The Harvard Experience, Part II. Paul starts off by sharing the difficulties he experienced entering such a privileged environment. He remembers how many of the posh set had fancy tuxedos and $500 cap-toe shoes for the occasional black-tie soiree, while he had to scrounge for a rental. Dinners out, club dues, fancy holidaying – all hard to manage on financial aid and a job at the library. Inequality: one of the darkest themes at this esteemed university. Out of the classroom there were many ways in which Harvard students displayed status, with a membership in a Final Club perhaps the most visible. The A.D., the Fox, the Fly, the Porcellian, the Phoenix and the Spee – these were the clubs a lot of guys wanted to find themselves at on a Saturday night, surrounded by the school’s PYT’s (pretty young things). Paul discusses the almost mythical promise the Porc (as the Porcellian is known) holds out to members: $1,000,000 in cash if they haven’t “made it” by 35 years of age. Next, Paul touches on a little-discussed aspect of a Harvard education: the cover-up. Paul reveals how many guys he knew stumbled through school but eventually graduated, with the Harvard seal of approval. The stories he could tell – but won’t – about guys who occupy positions of authority at hospitals, investment banks, and law firms! Circling back to The Social Network, the guys discuss Harvard’s near-paranoid protection of its “visual brand.” No filming on campus and no cooperation with Hollywood – at the most iconic university in the country. Amazing! After touching on another dark chapter in the university’s history – the Jewish quota, introduced by President Lowell – the guys move on to the legacy of a Harvard education: expectations. Paul admits that he often lives in the shadow of his Harvard days, measuring his progress against other graduates and the stratospheric expectations others have of Harvard.

  • Miguel

    Really enjoyed these last 2 episodes on Harvard and how it compares to other institutions (like RADA ect).. here´s an interesting article I stumbled across https://brainsize.wordpress.com/2014/07/12/the-iqs-of-academic-elites/

    • Glad you liked them, Miguel. Read the article on IQ – interesting. IQ is important, but work ethic really is the defining contributor to success from what I’ve seen.

      Hope you’re loving Malaga!

      Paul

  • Jaydeep

    Paul,

    After all these years after graduation, do you feel that the friends you made in your time at Harvard see status differently as they did when they were at Harvard, when they were in the 1st quarter of life? Does how much money you make, which post you hold still have the same importance in their relationships or do they grow out of it?

    As the saying goes, self-perceived perfection rarely make good friends, considering the range of people you both come across, is there a trend on relationship skills between people who do or don’t graduate from elite schools?

    Enjoyed this talk.

    Cheers!

    -J

    • Paul Janka

      Well, Jaydeep… I don’t want to generalise, but I will say that for many of my successful male friends from Harvard, there’s a renewed appreciation of friendship as they enter their 40’s. I’m in more touch now that I was, say, five years ago. The 30’s were consumed building big careers, but many of my buddies now realize that without connection to those primary male relationships, life is not as bright.

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