Value of an Elite Education

Yale University

Students and their families will be on edge from now through the spring, nervously hoping for acceptance letters from the elite colleges and universities.

And companies will be targeting the best and brightest, or at least the best fits, for their organization. But is it really worth the effort to get into the most competitive schools, and does it pay to recruit from these schools?

Many employers vacillate back and forth about whether it makes sense to focus on hiring students from Ivy League schools and highly selective state schools such as Berkeley and Michigan. The question is difficult to answer, and social scientists have been trying to address it for decades.

The studies indicate a dramatic drop in the effect of attending an elite college on subsequent careers once the fact that those students were more able was held aside; some found no effects, and some found modest benefits.

However for employers, it is still worth it to recruit from the top schools because they provide an easy way to gain access to more capable applicants, and on balance, the students are more likely to succeed. However, employers can find students who will do just as well by digging around lesser schools, and they will probably be cheaper.

Also, graduate school is a reason to go to more prestigious schools, especially for those who want to be doctors, lawyers or professors.

Need help with your recruiting plan or workforce planing for your company?  Contact a senior consultant with Ember Carriers at (513) 984-9333 for a 30-minute complimentary consultation to discuss your company’s future.

Human Resource Executive Online (01/03/12) Cappelli, Peter


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