Via Meadia knows that Ivy league degrees are in high demand, but even we were shocked to learn how much some parents are willing to pay to get their children into top schools. Bloomberg Businessweek reports that a couple in Hong Kong are suing their two sons’ college admissions counselor for fraud and misuse of funds after paying $2 million on consulting fees alone. Yet as Bloomberg notes, their sons were both accepted to two “top schools,” so it isn’t clear whether they have a case.Perhaps the parents would have been better off finding a cheaper counselor or setting their academic priorities differently. In many cases, what you study and how you study it is more important than where you get your degree, particularly for undergraduates.But regardless of the parents’ wisdom or lack thereof, this is an example of just how lucrative certain jobs of the future can be. Admissions counselors’ services are catered towards helping individuals navigate complicated systems:
At a basic level, consultants guide families through the college planning and application process, especially those unfamiliar with the U.S. system or who are sending a child to college for the first time. Michele Hernandez, president of Hernandez College Consulting, says she also aims to sharpen students’ abilities to give them more college choices and get them into schools at the top end of their range, even if they’re not Ivies. “It’s the luxury of having someone to answer your questions all the time,” she says. “Some parents call me literally every three days. . . . It helps them maintain calm. Half the time I feel like a psychological counselor.”
In the worlds of higher-ed and finance, many of these kinds of jobs are already well established. Healthcare isn’t far behind and it’s likely that more and more families trying to wrestle with the complexities of health care organizations, insurance companies and government regulations are going to reach out to consultants who can help them make sense of the whole business.Think of these new professionals as navigators: helping people chart a course through the increasingly complex institutions of the 21st century. One of the classic methods of economic progress is that goods and services once reserved to the very rich gradually become available to mass market consumers at a lower cost. Figuring out how regular middle class families can get help that in the past only elites could have is a way by which a new generation of professionals can create their own jobs and chart a fresh course of their own.The collapse of the blue model and the mass manufacturing economy kills many jobs and causes a lot of pain. But the same processes that are closing some doors are opening others. America’s future depends on how quickly we recognize and act on the opportunities now opening up on every side.