I am suspicious of the heavy-handed emphasis placed by Wall Street interviewers on “smartness” (cover story, Sept. 23). Surely, students who apply for these jobs are no more intelligent than those who apply to graduate schools or who choose to go into the professions. Rather, it seems that this ostentatious stress on “smartness” is designed to appeal to big heads. What these corporations are looking for is the right sort of person, someone with a big-enough ego to remain daringly aggressive in a dicey world. This high opinion of oneself must be massaged constantly.
Let us remember, too, that there are thousands of super-bright people graduating from “lesser” colleges every year. The fact that applicants are drawn from only a few elite colleges is due less to the quality of the education they offer than to a thriving “old-boy” network.