Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Does Ivy League Matter?

From the WSJ's College Journal:

Question: Does going to a very prestigious college really make a difference in landing a good first job, for example, on Wall Street?

Answer: You don't necessarily need a Rolls Royce to get you where you need to go.

There's nothing wrong with attending a prestigious school. But don't despair if you don't have a super-pricey diploma.

It's possible to get to Wall Street without an Ivy League degree. "More important than the school you attend are your grade-point average, extracurricular activities, as well as your interest in and knowledge about business," says Rachel Radway, managing editor of, a San Francisco-based research and publishing company focused on careers and management.

Deutsche Bank recruiters, for example, visit more than 40 university campuses in the U.S., less than half considered "Ivy League," in search of candidates for its analyst program.

These universities are chosen based on academic reputation, their historic hiring relationship with the school, and degree disciplines, says Kris Peters, head of university recruiting at Deutsche Bank.

She adds that the bank's hiring criteria "is based entirely on the skills that we think lead to success in our businesses," among them educational background, as well as experiences that demonstrate leadership, work ethic and teamwork.

"As long as you've done well at a school with a decent reputation, you will be a good candidate," says Ms. Radway. She emphasizes the importance of references, summer internships and relevant coursework to gaining a foothold as an entry-level job candidate."

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