Is your career doomed if you don’t go to Yale -- or the other schools on the FBI’s college admission bribery list?

We’ve read in recent days about the astounding amounts of money that some wealthy parents paid in bribes and other fraudulent activity so that their children could attend schools that would make these parents proud. 

But when the brazenness of such scheming is set aside, we are left wondering:  What are the career prospects of students who don’t attend schools like Yale and Georgetown and Stanford, three of the schools that these parents targeted?

So, I took another look at the resumes of the people who “won” my 16 most recent searches for chief executive officer, chief operating officer, chief financial officer, and other senior jobs at great and important mission-driven nonprofits in Washington, DC.  In each search, they typically competed against anywhere from 30 to 75 other applicants.

What I found:  None of the 16 attended the colleges identified in the FBI indictments.  Instead, here’s the list of schools where these accomplished nonprofit executives obtained their bachelor’s degrees.

  • American University

  • Andrews University

  • Lake Forest College

  • Montclair State University

  • Murray State University

  • Occidental College

  • Radford University

  • Tufts University

  • University of Bombay

  • University of California, Santa Barbara

  • University of Massachusetts

  • University of North Carolina, Charlotte

  • University of North Carolina, Greensboro  

  • University of Phoenix

  • University of Richmond

  • University of Virginia

I wonder how many of these schools would have been acceptable to the parents arrested by the FBI – or are acceptable to the thousands of parents who fret too much about where their kids will go to college?  All I know is that the people who were selected by my clients for key leadership jobs have had impressively accomplished careers, and got a good start on this path to success at these disparate colleges.

As many people have said, “It’s not where you go to college that counts. It’s what you do at the school you attend that matters.”

I welcome your comments.