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In Real Life, Book Smarts Serve Street Smarts

Remember the third season of Donald Trump's television series, The Apprentice, which pitted "book smarts" (college grads) against "street smarts" (high school grads) for the job of Trump's apprentice? In the final episode, "book smarts" prevailed.

But in contrast to reality TV, real life produces different results. According to this article, Any College Will Do: Nation's Top CEOs Find Path to Corner Office Starts at State University, WSJ,

Most CEOs of the biggest corporations didn't attend Ivy League or other highly selective colleges. They went to state universities, big and small, or to less-known private colleges.

The article posits that:

One reason more Ivy League alumni aren't CEOs may be that many have traditionally chosen careers in investment banks and at big law firms, where they could earn big sums quickly and wouldn't have to start in entry-level management jobs.

A lot of people who earn degrees from tier-one universities and business schools aren't willing to start at the bottom of a huge company" and spend years scaling layers of management and hoping to reach the top, says Richard Tedlow, a business historian at Harvard Business School.

And of course, there are some founders of high-tech companies who never completed college, like Bill Gates, Michael Dell and Steve Jobs, all of whom are college drop-outs.

The irony here is that law firms  place so much clout on credentials like college and law school ranking, law review and class rank, vying to hire the best and the brightest of the top-tier law grads, only to have them report to a boss who went to the state university. And what's more, apparently the better credentials don't even help lawyers serve their "pedestrian" clients any better; 70 percent of corporate clients are disatisfied with their attorneys.

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on September 18, 2006 at 05:40 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)


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