A few years ago, when I was at MIT completing my second master’s degree, I remember reading a very interesting article.
The article looked at several companies and at the companies rated in the “places I most want to work” among MIT computer science undergraduates (“course 6” as we call them on-campus) and MIT Sloan MBA students.
There was a fascinating pattern to the study, where a company’s rise to greatness was closely correlated with the desire of computer science students to work there. Then, at some point, the company became more popular among MBAs than CS students, and this was correlated with a reduction in the company’s ability to innovate and grow its lead. Sometimes competitors caught up to it, sometimes the company died, other times it was bought out. But in almost every case, its growth trajectory was stopped.
There were one or two exceptions, world-famous brands known by almost everyone. But by and large, the pattern held, and I found it fascinating. It’s like this word-of-mouth on campus is a leading indicator (a predictor?) of the degree of innovation a company is going to do in the next few years.
The problem is I didn’t keep the article. I don’t remember its source. I can’t seem to find it. Did you see any such article? I’d love to see the reference or a copy of it.