What is so great about being an Ivy league graduate versus a non Ivy league graduate?

I noticed that Ivy league schools only offer non career specific majors like economics rather than accounting, bussiness management....When I flipped thru the job section of newspaper's classifieds, companies are more willing to recruit workers who have a career specific degree. So what do you do with your Ivy league degree when you do not have enough credentials to really work unless you continue with a graduate degree? Let's say you completed ur Ivy League degree and you want to go on to grad school but do not have enough financial resources, wouldn't you be stuck in a rut? I know those non career specific degrees are supposed to make you into this critical thinking, genius person but you simply cannot survive just by being smart!

16 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    The majority of Ivies (that includes near Ivies) are Liberal Arts Schools (or at least were started in that tradition) and thus awards BA's in Arts and Humanities, maybe Science fields, and not professional degrees.

    Yes, a professional degree is very practical and with it you are likely to find a job within your field, like accounting, engineering, etc, depending on demand, but is it a always a prestigious job?

    Econ majors are constantly in demand, despite it not being a professional degree. Companies like Morgan Stanley, UBS, etc are constantly recruiting Econ majors, and mostly only from prestigious Ivy level schools. And that's only using economics as an example. I would say part (or a big part) of the appeal of the Ivies is the networking and the connections, especially professional ones. Entering those institutions is like belonging to an elite circle or club that "ensures" success and doors opening for you. It's not so much a preparation for a life of work per se as it is a mark of social status.

    (a tangent here:) Let's not forget there are liberal arts schools all across the country that are not Ivies. Are those graduates not smart? Will they not survive? I think many people make the mistake of equating prestige of an institute with an individual's intellectual capacity. And also, intellectual capacity does not always mean you are a competent worker.

    All in all, you get different things from the institute you attend. All institutes provide a person an education, with variations of "quality" and practicality. If you have only a desire to be a professional in one particular field, it would be in your best interest to attend a professional school and get that degree. If you did not have that interest, you'd most likely explore the Arts and Humanities and liberal arts school of any caliber, which can prepare you for anything. And if you'd wanted to shoot for the top tier (if you weren't already born into it that is), you'd most likely go for an Ivy, get your education, and then move into your field, through connections and other opportunities.

  • 1 decade ago

    Well, yes, usually can survive "simply by being smart".

    Just because a job ad says they want someone who majored in accounting or something specific like that, if you walk in the door with an economics degree from Harvard you can better believe they'll be interested.

    The philosophy at Harvard (my alma mater) is that non-specific degrees actually produce smarter, more well-rounded citizens who are capable of doing many different jobs.

    Non-specific degrees teach you to think critically, to read and write effectively, and those are skills that can be applied to most any job.

    As for an Ivy League degree itself? Well just having an Ivy Leage degree itself does not do very much. Ivy League after all is nothing but an ATHLETIC LEAGUE. It says nothing about academic standards. Cornell is a very different school than Harvard, for example. There are plenty of non-Ivy League schools which are ranked much higher than some Ivy League schools. That said, Harvard, Princeton, and Yale are typically considered among the best schools in the country, and they are all Ivy League. But basically, it tends to matter more where your degree is actually from, and not just that its from an "Ivy league" school. Secondly, it also matters what subject your degree is in. And it matters what your grades were, and how good of a writer and communicator you are.

    Having a good degree from a good school does not guarantee you a good job, but it can help.

    Having the name Harvard on resume definitely gives me a leg up, but it does not guarantee anything.

  • Ranto
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    First -- you are wrong that the Ivy League has no career specific majors. The Wharton School at The University of Pennsylvania is the top rated undergraduate business school in the world. Most of the Ivies have top engineering programs. On the graduate level, all of the Ivy League universities except Princeton and Brown have highly rated business schools, most have highly rated engineering, law and medical schools. You can't get more career specific than that.

    I believe that you can get as good an education at a good state school as you can at an Ivy League school. However, it is also possible to skate through a State School -- while it is hard to do that at the Ivies. Therefore, employers like graduates of Ivy League schools -- because they know what they are getting.

  • 1 decade ago

    People will judge you for the rest of your life based on what college you went to. Right or wrong people will always assume someone that went to a school like Harvard is smarter than someone who went to a state school. Therefore, when you apply to any of the jobs you are talking about as an ivy league grad, you are more likely to get the job over a local grad (unless the hiring person went to a local school and prefers a local grad). Also, when applying to grad schools, people who have an ivy education again have an advantage. That said, the benefits of going to an ivy school do not outweigh the benefits of going somewhere where you will be truly happy. Make sure you go to a school that has a healthy balance between prestige and being a place you will like to be in for four years.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Ivy League students, for the most part, are among the smartest in the nation if not the world. Such students learn how to think and solve problems. Their broad liberal arts educations let them see the big picture. That is why major companies send their recruiters to those schools to hire people to put on the fast track to top level positions. Of course, many Ivy League students also go on for professional training in law or medicine, which gives them additional credentials. Another thing, many important executives want their children to go to the best schools, so if you are an Ivy League student, it is likely that you will run into the children of senators, ambassadors, company presidents. Sometimes you get to meet their parents who may form a good impression of you and give you a job. This is part of networking.

  • The most important thing about graduating from an Ivy League University is the connections you can foster and make during your tenure either in undergraduate or graduate school. Having attended a top Non-Ivy League university for my undergraduate studies and attending an Ivy League University for my MBA, I had first hand experience on the differences both types of schools foster. I would have to say that based purely on difficulty that both institutions came about equal. Meaning that if education was just purely about what you retained, learned, and gathered both institution were on par. Which I would assume was the case since based on US News ranking both schools were in the top 15 both for their Undergraduate and Graduate Programs respectively.

    However, education in my humble opinion is not just about "book smarts." Achieving and maintain success in the real world is not just about smarts, as you so eloquently stated earlier in your question. Education and success are heavily linked to who you know, rather then simply what you know. That postulate being stated, this is where the Ivy League "Education" comes into play. It has nothing to do with the level of rigor or difficulty of your studies but more so to do with the connections you will make over the next 4 years if you are in undergraduate or the next 2-3 years for graduate students.

  • 1 decade ago

    I really don't think that there is anything better about it except the name. I would imagine that in the ivy league schools you would get a better education. However, just like in grade school, there are some really great teachers and there are some really bad ones. It's the same thing in college. I attend a local university and with some of my teachers I learn SO much, with others, I could teach the class myself and learn more. But employers tend to look more at what degree you hold rather than what school you went to. So like I said, you're really paying for the name.

  • 1 decade ago

    The "Ivy League" schools would probably try to convince you that the superiority of their instructors and environment justify the cost. There is no doubt that they have outstanding faculty and facilities, but as far as practical skills, that is not what those schools are preparing people for - more like being corporate executives, academics, lawyers, or maybe even just the idle rich. How are the children of the richest 2% of the US supposed to meet each other, network, and maybe even fall in love? The answer - inside those ivy covered walls. These schools are about being part of a "club" of money and power. Even asking this question shows that they are not for you!

    Source(s): Retired University Instructor (no ivy at ANY of my schools)
  • 1 decade ago

    With all the people saying the students and the facilities are generally better at Ivy League schools, i would have to disagree. I go to Johns Hopkins, not and ivy league school, but excellent nonetheless. I have many friends who go to ivy league schools including Penn, Cornell and Brown. Further, I have visited many Iv league schools among other great schools throughout the country. My friends tell me that at their schools, Penn, Cornell etc, the students are not very academically driven and often don't care. Perhaps this is because of the major grade inflation at the ivy league schools. Further, of all the schools i visited, Johns Hopkins and University of Chicago had the nicest facilities, and I visited 7 of the 8 ivy league schools. The students here are very driven and competitive and go on to great graduate schools and jobs, at a higher rate than most Ivy League schools. Johns Hopkins places 100% of pre-law students into law school and 95% of premed students into medical school. And many of them go to top 15 graduate schools.

  • anon
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    Well, you get the prestige that comes along with going to a school that people know you have to be smart to get in to. You also get taught by professors that are leaders in their fields which can make a big difference in what you actually learn. Ivy's also have a lot of money to play around with, so they will have good equipment. Also, you don't have to go to grad school to get a good job. I know a guy who went to Wharton (at Penn) and ended up having several job offers starting in 6 digits.

    As for graduate school being expensive... that isn't always the case. I know that in chemistry, any school will wave your graduate tuition plus give you a stipend to pay for living expenses. So you can actually live just fine in grad school without paying much money out of your pocket.

    EDIT: To Jon I: Yes it is true. I am applying to chem grad schools at the moment, and of the schools I'm applying to, they will usually pay you between 15,000-24,000 a year plus waved tuition. The money is in the form of teaching assistanceships, research assistanceships, or fellowships. I've talked to my chem profs and they have said that they were pretty much able to live off of the stipend without having to get any student loans or anything like that.

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