Important notes for the lists in this section
I’ve provided lists for 12 professions, but you can do this very easily for yourself if you have other areas or other companies you’re interested in. All you have to do is create an account with LinkedIn. On their incredibly useful website, do a search for any company for which you want to know from which universities their employees have received their degrees. Click on ‘View Page’ in the center top of the first page that comes up for that company. Click on ‘People’ in the menu on the next page. Then scroll down and you’ll see ‘Where they studied’. Click on ‘Add’, and then type in the name of the college you want to know about. LinkedIn will show you how many of that company’s employees with profiles on their website have a degree from that school. [Caveat: LinkedIn will limit the number of free searches you can do per month, so think carefully about what you’d like to see before you start using it.]
You’ll quickly see that even companies that everyone seems to assume only hire from specific feeder colleges have many employees with degrees from other colleges. And don’t assume that just because the college you’re interested in doesn’t show up for some company means they won’t hire from there; what you want to look for is whether they’re hiring from colleges like the one you’re interested in. For example, if there are no current employees at Goldman Sachs from Gettysburg College, check to see if they have any from Dickinson or Franklin and Marshall or Lafayette or Bucknell before you make any conclusions; if they’re hiring from any of those schools, they’ll hire from Gettysburg.
Doing these kinds of searches will convince you that if you don’t get into one of the most selective colleges but are a very strong candidate for a position after attending a college that’s a bit less selective, you’ll still have a shot at the same jobs as you would have if you had been admitted.
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!