Important notes for the lists in this section
If you’re interested in seeing where a specific college shows up on this website: click on the magnifying glass icon in the upper right hand corner of any page to get a search box. Leave out the word ‘University’ or ‘College’, and try various iterations if there are any for your school (for example, I’ve used UC Los Angeles instead of the more familiar UCLA). Putting quotation marks around the name will yield better results as it will limit pages to those where the words you’ve typed appear together in the same school name.
You may notice that a handful of strong schools don’t show up on any of the lists. I wouldn’t read too much into this. Despite the large number of lists and school names on those lists, this is just a tiny sampling of all the great positions available out there, and a different selection of employers would yield different lists of colleges. If your favorite school doesn’t appear but other similar schools do, it seems safe to me to assume that the same opportunities exist for graduates of the one you like.
While looking at these lists, bear in mind that almost all of the employers listed are household names and are among the most desirable places to work in their fields. There are many less well-known places where enormous numbers of people make entire careers that are very happy and successful.
When the MC25 is mentioned, it refers to (in my opinion) the 25 colleges most coveted on a large scale nationally that are mentioned in Part 2 of the presentation. They are: Amherst, Brown, CalTech, Columbia, Cornell, Darmouth, Duke, Georgetown, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, MIT, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Princeton, Rice, Stanford, Swarthmore, UC Berkeley, University of Chicago, University of Pennsylvania, University of Virginia, Vanderbilt, Washington University in St. Louis, Williams and Yale. Yes, I realize people obsess over other schools, but from my observations these are the 25 most obsessed over at a national level.
There’s a remarkable consistency to the percentage of students from MC25 schools on these lists. For all but three of the lists, the representation of MC25 students runs from 22% to 34%. The three exceptions all have smaller percentages of MC25 graduates and are the three professions in which a high degree of knowledge in computers and/or engineering are required. There are many large, excellent programs in these fields at state schools, military academies, and private, tech-oriented universities that attract quite a few strong students.
You will likely note that students from MC25 schools appear in higher percentages on most of these lists than would be predicted if we looked solely at the percentage of the total college graduate population they represent. They should! These colleges get first pick of the most ambitious, hard-working, smart high school students in the country, so we should expect they’d fill the most desirable professional positions at a higher rate.
Consider this analogy: What if the Washington Nationals were given the top 40 picks in the Major League Baseball draft every year? (Note: Yes, they are my favorite team. If you’d like to imagine this differently, please feel free.) And then another team got the next 40, and so on until all 30 teams had chosen the approximately 1200 players in each year’s draft. The expectation would be that the Nationals would win the World Series most years and have the majority of Cy Young Award winners, MVPs, Gold Glove winners, etc. And the team that went last every year would never receive any of these kinds of recognition, right?
It is, of course, vastly more complicated with college admission, especially since most ballplayers have had four more years to mature, but it’s similar enough to be comparable. With a very large percentage of the country’s most capable, ambitious, hard-working high school students attending MC25 colleges, we should expect that a large percentage of jobs that require capable, ambitious, hard-working individuals will be filled by graduates of these institutions.
So when looking at who’s working in very desirable professional positions, what we should focus on is the very large percentage that are not from the MC25 on every one of these lists. The logical conclusion: ambitious, hard-working, smart professionals who don’t end up attending an MC25 school for whatever reason (by choice or through not being selected for admission) will still have excellent career opportunities.
All but one (biotech/pharma) of these lists include colleges attended only for those who received their undergraduate degrees at schools located in the United States; most of these companies and organizations have at least a few people who got their degrees overseas. Also, some of the companies have employees for whom I wasn’t able to discover where they did their undergraduate work; at the Washington Post, this was a very large number.
Unless otherwise noted, numbers in parentheses after a college name indicate the number who attended if more than one person went to that school.
If you think of an unrepresented profession for which a list would be useful for you, let me know and I’ll see what I can do!