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Is there a clear bias against entrepreneurs who are not associated with an Ivy League University?

It's been said,observed,experienced time and again that there is a clear bias against entrepreneurs who don't hail from an Ivy League fraternity.But doesn't that defeat the entire idea of entrepreneurship which depends on an individual's ability to build a sustainable business over a brilliant product or service idea than on the fraternity an individual belongs to.I have experienced this bias a lot when I see mediocrity getting endorsed on the notion of it emanating from the corridors of some Ivy League University.Most of the funding activity or acceptance to elite accelerator seem to be some examples where this philosophy seems to be cultivating.No matter how much 21st century world order stresses on different facets of meritocracy there definitely exists a partial approach when it comes to selecting entrepreneurs who don't hail from Ivy League but are seemingly brilliant.The excellence of the mind does not depend on an Ivy League stamp.R.N.Tagore was never formally schooled but went on to write such brilliant literary stuff that won him a Nobel.If this conception continues the world might lose out on some bright entrepreneurs who could have changed history forever with their innovations.History has shown that entrepreneurs like Dheerubhai Ambani, George Soros devoid of a link to any Ivy League fraternity still managed to build multi billion dollar businesses on the basis of sheer intelligence and rock solid determination to succeed.

I am sure people would agree.

24 Replies

Andy Leventhal
6
0
Andy Leventhal Advisor
Angel Investor, Advisor and Strategy at Leventhal Advisors
Having been an entrepreneur for nearly 25 years, and not from an Ivy League school, I can assure you that Silicon Valley funding sources look for team, technology and markets to place their bets. I don't think the school you came from is nearly as important as these other factors.
Sudeep Bhatnagar
0
0
Sudeep Bhatnagar Entrepreneur
Developing iOS and Android Apps for Start-ups & Entrepreneurs, Mobile development consultant
Although I agree much with your observation in terms of biased against non-ivy-non-premium, I still don't think it can do any harm as you say -If this conception continues the world might lose out on some bright entrepreneurs who could have changed history forever with their innovations. -I don't agree with this, why?

Because you only say this -History has shown that entrepreneurs like Dheerubhai Ambani, George Soros devoid of a link to any Ivy League fraternity still managed to build multi billion dollar businesses on the basis of sheer intelligence and rock solid determination to succeed.

So, no matter whether investors are partial towards one set ofentrepreneursor not, the one who has determination, intelligence, and vision will succeed. Don't lose heart.

Secondly, this whole idea of relying only on investors capital from day 1 sounds bullish to me; the best investment you can earn is from the customers who actually use your product, no matter how small it is and when you have a loyal customer base, the same investors would come to you impartially mostly...instagram and whatsapp are big known example for this
Regulus fosso
0
1
Regulus fosso Entrepreneur
Student at Varsity College

It needs to be emphasized that Ivy league accept potential students based on their designed criteria. This is to straight out that Ivy league don't make people good entrepreneurs but they rather choose people who are already brilliant. So I think because they admit people based on their designed criteria, they missed out people who think differently.

Divergence is what makes entrepreneurship such a complexe and unpredictable field. Borne entrepreneurs don't need Ivy league but any institutions that can stimulate their entrepreneurial spirit.

Ben Sweat
5
0
Ben Sweat Entrepreneur
Director, Product at Idealab
The answer is a big no. If there was any place where your degree didn't matter, it's in entrepreneurship. Besides your profile says you are a Stanford GSB grad so not sure what the problem is. That would seem to mitigate whatever Ivy League bias there may be. (An Ivy League degree certainly helps get you a job, but that's not what we're talking about here.)

But I'm not sure I understand the question really. It seems more of a rant than a question. And I say that in the most non-inflammatory way possible.
George Lambert
0
0
George Lambert Advisor
Interim CTO - CTO's for Hire
In Recent (2 weeks ago) conversation with VC's in Boston - they clearly stated that Personal introductions and referrals are the key to having someone review a proposal. They like to work with or get referrals from people that they know and trust, so I don't believe it is as much an Ivy League issue as a personal networking issue.

I think that a history of technical, finance, and sales experience counts for more than the "Ivy League" status once you get past the gatekeepers, but doing that is much easier with established school references. If you lack these, engage someone who has them. By business partner went to Babson - so he keeps his alumni directory handy when he wants introductions. He tried to connect with anyone in that book as a starting point to get his foot in the door.
George Lambert
0
0
George Lambert Advisor
Interim CTO - CTO's for Hire
In Recent (2 weeks ago) conversation with VC's in Boston - they clearly stated that Personal introductions and referrals are the key to having someone review a proposal. They like to work with or get referrals from people that they know and trust, so I don't believe it is as much an Ivy League issue as a personal networking issue. I think that a history of technical, finance, and sales experience counts for more than the "Ivy League" status once you get past the gatekeepers, but doing that is much easier with established school references. If you lack these, engage someone who has them. By business partner went to Babson - so he keeps his alumni directory handy when he wants introductions. He tried to connect with anyone in that book as a starting point to get his foot in the door.
Julien Fruchier
2
0
Julien Fruchier Entrepreneur
Founder at Republic of Change
As an entrepreneur who didn't attend an Ivy league school:
  • Who cares? "Entrepreneur" is another word for resourceful. If you're resourceful, a bias is almost a dare.
  • It's not accurate. As @Andy pointed out above, adding to @Andy's list above of what investors look for, I would say they look for evidence of hustle, creativity and leadership potential well ahead of resume or school.
  • I couldn't agree more with @Sudeep about "this whole idea of relying only on investors capital from day 1". There are two opposing approaches: 1) you hustle to raise money (a crutch) and rush to prove yourself right (hard to do) or 2) you prove yourself right and you attract money without effort. Unfortunately, our culture values shortcuts too much to give #2 serious consideration. However, that's what makes them stand out.
Gary May
0
0
Gary May Advisor
Founder and President of Interactive Marketing and Consulting Services (IM@CS)
Thank you for your email. Travel on Wednesday and Thursday to Canada has my access to phone and email limited. All email and phone calls will be returned by Friday at the latest. Thank you for your understanding. Best regards, Gary
Gary May
0
0
Gary May Advisor
Founder and President of Interactive Marketing and Consulting Services (IM@CS)
Thank you for your email. Travel on Wednesday and Thursday to Canada has my access to phone and email limited. All email and phone calls will be returned by Friday at the latest. Thank you for your understanding. Best regards, Gary
Tyrone Thomas Jr.
0
0
Tyrone Thomas Jr. Entrepreneur
Director of Marketing at King Solomon's Secrets Inc.
That is also the the experience that I have encountered with several past and present projects. I understand the concept that investors want strong teams to execute a new business startup, but how is a person without sufficient startup capital to get to the level of attracting strong team members without getting an investor. Most of them will not even entertain the the business as viable venture without having what they consider a strong team and most strong team members want funding in place before coming on board.
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