International Student Blog
Guest Blog by Auxilo’s Manoj Shetty: Top Colleges are Selling a Lifestyle

Guest Blog by Auxilo’s Manoj Shetty: Top Colleges are Selling a Lifestyle

Top colleges are selling a Lifestyle

In last two decades the list of the top 100 colleges in the world as more or less remain constant. Have you ever wondered why this has happened, why it is difficult for colleges to enter the IVY league or in the league of top colleges? This article would attempt to answer the above questions.

  1. Student while choosing a college is interested not just in the quality and price of the college, but also in the personal characteristics of the colleges other students. When choosing for college a student is not just looking at colleges’ faculty, curriculum, and facilities, but also in the intellectual aptitude, previous accomplishments, sociability, athletic prowess, wealth, and family connections of the colleges’ other students. In short, the thing that a college or university is selling to its students is, in large part, its other students. Harvard College would not be Harvard college if its students— past, present, and future—were no different when compared to other colleges
  2. The highest-quality students tend to cluster at a few elite institutions, the next-highest at another set of institutions, and so on so forth.
  3. Even among professors this stratification applies, generally they want to be at institutions where their colleagues are strong in their subject area of interest. This associational aspect often weighs much more heavily in choosing where to work than does salary or other material forms of compensation. This results in stratification not just in terms of the quality of their students, but also in terms of the quality of their faculty.
  4. Since professors like to teach good students, and students like to have good teachers, this tends to lead strong faculty and strong students to cluster at the same institutions.

The best colleges attract the best students, and the best teachers. They also attract higher donations and government grants. These colleges are thus able to create stronger alumni base which helps in further enhancing their BRAND. Top colleges are monopolist, it has a near monopoly on the best students, and thus are able to offer students of higher quality than competing institutions can offer. A critical factor in preventing competition amongst colleges is the difficulty of quickly changing the character of an institution’s student body. These factors lead to a big hindrance for the competing colleges or new colleges to break in to the league top colleges.

Student aspire to emulate what their successful alumina has achieved, and entering in to these top colleges enables students with an ecosystem which increases their odds to emulate or improve on their predecessor.


About Manoj Shetty

Manoj Shetty has over 18 years of experience in financial service industry. He has his own blog, In his previous roles he has worked as Corporate Strategy Head, Chief Executive Officer, National Sales Head. He holds a degree in Masters in Business Administration and has a master’s degree in Accountancy and Finance.


Henry Hansmann (n.d.) Higher Education as an Associative Good, Yale University.

Simon Marginson (spring 2017) Do Rankings Drive Better Performance?, number 89 edn., : International Higher Education.

Philip G. Altbach and Ellen Hazelkorn (spring 2017) Pursuing Rankings in the Age of Massification: For Most—Forget About It, number 89 edn., : International Higher Education.


The ideas, views and opinions expressed in the article represent my own views in my private capacity and not those of any of my current or previous employer, any institutions. The article is a research work based only the limited, dated and open source information. For the sources the statements have been quoted with the authors name. This article is only for the reading pleasure and while I invite the feedback and comments on the article, I will not be responsible or liable to any such comments as the same belong to the responder.”

Nathan Treadwell

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