Does it really matter where you graduate from?

Yes, and no. Both. Depends on whom you ask and their personal experience.

Securing a seat in top academic institutions was-is extremely challenging given the high level of competition. Those who make it and several who don’t have expended considerable effort in their quest to get into a top institution.

Winners take pride in their results.

Others in their efforts.

And, that’s where the answer lies. Why does where you graduated from matter to prospective employers?

Because it tells them something about you – the quality of education is one.

There are others – like your ability to achieve goals, work hard, grit, determination and whatever else can be read into your result.

Does that mean everyone who did not get into a coveted institution does not have these traits? Surely, not.

So, coming back to the question, does it matter or does it not?

Yes.

In a competitive world, any edge matters. Top institutions design and deliver academic programs and learning in a manner that nurtures and enhances the innate abilities of students. This process is also supported by interactions and exchange of ideas with academic trailblazers and intelligent peers.

A well-established college may provide better –

  1.   Access to world-class facilities,
  2.   Opportunity to build a network amongst multi-faceted people and notable alumni.
  3.   Attractive placement offers to jumpstart one’s career.

Besides building up your knowledge, skill and networking capabilities, the college you went to may even determine your job prospects.

The reputation of the college itself may help you climb the career ladder faster. There are some companies that only hire from a narrow niche of prestigious or well-reputed universities. Furthermore, there are employers that tend to look down upon universities that claim to offer easy and quick routes to obtaining a degree and will not prefer hiring them.

Graduating from a top-tier college also means you don’t have to prove your intelligence to everyone you meet. People automatically believe you are smart when they get to know your alma mater, so you can instead focus on polishing other skills imperative to the job.

No.

A university can only take you so far in life. Obtaining a degree even from an Ivy League school does not ensure skills or even common sense!

It’s the attitude of the candidate that makes the difference. Anyone with the right outlook, ambition, perseverance, and dedication can succeed in life. There are no ‘easy’ jobs that pay well. If someone does not want to work hard in building the rest of his or her career, no college or degree can ensure his or her survival to this day.

On the other hand, if a candidate is focused and knows what he/she wants to do, they will always choose and do what is best for their career. This is evidenced in the fact that 70% of the CEOs from the top hundred Fortune 500 companies are not from any of the top-tier schools, including Bob Iger the CEO of Disney and Arundhati Bhattacharya, Chairman of India’s Largest Bank (SBI), who never even got an MBA degree, unlike their counterparts. Numerous studies also show that there is little to no difference between the earnings of the those who went to a top-tier institution and those who did not, 20 years down the line.

and…

–       An IIT/NIT on your resume might open doors right away but it will not provide the skills needed to advance. Those need to be earned through sweat and blood. Learn core values like the ability to solve problems, flexibility and working in a team, as they aren’t taught in colleges anyway.

–       Five years down the line, few to none of your employers will ask which school you graduated from. They would hire someone who adds value to their firm, not someone who graduated top of their class.

–       Having the confidence to compete with your peers (even the ones from top schools), knowing your self-worth and creating impact with the education you have received is what will ensure a bright future in any field.

–       Draw strength and a varied skill set from endeavoring and exploring the world. Come out of your comfort zone and broaden your exposure by connecting with different people.

Clearly, with regards to career progress, a premier education is only a good to have and not a must-have. Perseverance, focus and the right career moves can get you to the top job, just as well.