Shimon Rura ’03 has more thoughts on the Williams alumni network. He asks:

Would anyone claim that, in contemporary America, a very small system of cronies (old boy network) could be as influential a force in a zillion new industries as it is in finance?

Rura misunderstands what the alumni network is. There is “no small system of cronies” — or I, at least, haven’t gotten an invitation to join up yet. The benefit of being an Eph consists of three main parts:

First, the people who make decisions about hiring and admissions in elite businesses/schools all around the country know, for the most part, that Williams students are, on average, of Ivy League quality.

Second, there are hundreds of Ephs that have signed up with OCS to be career advisers (although that may not be the correct title). These are self-selected alums (I am one) who are happy to be contacted by other Ephs looking to break into and/or advance in a specific field or geographic region. I would urge Rura to contact the folks in his area.

Third, the vast majority of Ephs, even those who don’t sign up with OCS, are eager to help out a fellow Purple Cow. Although that sentiment isn’t unique to Williams (most college graduates are happy to help out fellow alums), it’s been my experience that your typical Williams graduate is more predisposed to look out for fellow Ephs than your typical Harvard graduate. Purple blood runs thicker than Crimson, or something along those lines.

The correct way to think about the original question — Is Williams too anonymous? — is to compare Rura’s (hypothetical) outcomes in terms of admissions/careers if he had gone to a different, presumably more famous, school with his actual outcomes having gone to Williams. Of course, this is difficult to do since Rura would have ended up as a different person if he had gone to, say, Princeton, instead. But, for the most part, his “surprisingly unsuccessful attempt to get into some huge science/engineering schools outside New England” would probably not have turned out any differently, I would guess.

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