Action over Theory: SJSU vs. Stanford

There is no question that Stanford is considered the elite school in the Bay Area. But if you are hiring, the San Jose State grad is a better choice. It is a lesson I learned from the 1980 Presidential campaign, and that reality remains true to this day.

The difference is in the real world experience and work ethic of a San Jose State grad versus the lofty theories and general pampering afforded Stanford alum.

In 1980, a busload of idealistic recent graduates were recruited to work on a presidential campaign in Iowa. The salary was $400 a month plus expenses. The reality was few would be paid even their expenses. Welcome to presidential politics.

On that bus trip, the Stanford grads waxed poetically about theory. They knew the difference between Machiavelli and Hobbes, but they hadn’t a clue regarding a precinct list. The idea of going door to door for votes appalled them. They didn’t go to Stanford to emulate encyclopedia salespeople.

San Jose State grads could banter about Machiavelli and Hobbes, but they also knew the value of a precinct list. Going door to door didn’t bother them, because most of them worked at low paying jobs just to get through college. For some, it was a step up the ladder in terms of labor. They knew how to work for a living.

Today, I find the same mentality. Stanford grads want to know the size of their office, the number of vacation days, and who they will be supervising. San Jose State grads come to the office ready to work and learn on day one.

However, if you theoretically want to know how to get something done, a Stanford grad will be happy to advise you for the appropriate compensation.

Oh, yeah. Go Spartans.

Rich Robinson is a political consultant in Silicon Valley and a San Jose State graduate.

Rich Robinson is an attorney and political consultant in Silicon Valley. Opinions are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of San Jose Inside.


  1. In these several paragraphs Mr. Robinson engages in the most blatant sort of profiling and stereotyping. What’s his point? That anyone considering hiring new employees should discriminate against graduates of Stanford University? Are ALL of them to be dismissed as unworthy job candidates. Should they all be excluded from consideration?
    If, rather than making comparisons of the relative moral characters of graduates of different schools, he was instead comparing the attributes of people of different race, gender, or sexual orientation, he’d have been roundly condemned for his words and invited to never write another article for SJI. But the principle is the same whenever people use generalizations as a substitute for fair and careful evaluation of individual human beings- especially when it comes to such important areas as employment and housing. As I understand it, the rationale for anti-discrimination laws is to protect the rights of individuals and to attempt to ensure that every American is given a fair opportunity to demonstrate his/her worth based on their ability and merit. Given all their preaching on this subject you’d think that, of all peaople, Democrats would understand this. But Rich Robinson is stuck in the pre civil rights mentality of prejudging human beings on the basis of some statitistical categorization. In a just world he’d get slapped with a big fat unfair hiring practices lawsuit.

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