Seniors at Yale have a secret enemy. It is a Yale-sponsored foe that lives in our computers. You even need a special password to visit it.
Its name is MonsterTrak. (You’d think such a name would give away its blatantly evil intentions).
Every year, hundreds of us who haven’t already decided on graduate school begin the year wondering what we should do with this expensive liberal arts education of ours. Should we take the LSAT in October? Should we just start surfing the Internet for interesting companies? Before we even decide on a path, our problems are solved: the On-Campus Interview Program has come to town. Wow, we are lucky here at Yale.
The justifications for selling out start rolling in. What else am I going to do? It’s just two years, and then I can go to business school. I have always wanted to live in New York City. How else will I support the lifestyle I’ve always had without Mom and Dad? Even seniors who don’t want to work for an investment bank or a consulting firm decide to submit a few resumes here and there. What’s the harm? After all, a career could be just one click away.
The harm is this: some of our most interesting, intelligent classmates, brimming with potential, will interview at McKinsey or Morgan Stanley just to see what happens. The worst part is that they’ll get an offer because they are amazing people and great students. They’ll have an opportunity to make boatloads of money at one of the most prestigious firms in the country. Who can pass that up? And so their talents are lost. They become just another calculator: replaceable, interchangeable, and successful. Who knows what they could have been.
Students who turn to MonsterTrak because they don’t know what else to pursue differ from those who have always loved economics and enjoy working in finance. If MonsterTrak didn’t exist, these Yalies would still apply for and get offered these jobs because it is what their hearts desire, just as students who love writing find jobs in journalism without the help of on-campus interviewing. MonsterTrak, by totally simplifying the job search, is channeling the mass of bewildered seniors into only two fields.
The competitiveness that develops among friends is the most disturbing part of this whole grotesque practice. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I am not still in high school waiting to hear which colleges have accepted me. People are constantly keeping tabs on who got interviews where, how many they got, and what their connection is. I’m surprised that half of the senior class hasn’t checked into Mental Health, convinced that their futures are ruined after a few lousy rejections.
Most of us are looking for a happy medium between the corporate life and the Peace Corps. We want to “make a difference.” After all, did we attend Yale so we can work only with Yale, Harvard and Princeton grads, making rich people richer? The fact is that Yale graduates live all over the world and have thousands of jobs not listed on MonsterTrak. What I want to know is, where are they? Who are they? Yale needs to publish a list of alumni who voluntarily give out their career and contact information so we can figure out what exactly is out there and how we can do it. They should come to Yale, tell us what they did for the first few years after college, calm our fears and give us a little advice. Somebody needs to help us escape the Monster.
Bates Gregory is a senior in Branford College.