England has a McDonald’s University, and it’s almost as competitive as Harvard
Everybody who majored in English, comp lit, art, history, art history, or indeed basically anything except pre-med and economics has heard jokes about how you’re just training to say “do you want fries with that.” What you might not realize, though, is that you can major in “do you want fries with that,” too, at McDonald’s University in East London. And it’s kind of a competitive school.
Are you surprised to hear that Margaret Thatcher was instrumental in opening the school, in 1989? I wasn’t particularly surprised. And are you surprised to know that McDonald’s University spends $60 million every year on training students, and is one of the largest worker-training facilities in England? Depressed, maybe; surprised, not terribly. Sign of the times. But are you surprised to know that it accepts only one in 15 applicants, for a 6.7 percent acceptance rate? We were a little surprised about that. For comparison, Harvard’s acceptance rate is 5.9 percent.
At McDonald’s U, it’s not all flipping burgers. Students do learn about the actual product, like what to do if someone really classy flips out on you that there are no Chicken McNuggets in the morning. But the curriculum, according to the Economist, is varied:
Self-esteem and self-management are on the syllabus, too. Steven Covey’s “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” is a popular text. A year-long apprenticeship programme emphasising English and maths leads to a nationally recognised qualification. McDonald’s has paid for almost 100 people to get degrees from Manchester Metropolitan University.
Not everyone who studies at McD U goes on to work there, and McD’s is OK with that, since, inevitably, some people do stick around. Who could resist, after all, the opportunity to be part of a loving, caring, multinational corporation steeped in the legacy of Margaret Thatcher?