Everyone Can Find Smart People…Interesting People, Now That's Another Thing

I listed yesterday to the program on the local NPR station here called “How Colleges and Universities Are Ranked” because my school’s college counselor was one of the four guests, along with the prez of Reed College, a guy from US News and World Report, and the editor of Washington Monthly. My high school always manages to get some good press. A couple months ago a front page article on the NY Times included one accompanying photograph – one of my college counselor and a student.

The program was mostly same old same old if you’ve follow debacle that always ensues after the US News and World Report college rankings are released each year. Most people say they contribute to the increased levels of stress amongst students and parents and that it promotes poor behavior among colleges trying to boost their ranking. One listener called into the program and commented that as a Silicon Valley recruiter he won’t even talk to someone who didn’t attend one of the top few schools on the rankings. Another person called in and responded saying that the rankings are a reliable indicator of where smart kids are, but interesting people, now that’s another thing. For a lot of professions, if you are smart but not interesting, you won’t go anywhere.

In my experiences as an entrepreneur working with others in the business world, I often come across people who have their undergrad and MBA or PhD from some worldly institution. They are almost always reliably smart. But it’s usually those really interesting guys, the folks that stand out in your mind who could deliver the “aha” or the person you could talk to for hours without ever wanting to leave, who attended XYZ University in Anywhere, USA.

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