQ tests in its armoury.

    Mind you, there is another aspect. Would you rather look for a couple of dozen recruits from a few thousand candidates from elite places, or a few hundred thousand from everywhere else? Talent is awfully expensive to find if it is heavily diluted.

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