What’s in the name?

Does where you study really matter in the job process? Patricia Mascarenhas investigates.

In a time of rising education fees and turbulent job market, college students often wonder whether the big ticket prices of certain colleges are worth it. Does where you study really matter in the job process? Patricia Mascarenhas investigates.

We live in a branded world. People love known brands, from clothes to cars to even universities. With all of the hype about college name, choosing the right institution has become a burden. We all pursue college education for the same reason—to get a job. So does this mean if you want a good job, it’s advisable to go to a college with a good name? Does graduating from a top-tier school bring you more financial success?

Sunil Mantri, principal, Narsee Monjee College of Commerce and Economics thinks so. “Getting an education from a top-notch college does make a difference,” he says. “Top colleges are constantly talked about. They have credibility and quality associated with them.” There`s a big difference between going to an average college and select top-tier ones. “Students world over prefer certain colleges because of their image and the resources available,” he adds.

A college opens doors for you and can change and shape you in ways that you might not imagine. So if you are going to invest your money, time and effort to pursue quality education make sure you choose a good college.

Hari Maram, governing council member, All India Management Association (AIMA) agrees. “Elite institutes have more resources and spend two to five times as much on students than other universities,” he says, adding that recruiters personally come to top colleges with job offers because they too prefer students from these top colleges. This in turn makes the college more desirable. When it comes to a good pay package, those from top institutions get the bigger and better share. “The name does count, hence, many consider studying at ‘A’ list institutes for a secure future,” he adds

But the story is not the same for all. Not all the graduates from a top college will earn the same. A student`s grades, subject major and innate talent make a difference. “Every job demands particular skill sets and different training to shoehorn them into their vocations,” says Geetanjali Pandit, chief people officer, Zee Media Corporation, adding that the candidates are selected based on their expertise for the job.

Experts suggest that college does matter especially if you are a fresher. “If you are talented you may shine regardless of what college you belong too. However, the fact remains that the ‘name’ itself speeds things up and adds credibility," says Pandit. Ganesh Natarajan, CEO, Zensar Technologies also agrees. “Not everyone hired in a company are from top ranking colleges. Also as you add advanced degrees to your resume, your employability and earnings will increase,” he adds.

Selecting the right academy is a gamble, a bet that the time and money you invest will generate higher returns. “No doubt that the college brand gives you an extra push and might be a factor in your first job, but after that, it`s performance,” explains Natarajan.

Finally it all boils down to ‘does it really matter where you go?’ Yes and No. Job market is a competitive world. Your resume is going to be on a large stack of applications. Going to a top institute is a way to standout, but it isn`t the only way. Having top grades could be another option. It’s all about differentiating yourself!

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