By Siddharth Sharma & Suryansh Upmanyu
LSR girl Rhea Grover was the talk of the town after bagging a Rs. 29 lakhs package from Parthenon-EY (Google it if you want, folks. Too jealous to explain it).
This news also led to many people asking the question: Does the name of the college matter when a student sits for placements?
We at ED, give you the answer. Twice.
Have you ever seen 84% students being placed in an average IP university college every year? Have you ever heard a mother bragging, ‘Beta IP mein padhta hai.’ No!
Because, unlike Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies, they don’t have name recognition. I mean who knows Bhagwan Parshuram College of Engineering? Not the engineering companies, I tell you. Why do people want to go to DTU, and not DIAS (It stands for Delhi Institute of Advanced Studies, and not a cool acronym I just made up)? It is because everyone knows DTU, because of which, everyone gets placed just for the tag of DTU, have you ever heard of mid-tier DU colleges (Can’t take names, of course) handing out placements like DTU? No, and this is because most colleges don’t have that kind of prestige attached to their institutions.
Consider the recent placement offer in LSR of Rs. 29 Lakhs p.a (Well done, by the way). Everyone in the country knows Lady Shri Ram. On the other hand, if the same job were offered in my college, it won’t go for more than 5 Lakhs. Recently Sundar Pichai came to SRCC (Don’t know why he came to a commerce college, but okay). Imagine him going to Ram Lal Anand College. He won’t, simply because he hasn’t heard of it. What does this imply? Not that RLA is a bad college, but that reputed firms like Google, Amazon and Facebook are unaware of their very existence or the pedigree of their students. It is only natural that big firms go to big colleges like SRCC for recruitment. The most reputed firms around the world know about SRCC, and they will come to hire from there. And that is what matters when it comes to placement. Even during the course of off campus interviews, where interview times are often restricted to five minutes or less, the most striking detail of your CV is likely to be the name of your college. And this is aided by a tendency of big firms competing to offer more money to graduates of top-tier colleges, the competition widening the gap in pay offered to graduates of an NLU or a city law college.
Summing it up, campus placements depends largely upon the brand name of a college. Colleges become ‘brands’ not only by providing unique education to their students but by setting up placement-cells, and tie-ins with companies to come for recruitment every year as well. We are right to envy those who study in IIT or SRCC.
I don’t know about other countries, but Indian parents (and students too, grudgingly) feel that the reputation of a college matters when their child sits for placements. Here is why they are wrong:
Frank Bruni, a columnist at New York Times, recently released a book named “Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be.” In his book, Bruni mentions that only 30 American CEOs of the top 100 companies (according to Fortune 500) went to a reputed college in USA.
Similarly, economists Alan Kreuger and Stacy Berg Dale published a study in 1999 to determine whether wages of graduates of elite colleges differ from the wages of those passing out of non-elite colleges. This is what they found:
“We matched students who applied to, and were accepted by, similar colleges to try to eliminate this bias. Using the College and Beyond data set and National Longitudinal Survey of the High School Class of 1972, we find that students who attended more selective colleges earned about the same as students of seemingly comparable ability who attended less selective schools.”
Kreuger and Dale repeated their study in 2011 (this time with a larger sample size) and reached the same conclusion.
(If this does not prove my point, I don’t know what will.)
I am not saying that your college does not matter at all. It does provide you with a network of like-minded individuals with a similar skill set who are of immense help throughout your life. But, what matters the most is how much you are able to imbibe from your network and the college environment.
In USA, college acceptance matters a lot on who you are and the factors which drive you. Your personality matters as much for your college admission as for your placement. But the situation is different in India, where most of us got into colleges based on our score in some exam.
A number does not define our capabilities. That, and the limited number of seats in colleges imply that many students are not able to get into their dream college. But someone with grit and determination can achieve his goals, whichever institution he graduates from.
For his book, Bruni interviewed some employers and venture capitalists to determine the aspects they look at in a candidate. Critical thinking, communication and problem solving skills came out as the top answers. Employers want to know that you will be able to adapt quickly and solve problems rather than what you studied as an undergraduate. What matters is the application, not the theory.
And the application depends on the candidate alone. This is where your internships and extra-curricular activities come into the picture. Your experiences matter, and they are not hindered by the name of the college you study in.
Howard Schultz (CEO of Starbucks) is a perfect example of a person who made it large in life without the help of his college name.
You may be a Stephanian. You may be an IITian. You may be in LSR. But as Batman said, “It is not who you are, but what you do that defines you.” Listen to the Dark Knight and don’t fret. College name doesn’t matter as much as you think.
Image Sources: Google Images
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Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.