HYP or other Ivy League grads working low-level service jobs?

krazyk's picture
Rank: Senior Baboon | 223

Everyone here can relate to the "I heard the brother of my friend's wife's cousin's sister who graduated from Harvard couldn't find a real job and is now working at Starbucks." Does anyone actually know someone in this situation though? Granted the recession has been tough on everybody but it can't be too hard for an Ivy League graduate to get at least some type of F500 job, even if it is a back office role.

Comments (46)

Jul 21, 2011

Schadenfreude much?

Yes. H'97 working at Macy's on the sales floor.

Jul 21, 2011
ivoteforthatguy:

Schadenfreude much?

Yes. H'97 working at Macy's on the sales floor.

I don't feel the least bit sorry for any Ivy Leaguer who can't find a job even in this economy.

Jun 21, 2012
ivoteforthatguy:

Schadenfreude much?

Yes. H'97 working at Macy's on the sales floor.

Y'96 here, working as a substitute teacher. But in all fairness when I try to get the "entry level" jobs in my major field, all these years later, it's "that was a long time ago, can we have some more recent work references and don't you dare use anyone at Yale" sort of thing.

Also, in all fairness, Princeton has a teacher licensing program but that doesn't mean there are enough teaching jobs to go around with all the state budget cuts and layoffs. Back in the 90's it was easier for a new or substitute teacher to "moonlight" but now, if you can't find a teaching job even those jobs you used to call your "moonlighting" job aren't there.

Jul 21, 2011

yeah, plenty of people from soft majors who had trouble finding work.

Jul 21, 2011

There was an article in the newspaper (can't remember where- google iyw) of a Princeton girl who only found part-time low-level work at a PR firm near her hometown of Chicago. There was a Penn guy I knew personally who was working at Ace hardware store full-time.I'm sure there are plenty of ivy graduates every year working in jobs where a college degree isn't required. The richer ones have their family business to fall back on but otherwise would have nothing- like a Brown girl I personally know who sits at her father's newspaper.

But the absolute worst are the top-school graduates who are unemployed b/c they feel that they are "too above" taking a low-level job- like a northwestern (I know its not ivy- but close) girl I know personally who has been unemployed for two years.

This is why I'm a bit taken back when I see non-targets with sub-par GPAs and non-sense ideas on the economy and markets talk about wanting front-office jobs at BBs...."Great...But assuming labor market efficiency- why should YOU get it?" A great failing of this board is that the younger people (e.g. underclassmen undergrads) don't understand the large amount of competition for a respectable job- forget front-office wall street.

Obviously these top-school graduates doing below-average jobs are also lacking something serious that the average person has (whatever you want to call it- "gumption" or whatever) - its still at least partly indicative of the times.

Jul 21, 2011
Seigniorage:

There was an article in the newspaper (can't remember where- google iyw) of a Princeton girl who only found part-time low-level work at a PR firm near her hometown of Chicago. There was a Penn guy I knew personally who was working at Ace hardware store full-time.I'm sure there are plenty of ivy graduates every year working in jobs where a college degree isn't required. The richer ones have their family business to fall back on but otherwise would have nothing- like a Brown girl I personally know who sits at her father's newspaper.

But the absolute worst are the top-school graduates who are unemployed b/c they feel that they are "too above" taking a low-level job- like a northwestern (I know its not ivy- but close) girl I know personally who has been unemployed for two years.

This is why I'm a bit taken back when I see non-targets with sub-par GPAs and non-sense ideas on the economy and markets talk about wanting front-office jobs at BBs...."Great...But assuming labor market efficiency- why should YOU get it?" A great failing of this board is that the younger people (e.g. underclassmen undergrads) don't understand the large amount of competition for a respectable job- forget front-office wall street.

Regarding what you said about non-targets who seek BB FO positions -- although it's definitely an uphill battle, in the end hard work, determination and perserverance will win out. If these "non-target" seemingly "uncompetitive" people work hard enough, they may get noticed and vault ahead of those Ivy League grads who simply rest on their laurels (in their case, their diplomas).

Obviously these top-school graduates doing below-average jobs are also lacking something serious that the average person has (whatever you want to call it- "gumption" or whatever) - its still at least partly indicative of the times.[/quote]

Jul 21, 2011

Ace Hardware?? That's classic. Ivy league types who can't find work, even in this economy, don't have their shit together.

Still I Rise

Jul 21, 2011

I feel like I read about a Harvard or Yale grad (can't remember which) that became a cop in the last year or so.

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

Jul 21, 2011

HYP here.

Tons of friends are doing odd things. None are unemployed except by choice. Anyone who wanted a finance or consulting job eventually got it, even if it took time.

I know it's heresy here, but many kids just don't want these jobs. They did internships, had offers and just bailed on it. Some did typical things: law school, med school, TFA. Others are coaching sports, working at random companies, non-professional grad school.

"The American father is never seen in London. He passes his life entirely in Wall Street and communicates with his family once a month by means of a telegram in cipher." - Oscar Wilde

Jul 21, 2011

While I can't imagine it applies to all Ivy students, there must be a couple out there working jobs that they actually enjoy even though others would perceive those jobs as "below them".

Jul 21, 2011

Honestly, any Ivy kid who isn't employed either has some social malfunction, or is an asshole. The alumni from a state school can hook up even the WORST candidate, so I totally fail to see how anyone from Harvard is on the dole.

No sympathy, no excuses, sorry don't want to hear it.

Jul 22, 2011
UFOinsider:

Honestly, any Ivy kid who isn't employed either has some social malfunction, or is an asshole. The alumni from a state school can hook up even the WORST candidate, so I totally fail to see how anyone from Harvard is on the dole.

No sympathy, no excuses, sorry don't want to hear it.

That's horseshit. I'm at an Ivy and I know many people that are smarter/harder-working/more social/in harder programs than me that didn't even get interviews at banks. Many people.

Going to an Ivy does NOT entitle you to a job in banking/consulting, even if you have a good GPA in the "right" major. Sorry, that's just not the case. A lot of extremely bright, qualified people I know have crappy internships/starting jobs because the economy sucks and companies just aren't hiring to the extent that they were.

It's not for lack of effort, it's for lack of opportunity. Some people get lucky, others don't, and to the extent we make most of our own luck, 85% of people at Ivies are motivated, driven, and hard-working, and have done all they can to secure the best possible careers.

The other 15% don't need to work anyway.

Also, quotas. Goldman, for example, took 12 people from my school, Barclays another 12, not sure about numbers for the other banks but I'd guess similar numbers. But there's a finite number of recruiting firms and positions available, and once those slots are filled, say 60-70, you're left with hundreds of people for whom there isn't space at a bank or consulting firm that recruits. Maybe some get jobs purely through networking with firms that don't recruit on campus (as I did), but that still leaves hundreds of people with nothing.

You seem to think that firms recruit at non-Ivies when they've "run out" of qualified people at those schools, but that's just not the case. There's a predetermined number (maybe flexible by 1 or 2 in special cases) that they will take, but after that they simply move on to the next school.

Jul 22, 2011
UFOinsider:

Honestly, any Ivy kid who isn't employed either has some social malfunction, or is an asshole. The alumni from a state school can hook up even the WORST candidate, so I totally fail to see how anyone from Harvard is on the dole.

No sympathy, no excuses, sorry don't want to hear it.

I'm new to this site, and I assumed from your other posts that you were a more serious poster, but this is a load of shit.

I went to an Ivy and I knew kids who ended up at sales jobs at horrible companies. Fact is that the Ivies graduate like what 25k undergrads a year? It's not as if every top job feeds to Ivy students and then to "lower" schools - that's only true of a few industries.

Not many Harvard English Lit majors can waltz into a firm and say "do you know who I am?!" and get a cushy office job. These people end up at Borders or trying to sell shit on Etsy.

Nov 13, 2012

well stop majoring in english lit then, even if it is harvard.

NorthEastIdiot:
UFOinsider:

Honestly, any Ivy kid who isn't employed either has some social malfunction, or is an asshole. The alumni from a state school can hook up even the WORST candidate, so I totally fail to see how anyone from Harvard is on the dole.

No sympathy, no excuses, sorry don't want to hear it.

I'm new to this site, and I assumed from your other posts that you were a more serious poster, but this is a load of shit.

I went to an Ivy and I knew kids who ended up at sales jobs at horrible companies. Fact is that the Ivies graduate like what 25k undergrads a year? It's not as if every top job feeds to Ivy students and then to "lower" schools - that's only true of a few industries.

Not many Harvard English Lit majors can waltz into a firm and say "do you know who I am?!" and get a cushy office job. These people end up at Borders or trying to sell shit on Etsy.

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Jul 21, 2011

^^ that's a ridiculous statement, UFO. Everybody's situations are different and it depends on the individual. Generalizations like yours are worthless.

Jul 22, 2011
Seigniorage:

But the absolute worst are the top-school graduates who are unemployed b/c they feel that they are "too above" taking a low-level job- like a northwestern (I know its not ivy- but close) girl I know personally who has been unemployed for two years.

This sums up my experience with Ivy kids who are unemployed - and I know a few - because they are A) lazy or B) snot nosed asses.

Also, I said unemployed in my original post, seriously, work on the reading comprehension. In all seriousness though, I find it hard to believe that it's anyone's fault but the Ivy student's fault if they end up in a shitty CSR job. How on earth does one go from Princeton to making less than a short order cook?

It's assumed that not everyone can or wants to do IBD, but when I see a Harvard grad working at an ice cream shop (I knew one personally for a while) I KNOW that they are not applying themselves. The majority of people going to these schools have at least average intelligence, and I see failing to take advantage of the opportunity in a very poor light.

I'm merely stating in an aggressive manner what should be painfully obvious: when people from elite schools don't have decent (again, I'm not saying GS TMT) jobs, 99.9999% of the time it's their own fault.

For the record, the majority of people I've ever met from Ivy schools were incredibly competent people, so I'm not contesting that....I just don't buy the line "I studied theoretical math and econometrics at Yale, and now I can't get a job better than groundskeeper"........not one bit.

Jul 22, 2011

....but you're free to believe whatever it is you want.

Jun 22, 2012

Said it before, will say it again.

Smart <> Successful. It doesn't hurt tho

Jun 22, 2012

Fuck HYP undergrads. I know a JD from a third-tier state university who could not land a law gig and is working as a floor manager at a retail outlet. The collection agencies have added so much interest and penalties that they have doubled her student loans from $140 K at the time of graduation to $280 K now. They harass her frequently even though they know that she has no money and has to support 2 kids. She cannot even get rid of her student loans in a bankruptcy. This whole education thing is a fucking rip-off. The universities need to publish relaible placement stats upfront instead of ruining the students' lives.

Nov 13, 2012

i dont feel sorry for people like this. anyone with half a brain should know a JD from a tier-3 school isn't worth the paper its printed on. and on top of that, she took loans of 140K - what was her plan to pay it off? - become a corp lawyer with tier 3 JD (unlikely to happen). if she couldnt even come to that conclusion prior to starting law...i wouldnt hire her to be my lawyer anyways

placement stats? you're one of those ppl that probably thinks gov's create jobs too. no one owes you shit. and that includes universities...welcome to life, junior.

TraderJoe1976:

Fuck HYP undergrads. I know a JD from a third-tier state university who could not land a law gig and is working as a floor manager at a retail outlet. The collection agencies have added so much interest and penalties that they have doubled her student loans from $140 K at the time of graduation to $280 K now. They harass her frequently even though they know that she has no money and has to support 2 kids. She cannot even get rid of her student loans in a bankruptcy. This whole education thing is a fucking rip-off. The universities need to publish relaible placement stats upfront instead of ruining the students' lives.

Oct 27, 2012
UFOinsider:

Honestly, any Ivy kid who isn't employed either has some social malfunction, or is an asshole. The alumni from a state school can hook up even the WORST candidate, so I totally fail to see how anyone from Harvard is on the dole.

No sympathy, no excuses, sorry don't want to hear it.

I graduated from a very respectable top 20 school, and my friend and I were just discussing this possibility. It's pretty classic how the first response is a woman from Harvard who works Macy's salesfloor.

I chose the above quote because it is amazingly ironic. It's pretty insensitive, which is something that might land someone with a reputation for being an asshole. Combine that with the knowledge that so many people most of us know personally who are in positions of power are also assholes, and it makes for an insinuation that, in fact, being an asshole is a must to succeed in the corporate world.

That's why my friend and I sell drugs now. It's better than scrubbing a Macy's salesfloor in order to make some asshole richer.

Oct 29, 2012
CapitalismA+:
UFOinsider:

Honestly, any Ivy kid who isn't employed either has some social malfunction, or is an asshole. The alumni from a state school can hook up even the WORST candidate, so I totally fail to see how anyone from Harvard is on the dole.

No sympathy, no excuses, sorry don't want to hear it.

I graduated from a very respectable top 20 school, and my friend and I were just discussing this possibility. It's pretty classic how the first response is a woman from Harvard who works Macy's salesfloor.

I chose the above quote because it is amazingly ironic. It's pretty insensitive, which is something that might land someone with a reputation for being an asshole. Combine that with the knowledge that so many people most of us know personally who are in positions of power are also assholes, and it makes for an insinuation that, in fact, being an asshole is a must to succeed in the corporate world.

That's why my friend and I sell drugs now. It's better than scrubbing a Macy's salesfloor in order to make some asshole richer.

I see nothing at all ironic about this statement, it's flat out true. Furthermore, I don't give two shits what you think of me and have no use for your approval. Facts are, you don't need perfect grades from the best school to get most jobs....so when someone from an Ivy ends up selling jewelry, it probably has little to do with their education. It's not an issue of sympathy/asshole, it's a function of .....why did this person not line up other work for the 4 years they were in a recruiting environment? Why don't they take advantage of it now? What is it that causes them to accept this low paying job and not try for something else??? People on this site are ridiculous and obsess over a small spectrum of jobs in one industry, but realistically, most jobs AREN'T that hard to get. You just have to be persistent, show up, and don't be stupid.

If you think that being a drug dealer is going to ultimately land you a better life than other employment, I don't know what to tell you. Ultimately, it's a low paying job in a highly saturated market and the 'players' typically end up shot/jaild/both over the long term. Short term, maybe it's different. Good luck with that.

Oct 29, 2012

I know someone who sells jewelry at a department store; she makes more money than most analysts do.

Sep 8, 2013
holla_back:

I know someone who sells jewelry at a department store; she makes more money than most analysts do.

To your point, there are a lot of ways to make money.

Oct 29, 2012

I know a hooker. She makes a LOT more money than most MDs do.

Oct 29, 2012

B b bb but Goldman, Barclays, and the other banks only took like twelve students EACH!! What are the rest of us supposed to do??

"That dude is so haole, he don't even have any breath left."

Oct 29, 2012

Knew a guy who went to Cornell and ended up driving a truck. Was a case of picking up a major that is not very marketable and failure to apply himself.

Oct 29, 2012

Think about something for me. The people on an Ivy League admissions committee are usually people from that school who can't find jobs elsewhere and come from pretty obscure majors. They're the ones who apply for the jobs in admissions anyway though. And you think that the people these idiots choose to admit make for better human beings than the rest of the world? A bunch of toolish Philosophy majors whose two job offers were Princeton Admissions and Starbucks Barista don't make the distinction between who's Ivy League caliber and who's not, even if they make the admission choices. I hate the "Ivy League" tag people feel actually means something.

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Oct 30, 2012

What ufoinsider said in this thread is completely wrong. I have many friends that were unable to secure an employment and had to resort to grad school soon after graduation. Most of my friends in this group are attending law schools now.

A close friend of mine is working as a SAT instructor now. Princeton class of 2011. Political science major. Don't know his exact gpa, but I heard it was somewhere in low 3's. Don't know exactly how my friend approached his job search for last year or so since graduation, but he told me that only jobs he could find so far were sales jobs, as in retail sales or insurance sales. And, I knew countless others who were unable to land any white collar entry level job at all, despite having Ivy diplomas. I am not talking about getting an analyst position at Goldman or McKinsey. I'm talking about a 50k/yr entry level white collar office job.

In this economy, I would say that a humanities degree even from HYP, unless combined with top gpa, doesn't do much good for employment. I was an econ major and I graduated without a job offer, mainly due to low gpa... but fortunately I managed to get an offer soon after graduation, although it wasn't the type of job I desired the most.

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Nov 2, 2012
IvyGrad:

What ufoinsider said in this thread is completely wrong. I have many friends that were unable to secure an employment and had to resort to grad school soon after graduation. Most of my friends in this group are attending law schools now.

A close friend of mine is working as a SAT instructor now. Princeton class of 2011. Political science major. Don't know his exact gpa, but I heard it was somewhere in low 3's. Don't know exactly how my friend approached his job search for last year or so since graduation, but he told me that only jobs he could find so far were sales jobs, as in retail sales or insurance sales. And, I knew countless others who were unable to land any white collar entry level job at all, despite having Ivy diplomas. I am not talking about getting an analyst position at Goldman or McKinsey. I'm talking about a 50k/yr entry level white collar office job.

In this economy, I would say that a humanities degree even from HYP, unless combined with top gpa, doesn't do much good for employment. I was an econ major and I graduated without a job offer, mainly due to low gpa... but fortunately I managed to get an offer soon after graduation, although it wasn't the type of job I desired the most.

thank you for the reality check.

Nov 2, 2012

Bottom line now is it's difficult to find a job period, forget about in banking, consulting, corp finance, etc. People on this site have a very warped view. I went to non target state school in NE and was applying to be a night stocker at Lowes and a pizza delivery guy before I landed this job through an alumnus. It's absolutely conceivable that an Ivy grad with a humanities degree could be working a bullshit retail job at the mall. Whenever any of you monkeys get angry that you're not working at KKR, GS TMT, etc just remember it could be a LOT worse.

Nov 3, 2012

Why such an infatuation with the Ivy League grads or students? It's pretty sad and idiotic to create a thread wondering if unemployed Ivy grads exist.

What's even more comical are claims from non targets getting FO positions. Do you the math, no one believes you. You're working MO or BO and you're only angle is an MBA. Keep playing the lottery.

Sep 9, 2013

There are plenty of non-targets in FO positions. Probably 15-25% of my analyst class comes from a school that most here would describe as non-target or semi-target, at best. You seem bitter.

Nov 5, 2012

You guys are all ridiculous. You go to college to become a more knowledgeable/learned individual and gain a strong skillset (critical thinking and analytical skills) that will be transferrable to any post-graduation endeavor, not just to get a better job.

Very few people strike out at Harvard OCR. You are much worse off at NYU Stern or Michigan Ross where everyone is fighting tooth and nail for banking and consulting jobs/internships. There are a lot of Harvard grads who are more interested in medical school, public health, journalism, teaching, academia, fine arts, etc. than finance. This applies to all the Ivies, Stanford, MIT, Duke, UChicago, etc.

There are some people who go to college just for the sake of learning. Being surrounded by the most brilliant minds in your generation and being taught by world-renowned professors are what Harvard students are paying $200K for, not the banking and consulting OCR.

Harvard would be the same quality institution even if no bulge bracket bank or consulting firm showed up for OCR.

Nov 12, 2012
eldiablo4857:

Harvard would be the same quality institution even if no bulge bracket bank or consulting firm showed up for OCR.

Oh please, don't be naive.

Nov 12, 2012

As a recent Harvard grad, I have seen many of my classmates struggle post-graduation. Thing is, many of them come from families with means so rather than work low-level service jobs, they just live/travel on their parents' dime.

Nov 13, 2012

Yep, I knew someone like that - me. Not Ivy, but an Ivy-equivalent target. The only offer I had was from a PR firm doing a graduate internship. Salary: 30k. for NYC.

Thankfully eventually got an offer, but I know I wasn't the only one. I had some friends who graduated and were working shitty jobs just to buy time/pay the bills while still gunning for finance/consulting/tech.

Currently: future psychiatrist (med school =P)
Previously: investor relations (top consulting firm), M&A consulting (Big 4), M&A banking (MM)

Sep 9, 2013

I posted the "graduated from a top target and still unemployed thread" last week, so case in point, but I haven't given up or anything. I don't know what it'll look like in a year or further down the road, but I do know a lot of people still looking for jobs. It's not exactly something people publicize though.

Oh and as finance/consulting-oriented as my school was, a ton of people have no interest in either field. Lots of people in some of the softer majors working odd jobs.

May 14, 2015

Yes, I am a Brown graduate who started Medical School, never having finished. I have had only a customer-service job(for three years)since leaving school over 20 years ago.

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Dec 20, 2017

They choose to be poor and unemployed because they think that their degree makes them feel like most jobs people get are beneath them. Bad mindset.

Dec 20, 2017

If you have to work a crap job for a short time, corporate security guard is the best. Paid to study and hang out in the office and made some great contacts. Both of a professional nature and a personal one.

MSFS Incoming Intern

Dec 20, 2017

Usually the people who spend their time partying enough to get terrible GPAs are pretty well-connected/privileged so it doesn't make a real difference.

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Dec 20, 2017
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Dec 20, 2017