What Meritocracy?

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on November 3, 2011

To the extent that we still have one, it is dying, as Luigi Zingales points out. Read the whole thing for an explanation on how and why meritocracy is going the way of the dodo, why it’s scary for the United States to lose the meritocratic ideal, and how it can best be preserved (hint: By implementing policies that the Obama Administration and Congressional Democrats won’t like, which means that meritocracy is not going to receive a lifeline anytime soon).

Incidentally, I was absolutely shocked to read that for the past eleven years, University of Chicago Business School students have not had to reveal their grades to recruiters (I assume that the vote not to do so was a binding one; someone can correct me if I am wrong). I have no doubt that the majority of business school students are excellent ones, as are the majority of University of Chicago students in general (“Themistocles, Thucydides, Peloponnesian War!” etc.), but if I ran a business and recruited from business schools, I would make it a policy not to recruit any students who refused to show their grades. To be sure, grades should not be the sole determinant of whether one gets a job, but how else are recruiters supposed to know whether a candidate has done well enough in school to merit consideration for a position?

  • Acad Ronin

    A friend who teaches at one of the leading business schools in the US, one fully on a par with Booth/Chicago, mentioned that his school too the MBAs have maintained grade non-disclosure for some time. At his school, students may report honors though. Thus the top 20% can signal that they are in the Top 10% or in the 10th-20th percentile. This means that the bottom half of the class has bought their protection at the expense of the students in the 79-50th percentile.

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