Thank God, I didn't go to Harvard (Hilarious)|
This article is from an editorial page, Wall Street Journal. It's quite interesting as it somewhat relates to my current and prospective schools. Don't take it too seriously though because it is meant to be fun. Disclaimers: I am not sour grapes as I have never applied to Harvard thus never in my life been rejected by the Crimson nor have culminated any malicious grudge against them as a result =)
It's quite hilarious to me but may irritate some Harvard students or the Crimson fans, hope they don't come to my blog and get mad :)
A Flood of Crimson Ink
..Sick of hearing about Harvard? So is everyone else..except Harvard-educated journalists.
BY MICHAEL STEINBERGER
Friday, April 29, 2005 12:01 a.m. EDT
Another academic year is drawing to a close, another year in which Harvard has generated vastly more headlines than any other American university. Most of these, of late, have concerned Lawrence Summers, Harvard's president, who famously suggested that there may be a biological explanation for the paucity of female scholars in the hard sciences. (He hasn't stopped apologizing since.) But a single controversy doesn't account for all the interest. Two recent books are decidedly unflattering to the school: Richard Bradley's "Harvard Rules" is, among other things, an assault on the entire three years of Mr. Summers's tenure, charging him with arrogance and bad manners, among much else. And in "Privilege: Harvard and the Education of the Ruling Class," Ross Douthat, class of 2002, describes his own Harvard education as a combination of vacuous classroom assignments, cruel social climbing and feverish networking.
Of course, a fervid interest in Harvard is nothing out of the ordinary: It is the country's most famous university, with a long claim on distinguished scholarship, political influence and high SAT scores. Most important, the media have long fawned over Harvard, treating its "brand" as pure gold. But while the school may have merited obsessive coverage in the past, it no longer does: Harvard is diminishing in importance as a factory for ideas and a breeding ground for future leaders. In all sorts of ways it is not nearly as pivotal to the life of the nation as it once was. You just wouldn't know that by reading the papers or browsing the bookstands.
Take politics. Harvard has long prided itself on being an incubator of political talent, and for good reason: It has educated seven U.S. presidents, more than any other university. But only two Harvard graduates have been elected president in the past 45 years, and one of them, the current occupant of the Oval Office, holds a Harvard MBA. By contrast, four of the six most recent presidents earned degrees from Yale, and two Yalies squared off in the past election. Moreover, for Democratic office-seekers at least, a Harvard education, with its suggestion of Eastern privilege and liberal elitism, is probably more a liability than an asset nowadays.
Harvard also matters less in the business world. It is true that a few Harvard graduates (and one dropout, Bill Gates) have figured prominently in the digital revolution--unquestionably the biggest business story in the past decade--but Stanford is a much more prolific supplier of its brainpower. Google, Yahoo!, Cisco, Sun Microsystems and a raft of other marquee tech firms were partly or wholly incubated on the Stanford campus.
Meanwhile, there are fewer Harvard diplomas hanging in corporate boardrooms. According to the executive search firm Stuart Spencer, the percentage of large-company CEOs holding Harvard MBAs declined to 23% last year from 28% in 1998. Of the Fortune 1000 CEOs appointed so far this year, just one, Corning's Wendell Weeks, earned a Harvard MBA. Asked about Harvard's declining presence in the executive suites, Mr. Weeks jokingly told USA Today: "I've yet to see a study that Harvard creates value."
Quite the opposite, actually. Two years ago, famed hedge-fund manager Victor Niederhoffer (himself a Harvard alumnus) and Laurel Kenner did a study measuring the performance of Nasdaq 100 companies run by Harvard graduates, of which there happened to be an unusually large number at the time. The results were not pretty. Mr. Niederhoffer and Ms. Kenner looked at the nine Nasdaq 100 firms headed by Harvard grads and found that they had, over a five-year period, dramatically underperformed Nasdaq firms run by graduates of other Ivy League schools, Ivy League equivalents (Stanford, MIT, Berkeley) and state schools.
Harvard is also a much less important intellectual hub than it once was. The University of Chicago, for one, has wielded much more influence in recent decades. It is no exaggeration to say that Chicago laid the intellectual foundation for the conservative ascendancy and nurtured the ideas that now drive the debate over economic policy, legal theory and foreign affairs. The key ideas of the so-called Reagan Revolution, including monetarism and deregulation, trace their origins back to the free-market theorizing of Chicago's economics department. (One striking measure of the department's clout: Of the 55 economists awarded the Nobel Prize since 1969, when economics was added to the roster, 10 have taught at Chicago and an additional 13 either trained at Chicago or had previously taught there. Harvard, by contrast, has had four faculty winners.)
One of those Chicago Nobel laureates, Ronald Coase, is acknowledged to be the godfather of law and economics, unquestionably the most influential branch of legal theory in the past quarter-century. (It applies economic reasoning to legal questions.) And while Harvard certainly has its superstars, when you look at the people who have taught at Chicago in the past 40 years or so--Milton Friedman, Richard Posner, Allan Bloom, Leo Strauss, Robert Lucas, Albert Wohlstetter, Richard Epstein, Leon Kass, Saul Bellow, Martha Nussbaum--it is pretty clear which school has been giving off more heat.
So why does Harvard continue to get so much more press than Chicago or any other American university? One possible explanation: Harvard graduates are disproportionately represented in the upper echelons of American journalism. Harvard far surpasses any other university when it comes to cultivating journalistic talent, and all those Harvard-trained reporters and editors do an excellent job of keeping their alma mater in the news.Young Mr. Douthat is a case in point. In a recent profile of him published in the New York Observer, he explained that he landed his current job with the Atlantic when David Bradley, the magazine's owner, walked into the offices of the Harvard Crimson looking for a few recruits. As for the book, it was commissioned by an editor who had graduated from Harvard several years ahead of Mr. Douthat. Nice connections if you can get them.
And lest I, a journalist not educated at Harvard, be accused of sour grapes, rest assured: I developed my Harvard complex long before I took my vow of poverty and succumbed to the charms of journalism. I spent several years after college working on Wall Street, during which time I was interviewed for a job with a major hedge fund. The interview did not go especially well, and the tone was set pretty much from the start. As the gentleman meeting with me scanned my r้sum้ and came across Haverford College, he icily commented: "Well, if you read it quickly enough, it looks like it says Harvard."
Mr. Steinberger is a senior correspondent for The American Prospect and a contributing writer for the Financial Times.
One more recent funny news from 'The Yard'
Harvard Professor Accused of Stealing Manure
Manure Lands Harvard Professor In a Mess
My friends told me the old man just came to give a talk at Chicago and Yale shortly before he get caught by the police. Surprise surprise !
I also wrote some topics about Harvard in my blog as well.
Harvard A to Z From Aab to Zeph Greek and everything Crimson in between
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