Tuesday, March 17, 2009

So I guess it IS different...

Generally speaking, I can pretty confidently say that I am a smart guy. I understand a lot of different concepts and ideas pretty quickly and analytical skills were never my shortfall. So, I always had in mind that the school you ended up in was more a reflection of how quickly you matured, how dedicated you were in school, and basically, much like the CPA exam, how much discipline you had for a predefined period of time. So, based on that, even the Ivy League schools to me was impressive and maybe a handful of geniuses went there but in general, I figured it had more to do with a being a dork in high school... and of course, I would phrase it that way because I did not have a GPA to brag about in school (and goes to show that means shit because my performance ratings in all my jobs have been very stellar).

Today, at my company, we had one of our many interview rounds where we are hiring for the May grads as well as the summer interns. We are fortunate to have the luxury of being able to hire some interns and you can tell that the job market is totally different for these college kids. The caliber of kids coming in to interview and subsequently not getting an offer is much higher than those of few years ago. Literally, the joke amongst us interviewers is that we wouldn't be hired in today's standards. And all of us are managers or above in finance and accounting roles (HR administers but we are the ones conducting the interview).

I am one of the "casers" as in I administer a case study and of course, during that process, there are multiple evaluation criteria. It's not perfect but it's definitely a good way to gauge some of the skill set that we are looking for here. Today's group consisted of several UPenn students and some Cornell students. Let me say that again. UPenn and Cornell students, interviewing for a company in Richmond fuckin VA. Let me say this in case you're not grasping the magnitude of what's happening here. Those Ivy Leaguers with their ridiculously loaded resumes and insane GPAs are always set to go work in Manhattan on the trading floor... Glitz and glamour of city life is what they have worked all their adolescent lives for and so they probably think that they deserve to be there... and yet today, they were sitting on the other side of me, trying to frantically figure out the case as they walk me through their thought processes under a lot of pressure of time as well as wanting the job.

And I will say this. Some of them weren't great fits for us but one thing they all had in common... very professional and even more astonishing to me was how smart they were... I mean they're freakin wired differently. They see angles that I am shocked that they see at their level. Certain calculation comes to them incredibly naturally. I remember walking out of one of the interview thinking "oh my god, this guy is freakin insanely smart... like genius level." The problem is, they might jump ship the moment the market turns. But of course, that's not one of our eval criteria. Now like I said, it's not that they all passed with flying colors. But when you show how much of a genius you are without even trying, you know what you get? A second chance. So, some that won't get offers for the summer internship will be saved for another round in the fall. Of course, by then, they may have other offers which is fine with us too. There's no shortage of great candidates right now and we're in the fortunate position of being able to decide who we get to keep and who we can't.

I guess the point of this post, in actuality, is to give props to all those who actually went to an Ivy League school. Hey, I always knew you Yale grads (besides the last Prez who clearly got in because of his fuckin connections) were super smart but today, interacting with these students from the Ivy League schools did make me realize how smart some of these guys are. Like I said, that doesn't translate into an immediate job offer or anything, but for what it's worth, you have my respect. I guess it was just interesting to see it in person as one to evaluate them.

So stay away from my poker table please. Thanks.


PokerFool said...

Yep, job market sure sucks out there.

The most valuable lesson I've learned in the 10 years since graduating form college is this: It's not what you know, it's who you know.

Also, In my experience, once 6 - 12 months pass after graduating from school, no one gives a flying f*ck where you went. Now granted, I'm a EE in the midwest, so it might be different in other fields and other parts of the country. But no one in the technology business care where you went to school and what your grades were.

It's all about who you know :)

spritpot said...

I go to grad school in a program that has some ppl that went to Ivy Leagues for undergrad, others that went to random non-top 50 schools, and everywhere in between. In the sample I've observed (granted, biased since it's a collection of graduates who ended up deciding to do a PhD and got into a top 20 program), there isn't really any correlation between undergrad degree and intelligence or level of instruction/preparation received during undergrad.

The average Ivy Leaguer is surely smarter than the average state school grad. But I really don't think it's a different ballgame. Now that I'm a teaching assistant as a part of my grad program, I can see even more that within any school and any class there's a huge degree of variance in intelligence and dedication.


Anonymous said...

Are you sure this isn't another post about how awesome you are at your job?

BWoP said...

You do realize that Dawn Summers went to Yale, don't you?

Then again, she totally schooled me in the NFL quiz.


I guess Ivy League > Big East (except when it comes to hoops).

Sia said...

Yea....reminds me of the guys I went to JMU with. JMU, Penn, Cornell....all right up there. Or something.

whatever. we had hotter chicks and that's most important.