Gerald and Lily Chow, a Hong Kong couple with altogether too much money, paid “education consultant” Mark Zimny $2.2 million to get their sons into Harvard. Zimny failed, and now the Chows are suing.
Zimny had worked as a professor at Harvard in the past and ran an education consultancy called IvyAdmit. He sold the Chows on a plan to provide their sons tutoring and supervision while they were both enrolled at American prep schools. The Chows also allege that Zimny promised to grease the admission wheels by making donations to elite colleges.
Zimny advised the Chows against donating directly to Harvard themselves, he allegedly told them development offices are wary of Asian donors due to “embedded racism”. Better to use him as a middleman, and let him take a cut.
The Chows eventually paid Zimny $2.2 million, but their sons never got into the Ivy League institution.
It’s difficult to feel sorry for people who attempted to bribe their sons’ way into a good university, even if they were ripped off by someone with even less integrity. The fact that rich parents are able to influence university admissions by making donations, and bump up their children’s chances by paying for tutors and coaching, belies the idea that higher education is a meritocracy.
The privileged are normally able to buy their children’s way into just about anything, except this one time, and that’s funny.