What I learned by quitting my “good” job and driving around the country all summer long

15 lessons from cruising the USA on local, two-lane roads for 80 days and 17,000 miles.

Early last summer I left my job at a top strategy consulting firm in Manhattan, my high rise apartment, and what would have been a six figure income had I stayed in consulting for a third year. At the time, a lot of people thought I was crazy, and their skepticism made me wonder if what I was doing was insane. However, three months and seventeen thousand miles later, it seems crazy that I waited so long to do it. I returned to NYC last week after, as one of my college pals put it, “living a lot of life” in the last few months. Here’s what I learned on my journey.

Note: Although I originally wrote this post at the end of September and it was posted on Thought Catalog in October, looking over it again in 2014 I felt compelled to share it with Medium’s community of dreamers.

1. Few people will actually take the leap to make a dream real

I heard it over and over again, from people all over America: “I’ve always wanted to take a trip like yours.” I heard it from farmers, entrepreneurs, investment bankers, and hotel clerks. I heard it from sixty-five year olds, twenty-five years olds, and people all along the spectrum in between. They’d all invented reasons for not going. Financial concerns (I did my entire trip for about $6k); family concerns (you can leave for two months — you’ll be back); career concerns (you don’t even like your job, why are you afraid to leave it?).

Although the leap to make many dreams real isn’t too big, most people will never jump. Be in the minority that does — make the leap.

Grinnell Lake, Glacier National Park

2. All the worrying most people do is baseless — it’s your adventure, not theirs

Had I listened to everyone who said, “you’d be nuts to go to _____, it’s dangerous there!” my trip would have lasted three weeks instead of three months. The warnings came in from all directions — family members, locals with an opinion, the news. Ethanol content in Midwestern gasoline is too high; it’ll kill your motor! Williston, ND is full of murderers and rapists. Detroit is more dangerous than Mexico. Watch out for banditos in Arizona. Southerners will run you New Yorkers off the road. Bad shit happens, but in no way is it likely to happen. It’s important to mitigate obvious risks by traveling with companions, packing the right supplies, and checking weather reports (lest you have a scrape with a flash flood). However, don’t be curtailed by other people’s fears unless they are remarkably well informed (which is rarely the case).

A perch high above Canyonlands National Park in Southern Utah

3. The wealth of protected American land extends far beyond National Parks

Everyone knows about National Parks, the crown jewels of the American conservation movement. Less known are the millions and millions of acres of pristine land preserved in national forests, national monuments (think canyons, not Washington, DC), and recreation areas. Places like Glen Canyon (UT), the Black Hills (SD), and the Sierras (CA). And let’s not forget the additional places protected by state and local governments — for example, the Adirondacks and unadulterated stretches of the Pacific Coast. Any traveler would be remiss to draw the line at National Parks.

Sunrise in Land Between the Lakes National Recreation area on the Tennessee-Kentucky border

4. Starting to live simply is easy; staying simple is hard; but the longer you stay simple, the less you come to need

It’s easy to adapt to having less (especially if you have no alternative); what’s hard is maintaining your simpler life when confronted with the expensive, convenient lifestyles of others — gorgeous houses, comfortable cars, hot water all day everyday. That’s what I meant when, one month ago, I wrote, “starting to live simply is easy. Staying simple is hard.”
I found that the lesson doesn’t end there. It’s not just that staying simple gets easier, but that the simplicity curve is sort of exponential — every consecutive day that you live without creature comforts, the number of comforts you rely on will decrease dramatically. For example: after Day 1, you might realize that you can shower once a day rather than twice. After day 2, you might realize that you can wear the same shorts two days in a row and eat a cold breakfast. After day 3, you might prefer answering emails and text messages just once each day, and eating soup straight from the can is just fine, and one pillow for sleeping is such a luxury (you used to need two). Your ability to adapt accelerates with every consecutive day lived simply.

Waking up in Badlands NP

5. All it takes to really “get away” is 2 or 3 days

“I need at least a week. Anything less and it doesn’t feel like I got away.” That’s what I used to say about vacations. I must have been going to the wrong places, doing the wrong things. Any block of 2 or 3 days from my trip would have been the best two or three days of my post-college years. Anywhere in the country, you’re only a few hours (on two lane roads, of course) and a couple of days from a new adventure.

6. Hypothesis confirmed: two-lane roads > highways

The beauty of any community is in the details — the mom and pop diners and hardware stores; the seventy five square foot post office next to the town pool; the different varieties of recreational vehicles that dot yards all over the country. Those details aren’t visible when you’re going ninety miles per hour in the middle lane of some massive highway. No matter where you’re going, there is usually a two-lane alternative to interstates, and it will almost always weave its way through miles of Americana that highways do not.

You do not get scenes like this on interstate highways

7. Stretches of emptiness abound all across America, and no two are the same

I explored this idea a bit in a post I wrote after one month on the road, and I feel even more strongly about it two months later. The vast majority of America is wide open, and every stretch has characteristics that don’t exist anywhere else. I was most surprised by the high desert in eastern Washington, and the unexpectedly lush mountains and meadows interspersed between red rock deserts in south central Utah.

Country roads in South Dakota

Open road en route to the Grand Canyon’s North Rim in the Arizona Triangle

8. No matter where you are you can find both likeminded and people who seem totally crazy

Back in July, I wrote about the prevalence of Republicans in Colorado, which I wrongly assumed was a hippy state through and through. The lesson I learned from Colorado holds in general: no matter where you are there will always be people whose beliefs fall on either side of the spectrums of politics, religion, and pretty much anything else.

This story sums it up well: I worried for weeks about how Southerners would react to my New York license plates. Yet, when I finally drove through the Deep South in late August and early September, the people I met were nothing but nice. In fact, the only time I was called a Yankee was in the place I least expected it: Portland, Oregon. Are you kidding? I never would have predicted that.

9. On the road, there is strength in numbers

It’s more than the idea that experiences are best when shared with others (though I subscribe to that belief bit time). It’s the idea that testing one’s comfort zone — exploring back roads; swimming, climbing and hiking in unknown places; visiting the rough parts of a new city — is easier in the company of other people. They are a safety net if anything goes wrong, and they will (hopefully) keep you from doing anything too crazy. I would never have driven down as many dead end dirt roads or grabbed a stool at so many local watering holes had I been traveling alone. Maybe I’m weak; but if I’m weak in this sense, then so are most people. Travel with company — you’ll experience so much more.

Lumberyarding in NorCal

10. Confirmed: pickup trucks are the most popular class of automobile in the USA

I’ve always been aware of the sales figures indicating that in the USA pickup trucks outsell every other class of vehicle. However, it’s one thing to say and another thing to see. Beyond the outer rings of our cities, America remains a land of the working man (and woman), and pick up trucks — able to navigate rough roads, weather different climates, and carry heavy tools — are America’s vehicle. I ate at several diners where my Chevy Suburban was the smallest vehicle in the parking lot, dwarfed by F-250s and F-350s.

11. For 99% of people, itinerant living will get old after some number of months (though that number is different for everyone)

Drive down the California coast and you’ll meet people who’ve been traveling their whole lives. I used to think they were enlightened, that they’d found something that would appeal to the rest of us if we would just give it a try. Having given nomadic living a try, however, I learned not that they had found some universal nirvana, but that their tolerance for constant movement is exceptional. Most of us will tire of traveling after a certain point. For me, that point was about two months. Judging from the are you coming home yet’s that I heard over and over again from friends and family after the one month mark, most people would prefer less than that.

RV living on the Oregon coast

12. Nothing gets random people in any bar, anywhere, talking like a road trip

If you ever on the road and want a dose of local culture, ask a local what the most popular bar in town is, go there, and mention to the bar tender that you’re on a road trip. People will line up to hear about your route and what you’ve seen, and they’ll be eager to share their own stories. This happened everywhere: Minnesota, Idaho, California, Louisiana, the list goes on…

13. Life goes on in your absence

When I returned to Manhattan in late September I found that New York City, and my minuscule sphere within it, had persisted unchanged. Friends I hoped would leave the jobs they hated are still in them; most people had a “normal” Summer and were looking forward to a “normal” Fall. Embarking on an adventure will change you. However, while you’re out driving American roads (or cycling around the world like this badass Englishman) everyone you know will continue to live life as usual.

14. As hard as it is for city folks, particularly those from the BosWash corridor (i.e. the Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and DC metro areas), to believe, there are millions of people who want to live as far away from big cities as possible

The distance between towns (and, in some instances, between houses) in places like Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, southern Utah, eastern Washington, and southwestern Kansas is shocking. Nearly every day I passed through a town that made me wonder, out of curiosity, not arrogance, “why would anyone want to live here.” In any one of these towns, most of the residents were born either in town or nearby; they love life for what it is in that slow, simple (in my eyes) place; and no matter how befuddling it might seem (cue the Tupac), “that’s just the way it is.”

15. There will always be more to see

Eighty days on the road seems like forever, but it’s a blink in comparison to the time it would take to really get to know America. Even if I had traveled twenty five percent longer, for a hundred days, I would still have had only two days for every state. It would take a lifetime to really see everything in any one state, let alone the entire country. What a gift: there will always be more to see.

The view from High Dune, 600 feet above the valley floor at Colorado’s (yes, this is Colorado) Great Sand Dunes NP

Thanks for reading! To learn more about my trip, check out my road blog. And, if this article interested you, please take a moment to hit the Recommend button below. Thank you!

Further Reading

Storyteller Steph Bradley on ‘Tales of our Times’, red flipflops and “stuff”

 — Following your dreams, Tales of Our Times, story telling, tales of transition.

Best Way to Get a Job Nobody’s Using…

A common email I get from LinkedIn readers goes something like this:

Dear J.T.,

I’ve applied to 100’s of jobs and aren’t getting any responses. I tailor my resume for each one and send a professional cover letter explaining how my skills meet their requirements, but still, I get nothing. What am I doing wrong?

Their mistake? Doing what everyone else is: going through the job search motions, but not really getting in the game. With that many people competing for the same positions using the exact same marketing approach, no wonder the results are dismal. It’s like running on a treadmill but expecting to end up in a different location – when you’re done you’ve gone nowhere and are left exhausted and unfulfilled.

Want A Job? Prove It!

These days, employers expect you to differentiate yourself from the sea of applicants flooding their inbox. They are blurry-eyed and tired of the same old resume and cover letter where you brag about how great you are. It’s just a bunch of “blah, blah, blah” that goes in one ear and out the other.

What If There Was A Better Way?

There is, and just requires you open up and strategically share your passion. Not only does it feel good, it helps you stand out. Check out these two examples:

1) Shaylean is a about to graduate with a MS in Mechanical Engineering. He’s applied to 500 (yes 500!) jobs, gotten 4 interviews, and no job offers. His problem? The ‘spray-and-pray’ method he is using lacks passion for the companies he’s applying to. See here how he was advised to focus on his passion for automobile manufacturing as a way to show his depth of knowledge and high-level of productivity to get him a job. Read Shaylean’s entire story here.

2) Todd wants a job at Dropbox so badly, he built a webpage and a video to show them his abilities and commitment to the position. He poured some major passion into his application as a way to showcase his capacity to work hard and be creative. See Todd’s video and webpage here.

NOTE: There’s A Difference Between “Passion” & “Fanatical”

Sharing your passion for what a company does and why you think they do it better is one thing. Getting crazy or silly just to grab attention is another. The key is to articulate and provide examples that prove you are a member of the employer’s tribe. It’s not enough to say you are a fan, you need to show that you understand how you will add value – enough value to justify the cost of hiring you. So, make sure that passion is demonstrated through actions that will prove to the employer you can do the job… and then some!

How have readers used passion to get them a job? What tips can you offer to help job seekers enjoy the process of sharing their passion with employers? I’d love to read your comments on this below!

P.S. – First time reading my posts? Thanks for taking the time to stop by! Not only do I write for Linkedin, but I’m also founder of the career advice site, CAREEREALISM,and currently run the career coaching program, CareerHMO. I hope you’ll check them both out!

If you enjoyed reading this article, you may also like:

CAREEREALISM’s Founder, J.T. O’Donnell is a nationally syndicated career expert and workplace consultant who helps American workers of all ages find greater professional satisfaction. Her book,CAREEREALISM: The Smart Approach to a Satisfying Career, outlines her highly successful career-coaching methodology. Purchase her e-book of CAREEREALISM for only $9.95 by clicking here!


Image above by Shutterstock







Posted by:J.T. O'Donnell

I’m From a Small Town

Photo Credit: Encinalense (Wikimedia Commons)

Photo Credit: Encinalense (Wikimedia Commons)

I was born in a small town. Raised in a small town. Listened to Nirvana, and made it my master plan to move to some big awesome city on the west coast. Well, things happen. Or, things didn’t happen. Namely moving to a city on the west coast didn’t happen. Moving to a city period didn’t really happen. And I’m good with that.

Most of my days as a teenager were spent working in tobacco fields, bailing hay, mending fences, and all the other things that small town kids do while daydreaming about life in a bustling metropolis. As a young teenager I wanted nothing more than to forget everything about small town life, and head west to one of those big cities. What I failed to realize was the value of the things I was learning. I’m no prodigious programmer or multimillionaire, but I’m good with that. My skill-set is a little different, but no less valuable.

If I own it, I’ve fixed it

If living the small town life has taught me anything, it’s taught me how to be resourceful. Just because a repair manual says Widget A requires Repair Part A doesn’t mean that’s the only solution to the problem. Often times Widget A can be repaired with a little creativity.

I rarely buy anything new. If it has a motor attached to it, I’ve never bought it new. That’s a trait I picked up from my step-dad. He owned a small engine repair shop a hundred years ago, and spent another hundred years repairing industrial machines of all kinds. Even if he’s never seen or heard of it before I think he can fix it.

When I was a teen, we used two tractors and an old Chevrolet truck around the farm. All of them were built from scratch. The Chevrolet truck was built from multiple junkyard trucks. That old Chevy had a push button start long before it was cool. The tractors were built from scrap metal and old motors. Remember, this was long before YouTube and OpenSourceEcology.org came around to lead us step-by-step through building things.

One of our home-built tractors.

Craigslist is great!

Craigslist is my friend. Over the past three or four years I’ve bought and sold tens of thousands of dollars worth of “stuff” on Craigslist. I love it. It’s local, and long distance. If you need something, it’s on Craigslist. Maybe not in your immediate area, but it’s on there.

I mainly look for machines and vehicles listed by people who failed to take care of them. These items are usually cheap, and not too badly damaged. Sometimes the repair is nothing more than a clean carburetor and a new spark plug. There is something really rewarding about fixing what someone else deemed too damaged to let live on. I am really grateful to my step-dad for teaching me the skills and the mindset needed to turn junk into useful “stuff.”

The fix-it-yourself culture doesn’t end with greasy motors and splintery fence posts. I’ve rewired parts of my house, along with several barns and workshops. So far none of them have burned to the ground. Friends and family, and now the internet, can help you finish just about any task you start.

Learn what you can, while you can

If you’re a teenager reading this from Small Town USA, my advice to you is learn as much as you can from the people around you. Learning how to be self reliant will not only help you, it will help those around you who might not have had the same opportunities. As a productive member of society I think it’s important to learn all the useful things you can, and share them with those around you.

Be proud of where you come from, regardless of where it is. Every place and every person has something to teach you. The important part is that you make the most of each opportunity.

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Biz Stone’s Jelly Raises Series B Led By Greylock, And Josh Elman Joins The Board

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Twitter co-founder Biz Stone has raised a Series B round of investment led by Greylock Partners, with Spark Capital participating. The raise comes just under a year after it raised a Series A round from Spark, Jack Dorsey and Greylock, via its Discovery Fund.

The app — essentially a human-powered discovery and search parsing engine driven by images — launched early this month.

“Jelly is a small team with modest capital requirements and we intend to keep things that way while growing a global service that changes how we find answers,” said Stone today. “This partnership with Greylock means more time to focus on improving Jelly along with some talented and helpful folks on our Board of Directors.”

There’s no word about what the numbers involved were here, but the investment comes on the heels of rumors that Greylock could be participating in a $20M raise for blogging platform Medium, from Stone’s Twitter co-founder Ev Williams. There were no numbers announced at the time of Jelly’s Series A, but we’ve heard a number in the range of $10M tossed around for that round.

TechCrunch spoke to Greylock Partner Josh Elman, who will join Jelly’s board with this round as well. Elman was previously a product manager at Twitter where he worked with Stone. Elman shared an anecdote with us about his early experiences testing the app.

“As I played with the product during the early days, I had a few experiences that had me thankful I had Jelly. Someone on Jelly helped me realize I had a leak in my shower based on a spot on my siding 20 feet below. I was able to help others with planning trips and shopping for the perfect new monitor,” he detailed in a post today. “My favorite was when my daughter asked me repeatedly to find an Angry Birds level with “a ding dong and a box”.  Several hours later, after much searching and whining, the perfect answer came in on Jelly that helped me be her hero…”

Screen Shot 2014-01-23 at 1.54.26 PM

Other investors in Jelly include Bono (yes), Evan Williams and Jason GoldmanAl Gore,  director Greg Yaitanes and entrepreneur Roya Mahboob. Spark General Partner Bijan Sabet is already serving on Jelly’s board.


What Is a Million “Likes” Worth?

Numbers that really matter for artists on the internet

I am Kim Boekbinder, The Impossible Girl  — a name I have performed music under for the past 4 years. I make my living as a musician, which is something that many musicians only dream of.

There are musicians far more famous than I who still work day jobs. I know quite a few DIY darlings who work as programmers on the side to make ends meet. Bands we think of as successful stop making music, because while the listeners may be there, the money isn’t. Cat Power declared bankruptcy in 2012 — the year she released an album that topped all the charts. To an outside observer it looked like she’d been on a winning streak for years.

I’ve been surviving as an independent artist for nearly a decade. Writing, recording, and touring my smart pop music without the safety of the traditional industry. This was all made possible by the internet. As I grew as an artist and musician the internet offered new possibilities and took others away. As a musician I was promised unprecedented means of distribution — the inference was legions of adoring fans in exchange for the mere act of existing and being talented. Having never engaged with any sort of traditional music industry (no labels, no managers, no booking agents — ever) I have nothing to compare the internet-savvy DIY approach to. But I have seen friends and comrades be celebrated or trampled by the internet age. I have trumpeted the successes and decried the downfalls. I am, and have always been, completely immersed, engaged, and indeed in love with this world wide web.

As someone whose livelihood is made possible by the internet I spend much of my time thinking about it. What does it mean to be an artist in the digital age? How many likes does it take to “make it”? What does “making it” even mean anymore?

In this series of posts about ‘Artists on the Internet’ I will explore the career successes, foibles, and failures, of artists in the internet age. I will be examining the new ways to create, distribute and fund art and artists. This series will include essays and interviews with artists, writers, musicians, and tech entrepreneurs as we talk about the confusing numbers that the internet throws around: likes, views, clicks, and most elusive of all — cold, hard cash.

There are numbers that matter and numbers that don’t matter.

You can have a million youtube views and still be broke. You can have a million streams on internet radio and still be filing bankruptcy. Or you could have no views and no streams and still have the ability to pay rent and make more art. We get lost these days in talking about likes and clicks and views, which are all very gratifying, but have little to no impact on how we live or create more art.

I think my most recent album is AMAZING though I was disappointed by slow sales when I launched it. Sales have since picked up. But here’s the thing: the quality of my album does not change given how many people buy it. My album will sound the same listened to by one person or a thousand or a million or a billion. So what makes music valuable? How many likes? How many dollars? Or does art have its own inherent value?

My videos will be works of art whether viewed by a few thousand or many times more.

100,000 “likes” doesn’t really get anyone anything. Except a promise that maybe it will turn into money. But turning “likes” into dollars is a rare alchemy.

Let’s just be totally clear here: money makes art possible.

People often shame artists for talking about money, they say “Don’t worry about money. Do it because you love it.” But this is an insulting thing to say to an artist. “Love” isn’t the correct word. Not for me. I do love making my art. But I also need to make it.

I don’t think about the numbers when I am making my music. But there are numbers that matter for me, because without those numbers I cannot make my art bigger, brighter, better. I cannot eat. I cannot pay for my home. I cannot pay for the expensive parts of my art which allow me to share it with the world.

We pay so much attention to numbers that don’t really matter: “viral” videos, subscribers, followers, “Likes”… numbers that may or may not change your actual life.

These are the numbers that matter for me:

– The money in my bank account with which to fund my art.

– The number of people at shows, because that has a physical impact on the quality of the show.

Views, downloads, streams, likes…? They’re nice. But they don’t sustain me.

We’re still physical artists in a physical world.

All the promises of what the internet would do for art and artists forgot to take into account that our physical bodies would not (soon) be digitized, and that to continue living and breathing we would need to pay for the things that kept us alive — just as we always had. While we may be able to distribute our art and connect with our online audiences, we still haven’t solved our value problem.

Musicians use physical instruments to produce the digital files you dance to. Even the musicians who create entirely digital music are usually using samples of sounds produced by physical objects. In the cases where a work has been completely digitally produced on a computer we have to remember that the computer itself is a physical object in a physical world, as is the musician themselves.

And the physical world is expensive.

One frustrated musician from New Zealand wrote to me once to tell me that he had decided to only play live music, mostly busking on the street. He refused to record and release his music because of what he felt was an unfair sense of entitlement that the denizens of the internet had to his work. “People feel ownership over everything they can access with their computers.” he wrote, “I decided long ago to never put anything on the internet.”

Maybe you don’t care about the loss of one street musician, but more and more artists will choose to no longer share their art in a world that places so little value on their work and their lives.

So here is the conundrum: in the wonderful world of access to so much free information we are actually losing information. If we cannot figure out a way to support creators with a living wage we will lose them; lose their work, their voices, their contributions. The information will not be freed from their minds, because they will be doing something else: waiting tables, or working in advertising, or teaching the next crop of young idealists.

The creators who can afford to work for free will be the same creators who have always worked for free: the very young, and the comfortably wealthy. At some point the young will not be young anymore and they will want and need the things that only money can buy: homes, food, health insurance. And while the comfortably wealthy have many valid things to say (and their wealth certainly shouldn’t be held against them) I personally believe that we need more voices than just the young and the rich.

What are the numbers that matter to artists? Surely we all want to know that our work is making an impact, those views and clicks and likes do mean ‘something’ but what that ‘something’ is just isn’t always clear. What does value mean, in art and in payment? Is the promise of exposure enough? The careers of many successful artists have been built on years of free work. “Don’t work for free” is not the answer. Different numbers matter to different people. Some people need more money, some people just want to be seen.

This is a nuanced issue and it will continue to change rapidly. There will be no cookie-cutter answer that works for all of us. But we really do need to continue this conversation. Possibly indefinitely.

We are artists, musicians, writers, and makers on the internet. We are trying to figure out how to support our lives as creators because we have a lot of creating to do. Join us.

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Private Equity: Where MBA Pay Is Highest

Year after year, the highest compensation packages dangled in front of the best MBA graduates come from either private equity firms or hedge funds. These MBA jobs are few and far between, and the people who get them are more often than not the most accomplished graduates of their classes.

This past year, business school employment reports were filled with freshly minted grads making a mint by working in private equity. A graduating MBA student in Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business this year nailed down a private equity job in the north east with a total compensation package north of half a million dollars. And this past year, the highest paid MBA at Columbia Business School landed a $310,000 base salary at a private equity firm, while a PE firm also paid the highest bonus to a Columbia graduate: a hefty $300,000.

As tantalizing as some business school employment reports are, however, they only give you a small glimpse of this world. Often times, schools report the percentage of grads who enter the PE field with other categories, such as venture capital. They sometimes do the same with hedge funds, which are often lumped into the category of “investment management.”

That’s one of the reasons we analyzed the member profiles on LinkedIn to come up with a list of MBAs from the top 10 U.S. business schools who are employed by nine of the world’s leading private equity players. They include such giants as TPG Capital, Carlyle Group, The Blackstone Group, KKR, Warburg Pincus, and Bain Capital.

The results of our analysis won’t surprise anyone who wants into this lucrative field and understands the high hurdle rate to get an offer from these top private equity firms. Harvard Business School has the most MBAs employed at the nine PE shops we studied, with 269 grads. Wharton comes next with 242 grads in place, while Columbia Business School is third with 133 MBAs.

That doesn’t mean you would be locked out of PE if you went elsewhere, but the path from these three schools in particular is well worn when your destination is one of the largest private equity players in the business. Indeed, when it comes to PE, many of the world-class schools hardly play in the field. A good example is the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, renown for its finance faculty. Yet, in this small cul-de-sac of the financial world, Booth has just a dozen MBAs at these nine highly prominent PE shops. The upshot: Wharton has 27 times the number of MBAs at these top nine firms than Booth, at least according to LinkedIn member profiles.

Though hardly definitive, searches of LinkedIn’s database provide a fascinating and fairly accurate glimpse at what you could call the “market penetration” of a school’s MBAs in any one firm. Sure, not everyone has a profile on LinkedIn, though people who fail to list with the world’s number one professional network are certainly in the minority at this point. It’s also possible that LinkedIn’s search algorithm could be slightly askew and count undergraduate business majors from schools such as the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School which boasts a large undergrad program. In any case, we think the results are worth a look–and we think you’ll find them quite compelling.

To see our exclusive research on which school’s MBAs are most represented at the top private equity firms, check out PoetsandQuants.com:

Where Top MBAs Work In Private Equity


Photo: 401(K) 2013 / Flickr

Posted by:John A. Byrne

Marissa Mayer Won CES

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What’s that old saying? Software will eat the world? That was never more evident than at CES 2014. Now that the dust has settled, the Gorkana Group has released a social insight report for the event, and one thing is instantly clear: Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer won the show.

Based on Twitter mentions alone, Mayer dominated other CES keynote speakers. Gorkana clocked 5,200 Twitter mentions about her keynote. Intel’s Brian Krzanich and Sony’s Kazuo Hirai received 2,100 and 1,400 mentions, respectively.

As Gorkana notes, though, it wasn’t just about Twitter. Many media outlets live-blogged her talk. We even sent three writers to cover her keynote where other keynotes only got one. We used to blow off Microsoft’s because we knew it would be a snooze every year. And every year it was.

This attention was partly because this is the first time Mayer talked at CES. The CEA has always brought tech titans in to speak. CES attendees, who are often dry and burnt-out like myself, have for years heard from Microsoft, Samsung, Ericsson, Verizon and the like. They heard from the establishment — the old dogs of hardware. And with the notable exception of Qualcomm’s WTF-extravaganza in 2013, they’re all snooze fests: self-promoting rubbish from a stuffy hardware executive.

But maybe with Mayer, we, the tech press, collectively hoped it would be different.

It wasn’t. It was still the same dry talk but with fresh faces.

Yahoo rolled out its new stars in Katie Couric and David Pogue, and Tumblr CEO David Karp shared the stage with her to talk ads. Mayer announced that the company had just purchased Aviate, an Android launcher. But it was mostly self-promoting rubbish about the future of Yahoo. And why not?

Yahoo is on a tear. If by perception alone, Yahoo is making a fantastic recovery and is quickly reinventing itself. As Yahoo’s captain, Mayer had, and will continue to have, a lot to brag about.

Being the most popular kid at school doesn’t mean you’re the best, though. For my money, Intel’s Krzanich gave the most interesting talk. Sure, he also highlighted Intel’s recent advancements, but he talked about the recent trends of the Internet of Things and wearables — spaces that are set to explode in the coming years. The report notes that wearable technology was the most prominent trend mentioned on Twitter during CES with 61,000 hits.

Will Mayer return for a repeat performance next year? I’m sure the CEA hopes she will. The reaction to her talk proved that companies do not have to debut hardware to make waves at CES.

Interestingly enough, Micheal Bay garnered over 15,000 tweets for his little flub. Apparently, if you don’t talk on stage, you’ll get even more attention.