A New Chance for the Old Boys Network

Members of the Porcellian club, the oldest and most prestigious of Harvard's eight all-male final clubs, are notoriously hush-hush about affairs in their clubhouse at 1324 Mass. Ave.

The most famous tale of club lore: the Porcellian presents all members who have not yet achieved economic success by age 30 with an expensive birthday gift--$1 million.

Although this story may be more legend than actual tradition, there is a history of final club members helping younger members survive and succeed in their post-Harvard careers and lives.

For decades, undergraduates and graduates would mingle at the clubs at dinners or other events and form connections that led to job opportunities.

One of the Porcellian's nicknames is the Piggy Bank, appropriate not only for its members' wealth, but also for a shared line of work--investment banking.

But in recent years, changing memberships and alumni attitudes have weakened the clubs' networking power.

Interclub Council President Douglas W. Sears '69 says clubs have plugged undergraduates into extensive networks in the past, but today's reality is quite different.

"The shame, or the irony of it all, is that it no longer happens," Sears says. "What you would find would not be quantitatively different from other [Harvard] organizations."

In early years, graduates would stop by for a meal or a drink and end up mingling with the undergraduates, giving them a leg up in the business world in the process.

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