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The Latest Evidence that Geography Does not Matter

Thursday, December 20th 2012
By Adena Schutzberg

Public transit is the ultimate place location-based ads. People are in the city and clearly have access to transportation to other parts of the city. I study the ads on the MBTA with care. Here's the headline of one I saw today:

You expect more. You can find it here. (paraphrased, I confess)

The ad was for a school, in particular its college of arts and sciences. There was no mention of online education. The copy talked about how you wanted more from your career and could get it from the school. The image, best I could tell, was two students with goggles on working with a laser.

Was it from one of the too many colleges and universities in the Boston area? One of the public or private schools? One of the engineering schools that also offers arts and sciences? No. It was from Lehigh University. There was no mention of where that school is; it's in Bethlehem, PA, about 400 miles from here. I only know of it because I spent a summer there studying number theory between my junior and senior year's in high school. (Thanks National Science Foundation for sponsoring that opportunity and to Mom for finding it for me!) Lehigh is not represented well in Boston. I have one friend, Jacques, who went there. The school has a good reputation as an engineering school. 

So, why the ad in the subway train in Boston? And why was there no mention of Lehigh's address? Does geography matter that little these days? Or is Boston just enough of a place with a focus on education that simply getting the name out is valuable here?

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