Is an Ivy League education pointless for creative people? - Digital Tool Factory blog

Is an Ivy League education pointless for creative people?

IVE•RI•TAS came across some of Richard Florida’s work online yesterday (Florida is the author of “The Creative Class” and the creator of the notion that creative people should self-segregate) and I began wondering: why do Ivy League institutions produce so few creative people?

When I hear an interview with someone who attended a “top-tier”, “elite”, or “Ivy League” university all the graduate ever seems to mention are the connections they obtained while attending the university.  Ivy League graduates also point out that there is no other place they could have made such connections.  The quality of the education goes unmentioned.  As I am creating a web startup based on connections, connection making institutions fascinate me, but I wonder about the educational value of these institutions.  The institutions select their graduates by exclusive criteria by an measure, but for fields that are not connection based (I am defining connection based fields as government, politics, American big business and the like) I can’t recall that many Ivy League graduates.

I’ve been trying to think of musicians, authors, comedians, software developers and bootstrapped entrepreneurs who attended elite American universities and I’m coming up with very few names.  Are these schools just self-selected connection factories?  Stressing connections over education may well be a more productive strategy for our networked society.  Do Ivy League universities spend much time on teaching the fundamentals of their degrees?  My brushes with Ivy League graduates in the business world (this is quite a small sample mind you) have generated the following observations:

  • The Ivy Leaguer will always tell you where he or she attended college with no prompting.
  • The Ivy Leaguer will always be young for the position he or she is in
  • The Ivy Leaguer will not seem particularly competent at the position
  • The Ivy Leaguer will name drop like crazy
  • The Ivy Leaguer will mangle the concepts of “Tactics” and “Strategy” to avoid specifics of their ideas

Perhaps creative people don’t need college at all (my thought), or if they do, they don’t mention it anywhere near as much.  The status given to Ivy League institutions could just be a magnifier of that fact.

Just random thoughts on a Thursday morning.

Creative Commons License photo credit: rawheadrex


This post originally appeared on the Stronico blog – with the absorption of Stronico into Digital Tool Factory this post has been moved to the Digital Tool Factory blog


Written By Steve French


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