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Do companies care more about your major or what school you are from?

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Syed’s Answer

Hi Kelly,

It all depends on the tier of school you attend and what field you plan to go into. Here's some I know of based on personal experience, my network and anecdotal evidence:

1. Trying for Law School? GPA and LSAT matter most. Get the best recommendations you can. Write a stellar personal statement. Major and undergrad school are not as important.

2. Trying for Med School? GPA/Science GPA and MCAT matter most. Get the best recommendations you can. Write a stellar personal statement. Major and undergrad school are not as important.

3. Banking or Consulting?
- Ivy League or Ivy League Equivalent (Harvard, Yale, Penn, MIT, Stanford, CalTech) - Major doesn't matter. You've already been validated. As long as you have above a 3.5, you're good. Engineering or other technical major - need above a 3.3 or so. Networking is easier because there's such a wide alumni base and they heavily recruit on campus.
- Pseudo-Ivy Private Schools (Duke, Northwestern, etc.) - Should have above a 3.5 GPA and network extensively with alumni. No undergrad business program so if you're a Math, Economics, or Engineering student you have a greater chance but it's also more competitive. If you have a strong GPA in another major, you'll still get looks.
- Top Public School (UC Berkeley, Michigan, etc.) - You're better off if you're in the Business School or at the Engineering school with a top 15% of your class type ranking. Strong alumni representation in these fields
- Top 50 but not those other schools above - Pretty much only get any attention if you're a top student (3.8+ GPA) at the business school or a top engineer (3.5+ GPA). Not as much on campus recruiting activity.

4. Product Management: Better off if you're a Top 15 school student with a technical (software engineering) type of background or very strong. Will need a very high GPA if not an engineer (3.7+)

5. Financial/Public Accounting: Pretty much need a good GPA with an Accounting major to get this job. Usually need a Master's in Accounting and a CPA. School rank doesn't matter much. Will need at least a 3.2+ GPA

6. HR - can come from a variety of majors and schools but need HR internship experience or some other "in" typically. Decent GPA required (3.2+)

7. Engineering of any kind: Need an engineering major and decent GPA (usually 2.9+). School rank doesn't matter as much. Just need to be at an accredited school and have the right skills.

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Theresa’s Answer

The short answer is that it really depends on the discipline, so I suggest looking more into the careers you are interested in and researching their educational requirements. Generally, companies care more about your experience, from academics to extracurriculars. This means that your college major would matter more than your university based on this idea. For example, in engineering, employers don't necessarily care what school you come from, yet you need to demonstrate to them that you are qualified for the job. With your major, classes, and extracurriculars, you are able to show to the company that you should get the job. On the flip side of the coin, there are fields where your alma mater matters very much because they show prestige or a good reputation in your field. These schools may be called "feeder schools", especially when it comes to the top companies in law, finance, and business.

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Rebecca’s Answer

In some professional area, e.g. Law, Medical, etc., it requires the qualification earned in that particular subject in order to ensure you have the knowledge to perform the job. Other than these professional position, companies would also consider the personality and skills of the candidate rather than the particular major study.

In general, the undergraduate studies give the students the training on the knowledge on the major they choose and also other soft skills training, e.g. analysis, communication, design, etc. This is also important elements that companies would consider.

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Ari’s Answer

It depends on the school you went to, major and what job you are applying for. Most of the time companies will care more about your major and the classes that you took and how they will apply to the job that you might get. This is especially the case in the business world. Sometimes it is more about the skills that you have too.

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Gloria’s Answer

I have not had a company care about where I went to school, although it depends on your major. For example, a Business degree from a well known business school can influence the hiring process. However, many degrees can lay the foundation for a variety of different jobs. For example, I am an Instructional Designer. I have a Masters Degree in Instructional and Performance Technology. However, many people I work with either have no college degree or degrees in other subjects such as English, Business, Secondary Education, or Computer Science. Experience also plays a role. If you know what you want to do in college, getting into that field, even before finishing college, can be important. Finding a job can be challenging since it can be so different. I once had a Manager who would never hire an Instructional Designer or Supervisor with a PhD. He found them too difficult to manage and need considered their applications. Whenever possible, learn as much as you can about the company you want to work for and what their culture tells you about what they may be looking for in your application.

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Keith’s Answer

While both the college you attended and your major are factors in the hiring process, companies are also very interested in your experience, drive, and ambition. It's important to show enthusiasm and critical thinking skills in any position you are applying for. Also, you want to be knowledgeable about the company and role you are applying for. Do some research about the company and position that can help you with your cover letter and/or job interviews.

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Kyung’s Answer

As many have already mentioned, it does depend on the situation but I think the most important factors are your major, grade, and experience.

This is from my personal experience:
When choosing a candidate, companies typically align the resume based on the major that corresponds to the job position.
They look for any relevant experience (for new college hires - it would be relevant courses, projects, and potential internships) that would set a good foundation for the job.
For IS, BTA, and CS major - GPA of 3.3 or above would be ideal, but experiences such as internships and projects can make up for it (in my opinion)

I wouldn't say the college you graduate from would be the determining factor for companies (top colleges/Ivy league may be a plus).

Most important thing would be:
Relevant Major, Courses, School Projects (I would write down what you did in the project and software you used to use to build in your resume), and Internships that are relevant to the career path.