Anonymous User wrote:
I can relate to your sentiment. I cannot think of any other graduate program that is so rank obsessed. Seriously, is there any other program where people actually break down the schools and put so much weight into minor and often arbitrary distinctions among students and ranks? I don't get why the #1 program is legendary, then there is a hierarchy such that going to the #4 school is in a different class than the top 3 schools, but still better than NYU, etc.? I feel like law hiring and law grades are often based on tiny distinctions without true differences. Do not understand why grades, school rank, etc. are taken as such a critical signalling mechanism, but I can see why the structure of the system would create such prestige-obsessed people. Why is the system structured the way it is? How can we, as members of such a system, not become so prestige-obsessed, and help fellow lawyers to be happier and less focused on rankings and bottom lines?
Finance and consulting is even more prestige-obsessed. There are a dozen schools considered "top schools" in the country, varying depending on market. There are only three top MBA programs. Big law firms hire large numbers of people from 10-20 law schools. Pretty much only HYPS+Penn send large numbers of people into the big banks from undergrad. Google and Facebook have brought prestige-obsession to engineering too--they recruit heavily from Stanford and Berkeley.
Why do companies do it? Because frankly as 20-somethings with no experience we're completely fungible. Even if the school rankings are based on minor differences, those minor differences are the only cheap, quick sorting mechanism companies have to go on. People become prestige conscious because they understand how the game is played.
When I worked as an engineer, I used to help with hiring sometimes. When a resume crosses my desk, I have nothing to go on beyond school and GPA. Everything people do more or less sounds the same, and it's impossible to tell just from looking at a resume what experience is legit and what is bullshit. When faced with that, I'm just going to pick the resume that has "Berkeley" on it or "Stanford" rather than "Cal State."