Whether it’s private institutions like the “Ivy Plus” elite (Ivy League, Stanford, UChicago, etc.), powerful public schools (e.g. the University of California system), or those in secondary echelons of selectivity, millions of students dream of one day calling a top institution their alma mater. What makes these name-brand schools so interesting goes beyond education — there are substantial perks made possible by association.
These perks are common talking points by top-tier colleges. Whether it’s taking a class with a Nobel Prize-winning professor (or classmate), running into a famous CEO on your way to lunch, or winning a major art grant sponsored by a generous donor, top brand names attract interesting people and provide plenty of opportunities for them to intermingle.
Talent from top schools are heavily recruited by top companies. Some industries, like Investment Banking and Consulting, almost entirely recruit from a few dozen college and universities. For those students, access is made simple: a special link to the application, on-campus interviews, and coffee chats from fellow alums who also help out in the recruitment process.
World-class facilities are abundant on these campuses. Some forms of access are more visible, like walking into SLAC (the Stanford Linear Accelerator) to do research, or renting the controversial Voynich Manuscript at Yale’s Beinecke Library. Others are more low-key, like accepting an invite to join Facebook at Harvard back in 2005. Across these campuses, students might be given prototype technology to tinker with, advise senators on crafting policy, and compete in the same facilities that will host the Olympics.
Rolling out the Red Carpet
Opportunities isn’t just for jobs and events; how about an open work visa to go with that degree? The UK government created a 2-year “high potential individual” visa that can only be obtained by young alumni from just 37 schools worldwide, which were explicitly selected for attaining a Top 50 university rank on 2+ lists. This is a surprisingly public proclamation of prestige-based immigration.