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Do I really need to describe this? We all know what’s happening on college campuses. Whining, coddled, over-sensitive little brats demanding this and that, weeping over emails, that sort of thing.
And one of the more popular responses is — at least from folks who are roughly aligned with our point of view — Hey, those kids are in for a rude awakening and Who on earth is going to hire those entitled brats?
May I offer a slightly different interpretation?
What skills are on display, on Yale’s Cross Campus and University of Missouri’s quad? Yes, yes: emotional displays of silliness, thuggish disregard for free speech, and open debate. Okay, stipulated.
But there are also some pretty impressive skills being deployed here. At the University of Missouri, the whole nonsense erupted because certain football players refused to play ball unless certain conditions (and those conditions kept sliding) we met — in other words, they leveraged their capital (football makes a lot of money) and made a large institution bend to their will. A university president was essentially dismissed. The campus has come under the indirect control of a smallish group of powerful students.
At Yale, a group of students has exploited their overseers’ weak and pathetic need to appear “inclusive” and “nurturing” and “safe.” We’ve all seen the pictures: thoughtful and intellectually accomplished professors and administrators begging their charges for forgiveness, covering themselves in shame and remorse, confessing to all sorts of crimes and shortcomings.
Again: pretty impressive for a group of students at one of the most elite universities in the world. Think of the exams they’ve been able to get cancelled! Think of the late term papers that won’t be penalized!
Let’s total up the life skills on display here: 1. brilliant use of financial leverage; 2. exploiting an opponent’s weakness and cowardice; 3. remorselessly demanding that heads roll; 4. and here’s the best one: Doing it all on someone else’s dime!
I don’t know about you, but those seem like some pretty impressive life and business skills. I don’t know about you, but if I were a college recruiter from, say, Goldman Sachs, I’d have to say that these are exactly the skills I’m looking for.
Economics, financial statistics, that sort of thing you can learn in a webinar. But an instinct for blood and power? That’s some powerful innate stuff right there.
My advice? Hire those brats. Hire them at Goldman and JP Morgan Chase and Cravath. Pay them really well the first year in order to get them hooked on being members of the power elite — there’s nothing that shakes off progressive ideology like a fat end-of-year bonus — and watch those killer instincts go into motion.
Just make sure to stay on their good side. You wouldn’t like to see them angry.