It's bound to be one or the other if you're job hunting in Big Business. Let's be forthright about this, as Bourree Lam, associate editor at The Atlantic is in her article about who gets a chance at top jobs and a massive income. You know -- the kind of income that creates a one percenter.
Lam interviews Lauren Rivera, professor at Northwestern's Managment School who's been researching and writing about those get through the gates on the way to virtually guaranteed riches and the fortunate side of income inequality.
Bourree Lam: You spent a lot time with the gatekeepers of elite jobs. Why are these people important? Can you tell me a bit about who they are generally?Lauren Rivera: In terms of the gatekeepers to these elite jobs, these are just people who are on the ground who are responsible for deciding who is in and who is out, who gains access to professional jobs in management consulting, investment banking, etc. The decisions they make have huge consequences for students, in terms of not only their immediate post-graduate opportunities, the salaries they make, but also opportunities for future and career growth and development. Commonalities of all of these individuals: They tend to be a very elite group, they tend to come from a fairly prestigious set of institutions, and they tend to come from some of the most highly educated and affluent backgrounds as well. This is pretty standard across the industries. ...Atlantic
The HR people most closely involved have virtual or actual handbooks or lists.
It's very clear who's a core and who's a target and if you're not on the list, it's just really hard to get your resume seen partially because these jobs are highly desirable—they receive so many applications—and there's a widespread perception that "the best students go to the best schools." The list may vary from firm to firm but they are convinced that the schools on their lists are the best schools. So sticking to that list you might miss some people, for them it seems like a pretty good solution. But in terms of inequality, what ends up happening is if you're not at one of those schools, the only way to really get into one these firms is to have a personal connection to someone who already works there. ...Atlantic
Barring personal connections, you've got a problem. You get tossed into a bucket.
When you're not at one of those listed schools what ends up happening is that your resume just goes into this big broad bucket where they may or may not be a certain person who's charged with reviewing those resumes. ...Atlantic
Though there may be too many to review carefully. And anyway, there's the social evaluation. Is this applicant "like us"? (Does she dress "like us"? Does he drink and support the same sports team "like us"?)
But you knew all this already, right?
To clarify, it's just the resumes that are not from targeted schools and those who don't have a personal connection that might be discarded. So if you are from a target campus, or you're sponsored, chances are someone's going to look. If you fall into neither one of those buckets, you'll find yourself in a bit of a pickle. ...Atlantic
The trouble with limiting the kinds of people who get jobs to a certain group is that you get the same results and those results aren't always good. In the end, incest doesn't work out very well. On the other hand, we might want to take a look at the kinds of education -- very often strong in the liberal arts -- that distinguish the top schools and make that education more widely available.