Yes, you can go to HARVARD and still end up in McDonald’s!

by Sam Dogen

We only hear about the famous people who went to Harvard.

You know, people like the 43rd POTUS George W. Bush, the “inventor” of the internet Al Gore, Chairman of the Fed Ben Bernanke, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Academy Award winner, actress Natalie Portman, former First Lady Michelle Obama, the 35th POTUS John F Kennedy, unabomber Ted Kacznski and NBA basketball player Jeremy Lin, and so on.

But what about the thousands of graduating alumni Harvard spits out every year?

What do they do?

When I worked at Goldman Sachs in NYC, we routinely rejected kids from Harvard, Princeton, Yale, and so forth.

It was a funny experience, because I didn’t go to an elite private school, and probably never would have been able to get in.

But the reasons why we rejected a lot of these Harvard graduates was largely due to fit. There are some really socially awkward, uncharismatic, uninteresting people you don’t want to sit next to for 12 hours a day!

Also, each company wants to hire graduates from a wide variety of different schools. Therefore, if you go to Harvard, you will have a much harder time competing for a top spot.

Your baseline expectation is so elevated, you may end up becoming perpetually miserable, especially when you end up doing the same job as non-elite school graduates.

After all, you went to Harvard — more is expected from you!

Through a semi-random sampling of LinkedIn profiles online, you’ll see that most Harvard graduates end up doing exactly what everybody else is doing in society, which includes flipping burgers, driving a cab, serving coffee, cleaning bathrooms, starting companies, working at big corporations, flaming out, and so forth.

You’ll also see the only time going to Harvard University matters to the student and the proud parent is when the student is at Harvard.

Once you graduate, it’s all about what you can do on the job or at your startup that counts. After several years of work, nobody gives a damn about your college degree anymore.

And if you start telling everyone you went to Harvard, the expectation is that you should be doing something great, but usually that’s not the case.

If you really believe in your abilities, as all Harvard and similar type of college graduates do, then you should highly consider entrepreneurship. With entrepreneurship, there is NOWHERE to hide. You either succeed or fail.

I decided after 13 years in banking to see if I could make a livable income stream online because I wanted to be free from the binds of Corporate America life. With internet 2.0, I knew I’d regret as an old man if I didn’t try to do something on my own.

What I learned about entrepreneurship since starting Financial Samurai in 2009 is that CONSISTENCY and HUSTLE are the two most important factors in becoming successful, NOT brains. The next most important attribute for entrepreneurship is LIKABILITY. Will you and your product be likable enough to digest.

You have to have the ability to not hit the snooze button and get up immediately at 5am to work. You have to stick to your process to give yourself a chance to succeed.

Way too many folks give up before the good gets going.


Sam Dogen is the founder of, a business and entrepreneurship website where thousands of readers all over the world come seeking to achieve financial freedom.

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