Her parents had been firmly American middle class and she’d managed to get into Harvard based on an outstanding high school track record. She’d blazed through her four years there before heading off to NYU to get her law degree. A year into her law career at a large NYC firm, she’d “pulled the trigger.” It became clear to her that the path she had in front of her spending the next decade of her life to pay off over $200,000 in student debt from undergrad and law school wasn’t the future she’d imagined. So she’d bought a one way plane ticket to South American and hadn’t been back.
I was speaking with the founder of a software company at a startup event last year. Walking to the after party, she paused to make sure no one was nearby, and leaned in to whisper, “I have a MBA.”
“Yea, I don’t really talk about it. We got turned down for funding twice because both my cofounder and I have MBAs.”
The cost of credentials is rising. Tuition is getting more and more expensive at the same time as the value of the degree is falling. In a world where competence was scarce and information was opaque, credentials were valuable. In a world where competence is abundant and information is transparent, they care what you’ve done.
But have a look at a typically deep essay ‘After Credentials‘, from Paul Graham. As he says, you can try and make credentials more fit for purpose, but surely the better option is as follows:
Instead of trying to make credentials harder to hack, we can also make them matter less.
Royal Colleges, watch out. Amen.