Alumni-lati

Why your university will send you and your graduating cohort out into the world to infiltrate major corporations and seats of power.

To my father, a university lecturer, one of his cousins once posed the almost unanswerable question, ‘Where do the Illuminati send their kids to university?’ After an awkward pause, my father responded ‘…Well…I suppose Harvard and Yale.’

However, the shocking truth is that it wouldn’t really have mattered which universities my father picked out of the air to satisfy his cousin. Now, what follows isn’t your average ‘Our Vice-Chancellor is a lizard person’ conspiracy theory (although, their cold-blooded managerial style should serve as sufficient evidence that they are).

What follows will prove to you, dear reader, that your university’s alumni association is in fact a front for the Illuminati. I invite you to journey with me, as we uncover the disturbing truth behind alumni associations and networks.

Your tertiary institution will send you and your graduating cohort out into the world to infiltrate major corporations and seats of power

The alumni experience, similarly to the Order of the Illuminati with its love of ritual, commences with a ridiculous ceremony, in which you are made to wear a cape, priest-like stole, and funny hat.

Following this, the consumption of copious amounts of alcohol, and luckily, no satanic sacrifices, your tertiary institution will send you and your graduating cohort out into the world to infiltrate major corporations and seats of power (you didn’t seriously think universities pushed grad programs only for your financial wellbeing did you?).

Once you start your Big Four grad job, you’ll be in a good position to support the Order in all its doings nefarious or otherwise. Although, of course, the longer generational and historical ties of some individuals to particular universities in the US and UK amplify  the power of alumni networks, concerns around university ties aren’t unknown in Australia.

The pressure (perhaps rightly) put on Dyson Heydon to recuse himself from the Royal Commission into trade unions, after it was discovered he was on the panel responsible for awarding Tony Abbott his Rhodes Scholarship, serves as an acknowledgement that ties forged in university can last long past graduation.

This is not to say that alumni associations don’t have their benefits – alumni provide substantial financial donations to their home institutions. Universities Australia reported an 83% increase in annual donations to universities between 2005 and 2013.

It is important here to remember that a cornerstone of the Illuminati’s plan to cultivate a New World Order is to impose a new oligarchic financial system. Alumni can exercise considerable control over how their donations, however generous, are used: Graham and Louise Tuckwell are members of the selection board for the eponymous Tuckwell Scholarship at the ANU, Louise Tuckwell not being an alumna of the institution.

Although the Tuckwell endowment is undeniably generous and benefits many students, and despite the fact that the Tuckwells are only two of 11 members of the selection board, one could question whether it is healthy for alumni donors to exercise such control.

However, the most concerning factor in this discussion is this: while, in furnishing this conspiracy theory with fact, there are plentiful statistics and case studies from the US and UK to draw on, Australia is severely lacking in data on alumni networks and the percentages of those who attended elite universities (or colleges within them) in positions of power.

But what evidence can we glean from the US, a place where secret societies have been investigated and exposed numerous times? (See, for example, Nicholas Cage’s highly underrated National Treasure).

A study by the Harvard Business Review analysed the trading decisions of mutual fund portfolio managers over a 15 year period, comparing the performance of managers’ investments in companies where at least one senior official had attended the same alma mater as the investor, and those where no university ties existed.

Managers tended to invest larger amounts in connected companies, and such investments performed 7.8% better than investments in companies where no alumni connection existed.

Furthermore, the size of investments and returns increased in proportion to the strength of the alumni connection between the investor and the company official – i.e. returns were higher if the two were in the same graduating cohort than if they graduated 10 years apart.

The usual concerns about insider trading arise, but at a base level, these findings illustrate the efficacy of alumni networks as a form of social network.  The particular depth and staying power of alumni relationships allow graduates to amass large amounts of personal and professional information about each other, for better or for worse.

Alumni relationships allow graduates to amass large amounts of personal and professional information about each other, for better or for worse.

And what of the UK – the land of lizard-woman monarchs? The entrenched preference for those who graduated from the same alma mater also has the effect of promoting what the UK government’s Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission has deemed ‘social engineering’.

Although only one person in 100 Brits were educated at Oxbridge, Oxbridge graduates make up 75% of senior judges, 18% of FTSE 350 CEOs, and (here’s the kicker) 14% of university vice-chancellors. As with membership of the Illuminati (whose members include Beyoncé, Kanye West and Justin Bieber), being an alumnus of an elite university can be determinative of social mobility, professional success, and the doors that open to you. It isn’t fair, but it’s true.

Importantly, these alumni networks are also gendered. The Bavarian Illuminati prohibited women from joining the Order, and although alumni networks don’t operate in as blatantly sexist a manner, men continue to reap the rewards of these associations.

As mentioned above, Oxbridge graduates fare better in their dreams of becoming FTSE 350 magnates – you should note in addition that men outnumber women in senior positions in the FTSE 350 by a ratio of 4:1.

There isn’t a lot that’s inherently wrong with these societies and networks in themselves, it is rather their secrets that are dangerous: as with the Illuminati, we may never understand the extent to which alumni ties affect the machinations of the major political parties and corporations, but we should recognise that alumni networks can wear all the hallmarks of a clandestine, invisible, yet omnipresent organisation.

This is not to suggest that you should reject invitations to participate in alumni association events upon graduation. Alumni associations provide many benefits to graduates aside from facilitating the maintenance of your professional network. Email for life, and the opportunity to leave enormous bequests to your university (the $70,000 you paid them in fees wasn’t enough) are among the unbelievable rewards you’ll get for keeping in touch.

But in order properly to understand the impact of  alumni networks in Australia, we should make an effort to be informed about the side-effects of entrenching professional social networks and the potential for corruption that can accompany them.

If all of these rock-solid facts haven’t succeeded in convincing you that, upon graduation, you’ll be entering a world of intrigue and corruption (with a few side benefits) then I don’t know what will. A psychological study by Anglia Ruskin University found that those undergoing stressful experiences are more likely to believe conspiracy theories than those who are not – if I can’t convince university students (the most stressed-out sector of society) then I guess I should give up now.

You’ll be able to find me in my bunker, plotting ways to kill the elite reptilian cadre that runs the UN.

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