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Does It Matter Where You Went To College?

March, April, and even June are graduation months, which bring us to a pertinent question that has camped out, at one point or another, in the minds of students, deans, HR personnel, fresh graduates bent on nabbing a job and building a career (also for those sports fans looking to taunt a bitter rival before a big-time basketball or volleyball match). The question is - Do employers care about where you went to college?

Let's tackle this question in Likert-type scale fashion:
- Strongly agree
- Agree
- Neutral
- Disagree
- Strongly disagree

Pencils down. The answer comes from an article courtesy of Rappler, citing the recently launched Jobs and Salary report by Jobstreet.com:

According to the 2015 report, 71% of employers said that the school the prospective employee graduated from was still either “very important” or “quite important” to them. 71% see a decrease from the 2014 percentage of 77%, but favoring mostly the same schools in the following order: 

  1. University of the Philippines
  2. University of Santo Tomas
  3. De La Salle University / Ateneo de Manila University
  4. Polytechnic University of the Philippines
  5. Mapua Institute of Technology
  6. Far Eastern University
  7. Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila/Adamson University
  8. University of the East / Philippine Normal University / Technological Institute of the Philippines

Please note that these rankings are not meant to start a “My school is better” taunt. Kidding aside, there are key takeaways to focus on:

  • A youthful infusion of talent: 85% of companies have gone the fresh graduate route in the past year
  • Important ingredients involved: If you happen not to see your college or university on the list, there is no need to hang your head as long as you fulfill two important considerations companies look for: (1) Having the willingness to be trained/being highly trainable and (2) Fulfills the list of requirements needed by the job.
  • Experience matters: Jobseekers who have a wealth of experience obtained from internships are a valued lot.

So yes, the school you came from matters – to a certain degree. Your school may get you noticed but there are no guarantees. It still boils down to a prospective employee showing, among a crowded field, that he or she has the best skillset and attitude that fits the company’s culture and needs. The best talent can come from anywhere and has the ability to make the whole "Which school did you come from?" discussion moot.
Image by Andree Lüdtke