The Great Meritocracy

USA Today is running an article on the power of the Harvard University brand. Here’s what I find interesting.

According to research from the University of Pennsylvania, the percentage of top executives at Fortune 100 companies who were Ivy League undergrads dropped from 14% to 10% from 1980 to 2001.

I wonder how many Ivy Leaguers we have in the ad ranks. One thing I’ve always enjoyed about this profession is the fact it matters not where you went to school. Sure, if you hope to be an art director someday, a degree from Parsons (an Ivy of the art world) is a great head start. But it’s not a prerequisite.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. In 8 years in the business, I’ve met one Ivy-Leaguer. She’s an Account Supervisor.
    A lot of Harvard grads go on to Hollywood to write sitcoms and other assorted crapola, believe it or not.

  2. Given that TV writers make ten times what a copywriter makes, I can believe it.

  3. Carl LaFong says:

    What? You mean there’s a TV writer making $60,000?