November 22, 2011, 1:35 PM —
If you want to get hired by an "elite" firm in investment banking, law, or management consulting, what you think matters on your resume probably doesn't.
Research by Lauren Rivera, the result of working for nine months inside the process, shows that most applications go almost straight to the round file. Elite schools matter, because evaluators believe that getting into the top schools means the applicant is smarter and finds a way to reach their goals. Graduates from the top schools favored applicants from those schools, and since individual evaluators have enormous leeway, those biases matter, even though many surveyed felt courses were "too abstract," and even "useless" compared to more "practical" and "relevant" training offered at "lesser" institutions (from Rivera's "Ivies, Extracurriculars, and Exclusion" paper).
Non-academic activities matter, because those not involved outside the classroom were considered boring nerds who would turn into corporate drones if hired. Activities in the applicant's major, like investing clubs for finance students, are considered resume filler. Personal pursuits like sports mattered more, but only if the applicant reached a high level. Intramural sports, blah, varsity college athlete, let's talk more.
I knew it
What school you came from is everything. If you're not from Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, Penn, Yale or Columbia, good luck. Even within school your major or subdivision can make a huge difference.
Doug on econlib.org
None of this surprises me. I've known a few alumni from Goldman Sachs, Lehman, WSJ, The Economist, and similar high-profile employers. The career trajectory is the same: Ivy League or Oxbridge to cushy job, usually through job fairs or old boy networks.
Nothing2SeeMoveAlong on reddit.com
Elite? These sectors are all heavily regulated or created by government. Try looking at top engineering teams managing offshore rigs, or research groups, or high end tech/software groups... You know, people who actually do "work" on "stuff".
joeftansey on econlib.org
It also sounds like the filter is more about money. If you have expensive hobbies, you probably can relate to other wealthy people.