Harvard: we get it. You hate Harvard. But, at this point, it feels a tad bit old when professional illusionist Mitt Romney complains about Harvard’s “faculty lounge”, or aggrieved alumna Kaya Williams bleats about having to discuss Plato, or Canadian performance artist Misha Glouberman whines about living in a dorm. Because, come on.
Can we move on? Maybe let others complain about Harvard, or other things? (Like Yale professors, about not being able to talk to plumbers?)
We ask because the latest barrel of Harvard haterade, supplied this time by Nation intern and Harvard sophomore Sandra Y.L. Korn (pictured), isn’t another screed against Harvard’s elitism or intellectualism or insularity. It’s complaining about Harvard being Harvard, or something:
Why do so many Harvard graduates work in finance? Most students contend that they need the assured income of a finance job to justify their expensive Ivy League degrees or support their families. For some, this may be true. However, in reality, finance may often simply be an easy career choice for undecided students. Ivy League universities have institutionalized the culture that makes finance jobs so ubiquitous among graduates.
In a nut shell: Korn’s beef with Harvard is that she goes to college with future inhabitants of Greenwich, Connecticut.
Harvard, tell us: Isn’t that why people go to Harvard? To be among your swath of humanity? Korn isn’t some kind of . . . she couldn’t . . . OHHHH. Oh no. “Sandra Korn is a sophomore at Harvard College studying History of Science and Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality.”
That’s your problem right there. Unless you’re pre-law, Harvard really ain’t the place for the humanities undergrad. Think of Harvard President Drew Faust, who went to Bryn Mawr—wherever that is!
After protesting a recruiting event for Goldman Sachs, the international baby-panda rescue society, Korn tells Harvard to see the light:
This sparked an informative and important discussion on campus about the ethics of Wall Street jobs and also encouraged Harvard’s Center for Public Interest Careers to host a conference for students interested in pursuing public service careers. While these steps are important, destroying the well-paved road between the Ivy League schools and Wall Street will take a more dramatic cultural change on the part of students and administrators. Until we come to our senses, finance firms will continue to hire Ivy League students in disproportionate numbers.
Alright. Not to get too preachy, but the reason Goldman Sachs recruits Ivy League students is because (deep breath) the Ivy League heavily selects for students who excel at following rules and obeying authority. You don’t get into Harvard unless you enthusiastically heed the instructions of others, for years. That’s what makes the Ivy League so awesome: it’s filled with successful people! (As IvyGate’s Eve Binder once said: “Skip the kumbaya and go straight for the bonus!”)
And duh: Such unthinking obedience, much more so than intelligence, is the secret sauce of high finance. (There is really no other explanation for the apparently real Conde Elevator rip-off set at Goldman Sachs.) That being said, Harvard still needs scholars of feminist theory for the same reason Goldman still hires compliance officers: to burnish its image. We suspect, however, that it’s the Harvardian on his sleigh ride to the financial district, not Korn, who knows this best of all.