On Friday, while driving north to compete in the marathon, I listened to the 800CEOread podcast interview with the author of the book: How Starbucks Saved My Life - A Son of Privilege Learns to Live Like Everyone Else. I found the interview with author Michale Gates Gill interesting for two basic reasons:
- The author reviews Starbucks leadership / management strategy, and specifically both employees and customers are important at Starbucks. All companies say this is true (i.e. both are important), but Starbucks lives and keeps this faith. If you are a manager, you should listen to this podcast soley for this reason.
- As an Ivy League graduate (Dartmouth) who did not come from a privileged background, I was intrigued how the author (a Yale graduate) had had everything handed to him in life, including jobs and promotions.
Expanding upon the second point (i.e. privilege). , Thursday I will take my son to visit Boston area engineering schools. Back in the mid 70's while at Dartmouth, a young man (i.e. me) actually changed his career goals given his perception of privilege. Although I had planned on a career in government (political science major, math minor), it became obvious that my school friends who were from "connected" East Coast families would get job offers about which I could only dream. While I believed in myself, I also was pragmatic and realized my family's roots in northern Minnesota and Central Iowa would not open any doors. Instead I used my math and programming skills to refocus my career aspirations where "privilege" did not play as important a role. I've enjoyed my technical career immensely, and have no regrets. Thus, Dartmouth gave the naive young man from northern Minnesota more of an education than he had expected.
My question in 2007, have the Ivy League schools changed? I don't know the answer to this question. The cost of attending these schools is just under $50k per year. Given that a family like my own has trouble getting scholarship money (i.e. middle class), are the Ivies worth the price? If one attends a good school in the Midwest, the annual cost is around $30k. In addition, each of my children have earned academic and music scholarships which brings down the cost considerably below the $30k figure.
Oh well, Erik and I are visiting two engineering schools, including Olin School of Engineering which gives scholarships to every student. Dartmouth's Thayer School of Engineering is not even on our visit list!