I have heard that college prestige for students in STEM fields is not as important as say business or finance. Is this true?
It may make a difference in fields like Engineering and Computer Science if you want to aim for the top companies. Places like Google and Facebook host recreating events at the top programs. However, ultimately, it is up to you to show what you can bring to the table.
Keep in mind that what constitutes “prestige” may be different depending on area of focus. For example, University of Delaware may not be considered that prestigious generally, but for ChemE, it’s one of the most highly respected for both undergrad and grad. Having Dupont (and spin-off Chemours) and Gore in the same small state may have something to do with it.
I believe the prestige of the institution does matter for STEM but not as much as for business and law.
https://www.timeshighereducation.com/student/news/which-colleges-do-facebook-google-and-other-top-employers-recruit suggests that Facebook may be much more school-elitist than Google and other well known computer companies. Google supposedly recruits at hundreds of schools.
I wonder where Facebook’s CEO graduated from and how that affects things…
Zuckerberg last graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy and then attended Harvard but did not graduate. But he later received an honorary degree from Harvard.
Lol, I am aware - it was more an insinuation about the view of Ivy league colleges in relation to where one attended for Zuckerberg. Point being, unless your CEO is obsessed with prestige, hiring likely won’t be either.
Companies can and do have pet schools, but prestige rarely has anything to do with it. More often than not, it’s proximity. Apples number one school is San Jose State.
Steve Jobs had one semester at reed college. Michale dell went nowhere I believe.
In STEM, prestige is like other posters said…less important, still if you think the same job offers come from state U as MIT, well, your just wrong. Still the most important thing is always going to be GPA.
BTW these one offs mean absolutely nothing, other than they were very smart hard working people, which you could find at almost any college but tend to congregate at top schools.
I graduated from a prestige STEM college. The experience of attending such a school and the in-school opportunities are what matters the most about such schools. I was able to work, as part of a group, on a NASA research contract as an undergrad. Great experience.
Where the prestige comes into play the most is when looking for a job. However, it isn’t the top factor. I was an engineering manager and the factors that come into play in order were for me:
- "Plays well with others". Engineering is a team effort and being able to function as part of a team is critical.
- GPA. The higher the better to a great extent but doors quickly close if it is less than 3.0, no matter what the school is.
- Prestige. You are always more comfortable hiring someone from a school that you know the name of and it has a good reputation.
Once you have the job, prestige means very little. It is how well you perform your job that counts.
I’d say prestige ranks (heh!) pretty far down the list. Internships and GPA seem to count most. Like someone said above, so does proximity. Companies have come to realize the value of a diverse workforce, and that includes educational diversity.
I’m fairly certain Michael Dell was building PCs in his Texas dorm room.