Old Boys, Old News
January 14, 2008 6:15 AM   Subscribe

MeFi's celebration of the Ivy League continues with "The Facebook of Wall Street's Future," a New York Times map of social and professional connections in the tradition of They Rule (previously on Metafilter here, here , here and here).

For those who might have trouble accessing the NYT site, I've also uploaded the graphic here.
posted by GrammarMoses (25 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
There is no evidence or indication that these people even know each other, much less do deals together. -Jeremy

I'll just echo this comment from the NY Times site. Not denying that people use their connections to get jobs and such, but isn't that why you go to HBS or Harvard Law in the first place?
posted by smackfu at 6:30 AM on January 14, 2008

If you worked in admissions at one of those schools, would you pin this up in the office?
posted by danb at 7:52 AM on January 14, 2008

(Not directed at you specifically, smackfu. Just curious about what sort of reactions this provoked.)
posted by danb at 7:53 AM on January 14, 2008

Boys in that ivy league give me an itch, those sons of... the rich.

That poison ivy league.
posted by micayetoca at 8:09 AM on January 14, 2008

let's not be bitter! try commuity college. If that doesn't work out, the Army has lots of openings.
posted by Postroad at 8:11 AM on January 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

My eyes glazed over. Anybody find Holden K.?
posted by nax at 8:22 AM on January 14, 2008

I don't get it. The NYTimes is imposing a social network graphic on a bunch of people that might not even know each other. They may not have even been at the same school at the same time. They're also mostly in their mid to late 30s. Which means they have spent much more of their life outside of college than inside college. I would imagine that means their biggest pool of contacts comes from their work, not from their education.

I could imagine a similar graphic with a network for filmmakers and film schools. I went to USC, but that doesn't mean I'm connected to George Lucas or Robert Zemeckis.
posted by kcalder at 8:44 AM on January 14, 2008

I went to USC, but that doesn't mean I'm connected to George Lucas or Robert Zemeckis.

That's fair, but I think it's also fair to say that the outcome of playing the game of "six degrees of separation" changes when you're in the world of high finance and international law. These are the folks who buy, sell and legalize dictatorships on the global market, for example, when they aren't maintaining a certain level of unemployment to balance inflation. A little scrutiny is a good thing.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:52 AM on January 14, 2008


Last time I checked, U Mich, Tufts, Notre Dame, Rutgers, U. Texas. UVA, Colgate...etc were not Ivies.

The ranks of business school graduates have increased, and the Internet has created ways to tap into the alumni grapevine.

The result is a wide universe of young bankers, lawyers, private equity executives, hedge fund managers and venture capitalists, many linked through relationships that began in undergraduate and graduate schools.

This is dumb. Internets or no, it has always been this way. My college's career services office kept huge binders of info about where alums worked, and if they were willing to give undergrads or new grads informational interviews and the like.

WTF, NYT? Needed some filler today?
posted by rtha at 8:53 AM on January 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

I'm with smackfu. This doesn't mean much by itself. All I see are associations in the graphic. That doesn't tell me much unless I want to assume a lot more than that without any real evidence. The Ivy League bashing this seems intended to start is just as bad as Ivy League glorification, which we've done here before too.

Must we wallow in the Givewell-Ivy connection for all time? And what exactly does the Exxon fake climate science FPP have to do with this, other than the abuse of power and wealth that this graphic seems intended to imply?

I could make a similar graphic for a few science disciplines. Shockingly, if your burning research interest is say... plankton systematics, you tend to study with, be hired by, mentor, advise, and hire (get this) other people who study plankton systematics. Often they studied with other people you know who also study plankton systematics.

Therefore, plankton scientists are an evil conspiracy of power and influence on a similar scale to Exxon's smear campaign of anti-science and if a few of them went to Harvard, Givewell is the new Exxon.
posted by Tehanu at 8:54 AM on January 14, 2008

Pointing out two of them shared the same undergraduate school like U Michigan which has 5k in a class is just meaningless.
posted by smackfu at 8:55 AM on January 14, 2008

I'm not sure I get the point of this either, other than the obvious as stated above.

Graduating from a so-called "elite" college or grad school may open a few doors for you, but you still have to perform once you're in (unless you are named George W. Bush). Besides, I can name more than a dozen or so people that I have encountered in my career that did not go to schools of note (or failed to get degrees at all), are more ambitious by half then my Ivy League friends and are going gangbusters as entrepreneurs, large company execs and academics. Similarly, I can name a dozen or so slacker Harvardians, Princetonians and Yalies that are still toiling in obscurity 15 years + since graduation.
posted by psmealey at 9:04 AM on January 14, 2008

I particular like the big cluster in the middle: the tightly-linked "no graduate degree" people -- they must have a really close bond...
posted by patricio at 9:42 AM on January 14, 2008

I don't really see the coherence of this series of links (tubes, maybe?). So this guy who pretends to be two different people went to Harvard, and gets exposed by the amazing Miko and then gets "fired" from his charity, somehow has something to do with these other people in high places. This seems like some convoluted big-wig/ivy leaguer contempt or jealousy or,.. something. Maybe I just missed the point entirely. Anyone?
posted by hellslinger at 9:56 AM on January 14, 2008

Uh? So some hack at the Times is trying to stir up class resentment towards the super-wealthy and privileged among their merely affluent and privileged readership? This is why everyone in finance reads the WSJ, I suppose.

I work for one of the guys featured in this chart, albeit in a fairly menial capacity. (No SUNY grads on the chart there - clearly teh deck is stacked against me!) Look, investors didn't hand this guy bajillions of dollars to start a hedge fund because he went to an Ivy, or was in their frat, whatever. They did it because they trust him, and they trust him because he spent a decade making absolute shit-tons of money for his employers.

Do you want to get on the chart? It's easy: be brilliant, and willing to devote your entire being to making money. I suspect the network will come to you.
posted by a young man in spats at 10:02 AM on January 14, 2008

Must we wallow in the Givewell-Ivy connection for all time?

Of course not. I was attempting to be wry.

And what exactly does the Exxon fake climate science FPP have to do with this, other than the abuse of power and wealth that this graphic seems intended to imply?

The FPPs mentioned in the parenthetical all mention They Rule. That's all.
posted by GrammarMoses at 10:33 AM on January 14, 2008

Comparing this to Theyrule is like comparing a game of Monopoly to a real business venture
posted by MrMerlot at 10:50 AM on January 14, 2008

Eh, the only time I've ever encountered straight, "You didn't go to to Harvard so why should I hire you?" resentment in high finance is with a few hedge funds who so desperately wanted to show their clients that everyone involved came from a top three school. I haven't heard about them since, but I doubt they're a real mover and shaker in the industry.

There is a bias, but as long as you went to a competitive school there are many avenues into this world. You can even replace "competitive" with "school near New York," and your chances increase even more. Sure you might not start out doing M&A at Goldman's, but I know enough frat boys from SLU doing deals for mid-market firms to know that if they are really, really good at what they do they can move up. It is fairly meritorious once you are in, at least compared to a lot of industries.

That is not not say it is some post-Revolution France meritocracy, and if you don't get in right after school you are sort of fucked, but it is not as bad as law firms. If you don't go to a top tier law firm, or are somewhere below the top 30 ranked schools, you're kind of fucked.
posted by geoff. at 11:00 AM on January 14, 2008

They misspelled "Macalester," which I was sort of surprised to see on this list. I thought Kofi Annan was the only powerful alum.
posted by stopgap at 11:01 AM on January 14, 2008

I was recently reading The Best and the Brightest, about Kennedy and Vietnam and such, and I swear every other person in government back then went to Groton.
posted by smackfu at 11:05 AM on January 14, 2008

Except, Kennedy went to Choate.
posted by pineapple at 12:13 PM on January 14, 2008

Yep -- JFK went to Choate. Of the 13 members of his cabinet only two went to independent boarding schools (RFK to Milton; C. Douglas Dillon to Groton). The vast majority did not attend Ivy League colleges.
posted by ericb at 1:20 PM on January 14, 2008

Is it just me, or has the New York Times graphics department gone a little nuts lately?
posted by decoherence at 2:30 PM on January 14, 2008

Wampum.com, already went belly-up.

Notice how the grownups are all excited about social networking now that they are all on facebook?
posted by fourcheesemac at 3:05 PM on January 14, 2008

there was more than a little bit of Spy in that graphics style.

not a terribly original observation but i thought i'd toss it out there anyway.
posted by jason's_planet at 6:21 PM on January 14, 2008

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