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To What Extent Does the Prestige or Brand Name Affect an Aspiring engineer Looking For a Position At a Fortune 500 Company?

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I've heard over and over again on how there are certain target schools such as Stanford, Waterloo, Harvard, Berkeley and others that are really beneficial in obtaining an internship quite efficiently. What I haven't heard many talks about is how this brand name would affect you when applying for a job as a junior developer or someone's first job position at a big company (mainly FAANG). I aspire to get into computer science at the university of waterloo, but the competition is very fierce, and doing so would require every ounce of energy to secure a decent chance. While I would love to study at this university, my ultimate goal would be a job at silicon valley (while I'm young), so any route to get there would work. I do realize this requires effort as well. As always, any input from professionals would be appreciated, as it would be beneficial to many other students with similar questions as well. #college #career #job #computer-science #technology #job-search

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7 answers

Alecia’s Answer

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Don't worry about where your "paper" is from.
Do your best to have good GPA, strong volunteer and work experience, and show persistence and follow through.
Many companies have found that interview at only a select few schools leads to a lack of variety, diversity, and inclusion.
Most companies are casting a broader net - take advantage of it!
Also, search LinkedIn for engineers at your company of interest that went to your college and try to connect with them.
Thank you, that's great advice looking forward! While I'm definitely going to try my best to get into a good school, It won't be the end of the world if I don't get my desired choice. Hopefully, though, my diligence, hard work, and future planning will serve me well in these crucial years. All the best! Aun M. Translate
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Katerina’s Answer

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You probably see a trend developing in the answers: the general sentiment is that the name brand of your school does not matter as much as other factors.
Working in Silicon Valley for the last 15 years, I have always been amazed by how I and my fellow managers struggle to find qualified candidates. If any of them take any special note of a school, it is because they went there themselves and you can hardly control for that.
On the other hand, if someone's resume is full of interesting and relevant experience and they "wow!" at the interview, they go to the top of the list.

I agree with other recommendations: develop very good verbal and written communication skills, gain direct experience in your desired field, learn coding languages that you expect to use (personally, I have hired 3 college grads that learned coding languages through places like CodeAcademy), and make it easy for the manager to hire you. If you are great at following directions, understand difficult concepts, are easy to train, and work hard, then a manager is going to jump at the opportunity to hire you. Learn about "the other 80% of the job": time management, how to take notes so your superior does not have to repeat themselves often, when/how to ask questions, etc. Project humble confidence, reliability, competence, and a hunger to learn. If you show all these things, then the right hiring manager will be very eager to train and mentor and have you on a team. The best way to learn all of these intangibles is to go after internships that will give you real-world experience.

There are a lot of factors to getting your first job out of college but I would say that the name of your school falls fairly far down on the list compared to a lot of skills, personality, and experience that you can bring to the table.
Good luck!
Thank you for answering! I did find that soft skills play quite a role in getting the job as well. I also liked the idea of taking notes so a superior don't yell! I'm definitely going to have to do more research, but you've given me valuable insights into skills I should also be looking at other than the technical side. All the best! Aun M. Translate
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Kelsey’s Answer

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Hi Aun! I am personally not an engineer, but my company hires a lot of engineers to support our tech startup. While some of our top engineers hail from prestigious universities, several have degrees from schools I have never heard of before! If there is a specific company you are thinking of, I would research to see if they recruit at specific schools (like University of Waterloo) and if they also recruit at other universities you may feel like you have a better chance of getting into. While a great university can absolutely set you up for success, you can excel in any program. Just be sure to work hard and secure good internships and you should be set up well!
Thank you for your insights! It definitely won't be the end all be all if I'm not accepted at Waterloo, but I'm definitely keeping big goals so I can grow. The only thing that will disappoint me personally is if I haven't grown from my ambitious goals. Thanks again for the answer, and all the best! Aun M. Translate
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RAVI’s Answer

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There is a little bit of that "Big Brand" stigma, that gets you in. But it does not guarantee you getting far.
Statistics show that not everyone that gets into top school succeeds. It is also true that many successful people do come from really ordinary schools! There are probably many you can search and find on internet.
Not everyone at FAANG companies are from Big Brand schools.
FAANG may be replaced by something else down the road. Some of these companies did not exist 30 years ago. Some may not be the leaders in the future. Technology is extremely disruptive. There is always something new and someone new that changes the view at the top. It could very well be you.

My recommendation is:
Work hard, study well, learn things! Be the best you can be in everything you learn.
Learn how to market yourself. Create a brand for yourself. All successful people have successfully marketed themselves.
Learn good communication - both written and spoken skills.
Network with people, via LinkedIn or other forums in your field and in the companies you want to work in.
Volunteering and leadership development programs and clubs in your school will be good way to network as well and promote yourself.
Be confident.
If you get into school of your dreams, do not forget the above. You would still need all those things to succeed.
If you do not get into school of your dreams, do not feel bad, as where you want to go still is in your hand. You can still make it to your dream job.
That was a great answer, and something I'm glad to hear! Funny because I was thinking extensively about disruptive innovation, and how it could shake fortune500 companies! Also, I agree with the statement that I can still get my dream job even if I don't get into my dream school. I won't be reactive and let my past bring me down, but rather motivate me to do better than others. Thank you for the reassurance Ravi, I appreciate it! Aun M. Translate
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Mohit’s Answer

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Different bw a person graduated from college like Stanford or MIT as compare to normal college is they worked hard initially to get into those colleges & you have to work hard after colleges. after 5 -6 down the line. you both will be working in same CTC in same company if you're good at thing you do :)
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Bonnie’s Answer

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Start learning and getting as many certifications as you can. Tech companies are hungry for new talent. The sooner you make yourself relevant the better. Then you must stay relevant. Even if you get into your dream school, you will have continuous Learning requirements. Check out Udacity.com. They have free online classes. It’s the wave of the future. I tried them and glad I did. I earned a Nanodegree that helped me stay relevant in my current job.
Thank you for the answer, Bonnie. That's a great accomplishment, I definitely appreciate the insight! Currently, I'm looking to complete a course I bought on Udemy, as well as going through a Bootcamp, serving as an introduction to web development. Aun M. Translate
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Paula’s Answer

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I suggest you use LinkedIn "search" to find University Recruiters at Fortune 500 companies that interest you. Ask them directly. It's a great way to begin establishing a relationship inside the company. Who knows where it might lead!
Thanks for the answer! That's a great idea! I'll be sure to once I get in haha. All the best! Aun M. Translate
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