Picking a university is an incredibly complex decision. There are innumerous factors to consider when choosing where to study.
For some, being as close (or far away) as possible to home is important, or the lecturers, the weather, the nightlife of the city. It could be the opportunities on the course that draw you in, the price of housing or a pint of beer.
Or it could be the university’s name and reputation.
Prestigious universities seldom struggle to fill their quotas. Many students apply to institutions like the United Kingdom’s Oxbridge primarily due to their esteemed reputation.
Oxbridge and other universities of high standing promise phenomenal graduate jobs, a cut above the rest. But do employers really care about all that?
We spoke to two professionals working in recruitment who said, more often than not, no.
“Personally, where the graduates study doesn’t bother me,” an anonymous recruitment manager from the UK told Study International.
“I care more about the grade and what they feel they have learnt whilst studying,” she continued.
Working alongside studying, “even if part-time or a few hours” is what makes all the difference, she said.
“It shows they understand the importance in gaining experience to support their qualification and are not just relying on the fact they went to a ‘good’ university to get them a job.”
Students’ downfall can often be their reliance on their degree as proof of their capabilities. A degree gifts you with countless skills, on top of knowledge and understanding of your chosen fields.
But employers want well-rounded individuals with other interests alongside their degree. They want those who have done other things with their time other than study, who understand the world outside of the classroom.
The job hunting stage is literally the most testing period. You expect to walk into a job after studying but that's when you realize that the world owes you nothing.
— Nino (@Nino_deRosario_) January 11, 2018
Camily David, a Group Talent Acquisition Head in Malaysia, told Study International:
“It depends very much on the kind of position. If it’s more technical roles i.e. engineering, physician, law, aeronautical, then yes. Other than that, especially here in Malaysia, most employers don’t even ask for your degree or certificates.”
David claimed she would estimate 85 percent of employers in Malaysia are uninterested in which university a graduate attended.
“In my 11 years of experience in headhunting and recruitment, not one company has asked me about a candidate’s qualifications,” she said.
Experience and attitude tend to be valued much higher than which university’s name is printed on your degree certificate.
The UK manager said:
“I feel concentrating on where the graduate came from doesn’t necessarily mean they have the right skills or personality to fit into the team or to do the job well.”
“When recruiting for graduates I feel it’s much more important to understand what they are like as a person, whether they have the skills to do the job or can be taught and whether they will fit into the culture and team well.”
So students, make yourselves busy. Follow your passions, expand your knowledge beyond your degree, and consider picking up a part-time job if you have time.
The added knowledge and experience will help you stand out to employers, especially in an increasingly competitive jobs market.
Your degree is likely to be invaluable in the workplace and in your general life. But, most employers care about you, what you have done and what you can bring to their company. And not where you spent your time studying.