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I'm coming up on graduation for my A.A. degree, and have two options for where to go to finish my Bachelor's degree in Business Management (with a specialty in project management). I can either continue going to the state college I've been going through for a much more affordable price, or I can go to a 4-year University on scholarships to complete it.

Do hiring managers look at where you get a degree from and does it weigh in on their decision? That's a factor I'd like to take into consideration before I decide where to go.

  • Are both schools accredited for the major you want? If you can get scholarships and go for free, I'd go with the University, imo. – jumper Jul 17 '17 at 21:17
  • How can scholarships not be more affordable? – paparazzo Jul 17 '17 at 21:41
  • @Paparazzi Some scholarships only cover a potion of the cost. Costs outside of tuition may also be applicable. (Maybe OP meant loans instead of scholarships) – Bernhard Barker Jul 17 '17 at 21:42
  • Why else would people pay $60k a year to go to Harvard? – AffableAmbler Jul 17 '17 at 21:52
  • I am not generally a supporter of paying hippies to read books to people, but if you want a network afterwards, larger schools are better. Even someone in a different profession that graduated from a different college in the same University will feel "connected" to you more so than other candidates. – Wesley Long Jul 17 '17 at 22:19
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I was just wondering if hiring managers look at where you get a degree from

Yes, most do.

and if it weighs in on their decision

As always, it depends.

It depends on the manager. If you went to the same school as the hiring manager, that's probably a good thing. If you didn't go to the same school it probably doesn't matter much.

It depends on the domain in which you want to work. If you are applying for a position at one of the top law firms, you most likely need to have graduated from a top law school. If you are looking for a low-level business job, your school may not matter much.

In many cases, assuming it's an accredited school, it won't matter much at all.

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  • Most universities have a career services web page where they list companies that commonly recruit their graduates. Check them out and see which one looks more impressive, You should also read reviews in college guide books to see if the better school is worth the additional expense. – AffableAmbler Jul 17 '17 at 22:02
  • And as with most things academic, its impact will fall off rapidly as you accumulate professional experience. After a few years your having a degree will become a "white collar union card" (think skilled trades not UAW). Not having one will limit what doors you can get in, but beyond that no one will care where you went, what your grades are, and even - within reason - what your degree actually was in. – Dan Is Fiddling By Firelight Jul 17 '17 at 23:03
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I agree with most answers here, but wanted to add another point, purely from the standpoint of a career starter when your education is weighed more heavily: just because a school isn't among the "big names" doesn't mean it doesn't have a reputation.

I would mostly advise you to beware of attending a Uni that has a reputation of not being credible overall, or one that does not offer a credible program, given your major area of study.

For example, majoring in computer science at a school well-known for it's art and theater programs is not likely to help you land a programming job, and it might raise a small suspicion in the backs of people's minds. Likewise, a school can be unremarkable overall, but it may still offer a well respected program for your major. In this case the back of the mind will feel more satisfied that your education level is acceptable or even superior, depending on the program's reputation.

Meanwhile, attending a "party school" is not going to appear as credible in a more general way, so unless that school is known to have an outstanding program in your major, attending might not do you any favors.

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Yes, it makes a big difference sometimes both in terms of pay offered if you land the job, and in terms of landing the job in the first place.

Having a degree from the National University over here doesn't actual guarantee the candidate can read and write or know anything at all. So although it will get you a low level job here in govt, it's useless elsewhere.

I discount a lot of candidates based on their university education for starting jobs. There is several nearby countries whose degrees are worthless as well. It's the difference between putting someone on helpdesk for a year at a tiny wage and putting someone straight into a technical role at decent pay.

So it depends where you are and the prestige of the university.

Experience trumps degree in terms of job hunting, so you can always go to a cheaper university, work solidly for a while and get ahead that way.

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An approach that I have seen be useful in the past is to ask the colleges for alumni employment data for the courses you are interested in. It's not always available but often is, particularly in more prestigious institutions.

With this information you can see whether the college has helped its alumni to jobs that you are interested in. The nice thing about this approach is that it can help bypass some of complexity in the relation between a job and a course at a particular college. For example, it may well be that the courses are very similar but one college has close relations with particular companies or government departments.

Anecdotally, I recommended this approach to a friend a few years ago. The outcome was that she realised that, although the courses she was applying for were vocational, not one of them actually had graduates enter the field she was interested in. In her case it transpired that it was such a competitive field that employers only looked at top students from the very top tier colleges, regardless of the course. She subsequently chose a different career path and has made a great success of it.

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I think your question is too narrow. After your first couple of jobs, it likely won't matter where you graduated from. However, your long-term pay will be affected by the size ad influence of your network. Some people from your state college may be in a position to help you, but likely the people you graduate with will take longer to rise and as a result will top out at a lower level. If you go to a college where the graduates tend to be highly sought-after, many of your friends and acquaintances will go straight to the top and will be in a position to give you a hand up.

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