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Despite the “Ivy” branding, the only actual requirements are intellectual curiosity and passion.How Ivy Connect reconciles being both elitist and inclusive is what initially intrigued me.Ivy Connect’s accommodations — hotel discounts, professional networking events and free drinks at the company’s bi-monthly members and plus-ones-only cocktail parties — are all geared to this end.The two events I attended were near max capacity, a testament to Meric and Triebel’s deft word-of-mouth marketing.It seemed like a classic Big City ruse; a clever way to profit from people trying to protect or project their privileged statuses.Whether Ivy Connect exists to promote social mobility or to perpetuate socioeconomic hegemony, the company is selling the same commodity: exclusivity.It’s a sound marketing philosophy; recently, venture capitalist Paul Graham dubbed it the “contained fire strategy.” Graham used Facebook as an example, but a better choice is Connect U.
Asking for a business card typically signals an intention to keep the relationship strictly professional — but that’s not the case at meetings arranged by Ivy Connect, the members-only social and professional club founded by Harvard Business School fellows, Beri Meric and Philipp Triebel.It was when she asked for my business card that I knew we’d never fall in love.What I had hoped would be a flirtatious conversation quickly became an elevator pitch about her investment bank’s philanthropic efforts in Latin America.Applicants are approved by Ivy Connect’s five-person membership committee and then pay each month or 0 each year.(I was given the -per-month “recent graduate” discount.) Despite its private-club-level selection process, Ivy Connect has a laudable goal: To help create relationships that exist IRL as opposed to online.