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Degree Snobbery

October 29, 2007

Meagan McArdle, on degree snobs in the District:

The weirdest thing to me about Washington is that this snobbery–and the inevitable reverse snobbery–are more prevalent than in any other city I’ve lived in. Friends who went to state schools tell astonishing stories of pervasive, yet casual, slights on their school and the people who went there. You would think that a city dominated by politicians, bureaucrats, and lobbyists would have more of the common touch, but apparently just the reverse.

As the proud recipient of probably the least prestigious degree in my company, I can say that I have seen this several times. Holding a degree from a school that is not either (1) in the Ivy League or (2) within 100 miles of the White House makes you highly suspect as at least partially clueless. Regardless of the fact the few Georgetown University grads I’ve worked with are some of the most book smart, well traveled, and completely devoid of any common sense people I’ve met.

Successful people will be successful no matter what school name is on their resume, if any (sidebar: great article on a teenage girl in suburban Detriot who started a multimillion dollar web business on her own before even graduating from high school). It is annoying, though, to feel the need to constantly prove yourself to idiots who got a more prestigious degree because of legacy admissions policies, or people who traveled the world but have never been in MS Excel.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. andy permalink*
    October 29, 2007 4:22 pm

    It is entirely possible to go to a good school and still seem dumb as hell. I’m fairly convinced that 90% of the working world is unaware of the term “efficiency”.

  2. Ashley permalink
    October 29, 2007 5:34 pm

    I have a Masters in cutting corners (MCC).

    This degree program is not available at any Ivy League schools or anywhere around the DC Metropolitan area for that matter. This is most likely the reason why our government and its bureaucracy is so jacked up.

    While degree snobbery is bullshit, it’s stench is nearly as bad as those people who make fun of the degree they have and the institution they received it from despite the fact that they enjoyed all of their time at that school and are now very successful (you know who I’m talking about :)).

    I take pride in knowing I don’t have to go to The Guards and Smith Point every weekend to see my pals. And that my five years at a small school in Ohio was so worth the next twenty years of debt I’m facing and if given the chance, I would do it the same way all over again!

    On a related note, a George Mason Alumni friend of mine recently said “I like hanging out with Dayton people, even those I don’t know because I know they are going to be friendly, down to earth, and serious drinkers.” Eat that Georgetown.

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