A mini-screed

By Jason Wojciechowski on November 19, 2004 at 10:48 PM

I just saw this link on Baseball Prospectus's front page. Young math, stat, and econ majors are invited to apply to join baseball front offices, with BP apparently serving as the clearinghouse for the resumes. First of all, when did BP get to be so insider that they're basically the HR department for baseball teams?

More importantly, this phrase upsets me: "If you're about to graduate or have recently graduated from a top university ..." (emphasis added). Is that an "Ivy only" statement? Ivies plus Stanford and Chicago? That baseball isn't requiring their new front office members to be former players any more is commendable. That they're only looking at the usual places where every other company looks for their employees is not so commendable.

It's frustrating, as someone who made a conscious choice not to pursue those top colleges and to go somewhere that fit me better, to see how far a degree from one of these schools still, in this "modern world," will carry a person. How long is it going to be before corporations realize that hiring people on the basis of how well they did in high school isn't necessarily the way to go? Every time someone gets impressed by a listing of Harvard, Stanford, Yale, or Brown on a resume, they're more impressed by that person's high school performance, which got them to that school, than they are by anything that might help them succeed in their chosen place of business.

To make a baseball analogy, it's like getting all excited about a guy who hits well in rookie ball. He must have some skill, because hitting well in rookie ball means you're better than most people who've ever picked up a bat, but it still doesn't mean much at the major league level, just as getting into Chicago shouldn't mean so much at the corporate level.

In fact, to carry the analogy too far (my favorite pasttime), the less-well known schools can be seen as the independent leagues of American business.