There has been a rightful uproar about those with so much money that they can spend millions of dollars to get their children into premier colleges. In a society that likes to believe we are a meritocracy, the warping of college entry is a major affront.
Goldman Sachs Investment Banking is notorious for creating 30-year-old millionaires. They have historically hired from prestigious schools. The CEO recently noted that when a graduate from an Ivy League school does very well in the first few years at the firm, they think they are special and they move to another firm. When Goldman Sachs hires from state schools and the person does very well in the first couple of years, the employee stays with the firm because they are grateful. The CEO said they have moved to more actively hiring good people from the less prestigious schools.
Earning a college degree has historically been worth $1 million in life-time earnings on average. However, the system of the past does not look like the future. Korn Ferry has identified that the current models are not meeting company’s needs. There is a move toward more of an “apprentice” model where companies are investing in training employees in the skills they need. Investment in this type of training has increased in 2018 by 33% over 2017.
The increasing need for those with STEM related skills has seen the largest increase. Unfortunately, vocational and other schools teaching those skills are falling short in training in communication and relationship skills. Companies are seeing even a higher need for training in effective communication skills. (Music to my ears.)
Compared to historic norms, practical skills and experience are increasingly being valued more highly than an MBA.
The End of College
The popular book, “The End of College: Creating the Future of Learning and the University of Everywhere” by Kevin Carey effectively argues that the current system is failing both students and the economy. He identifies places where he thinks the next generation of higher education is already starting to take hold.
He argues that once you are admitted to Stanford University, for example, the school makes sure you graduate. A degree only tells the hiring company that the person was able to get into the school. Transcripts are vague and hard to compare to other students. The result is that they are almost useless.
Carey goes on to argue that online learning, with badges of completion, including transparency on what was learned in the class, would serve the hiring company much better. Needed skills would be searchable online and be more meaningful than today’s approach.
It would also reduce the advantage of those with enough money to game the college entry system.