Friday, December 12, 2008
Infinite Connections or Infinite Jest?
Earlier this week, the New York Times reported that laid off investment banker Joshua Persky (the fellow on the right in the photo above) landed a new job several months after becoming famous for handing out resumes in Midtown Manhattan while wearing a sandwich board advertising his job hunt ("After Unusual Hunt, Ex-Banker Lands a Job"). You probably already know that Mr. Persky has landed a new job, since, as Mr. Persky notes on his blog today, his story has been picked up by all sorts of media outlets, including MSNBC, the front page of Yahoo!, etc.
Persky's successful job hunt is an inspiring story of persistence and originality, and that seems to be how most of the media have covered it, but as a cynic, it raises a question for me: What does it say about MIT's alumni network (here is its "Infinite Connections" website) or the prestige of an MIT degree that an MIT alumnus had to resort to such a stunt to find a job? Presumably, one can get an education of similar high-quality at a somewhat less prestigious (and less expensive) school; if the added prestige and connections of an MIT degree are of such little value that an alumnus needs to go to such extraordinary lengths to get a new job, than why pay more to go to MIT?