This has absolutely nothing to do with the GMAT, MBA admissions, or GMAT tutoring. Just warning you. I was wandering around NYC with some visiting friends this weekend, and we decided that it would be fun to take them to Strand Bookstore, which is one of my favorite places in New York. Eighteen miles of books (supposedly), many of which are piled on sidewalk carts for $1 each. If you're from somewhere else and you come to NYC, the store is worth a visit.
My bizarre little $1 treasure for today was tattered paperback copy of The Insiders' Guide to the Colleges, written by The Yale Daily News in 1975, long before college rankings became such a huge national obsession. I was curious to see how top schools were perceived more than three decades ago.
I'm not sure that I learned all that much, but I had a good laugh. The writers are snobby and snarky, and definitely have some Ivy League bias.
I reflexively opened to their commentary on Stanford, my alma mater: "There is a certain trendiness in the air which often stifles any serious attempt to approach an academic problem. The school's California provincialism can be extremely irritating.
"One manifestation of the student body's provincialism is their penchant for calling the school 'the Harvard and Yale of the West,' or even for terming Harvard and Yale 'the Stanfords of the East.' The analogies simply aren't true.
"...There are also a huge number of students who only care about getting good grades... and another, almost equally large percentage who aren't really interested in doing anything.... If you want the best education (and the most heterogeneous student body) available anywhere in the country, look to the Ivies."
Lest they be accused of east-coast bias, the goofballs who wrote this book crapped all over plenty of other schools. In their commentary on Tufts, they said this: "Everybody knows, of course, that it is the goal of most high school students in the Northeast to go to college in Boston. That way you can get a lot of hippie, loose-moraled girls if you are a guy, or a lot of radical committed free guys if you are a girl... and you can get a good deal of dope to tide you over the bad times."
Fordham: "Fordham University is a Roman Catholic institution, and therein lies its problem." (!!)
Davidson: "The fact is, many of the students have never been north of the Mason-Dixon line, and occasionally those in the administration and faculty act as if they haven't either--and what's more, they don't care."
Harvard: "The college atmosphere sometimes seems to ruin those personalities that weren't warped to begin with."
Columbia: "...Columbia is unbeatable. But the decision whether to take that beating should be made very carefully."
Hilarious, right? Of course, the Yale dorks who wrote the book included a glowing four-page review of Yale itself. Not exactly an unbiased piece of writing, but highly entertaining. I'd love to see somebody write a similar book about MBA programs now--can you imagine the lawsuits?