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How much does prestige translate into the real world?

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    I've often wondered this, whether despite the adamant claims of many that there is a rigid hierarchy of prestige and your universities place upon this hierarchy will determine you career trajectory, whether actually prestige matters very little indeed.

    I know there are some professions, notably the legal 'magic circle' and parts of the financial sector that have a kind of 'Oxbridge obsession' and that, whether or not it is true, Oxbridge certainly has the best brand name in Britain (apart from for a few select subjects).

    But outside of these, does it matter? There are endlessly aggressive battles about whether UCL is better than LSE, or whether Warwick and KCL are on a similar level, but, for future prospects, something tells me they are all about the same.

    Most successful people are not successful because of the university they attended, but because of their ability, which may not be reflected by their university.

    Whaddya reckon?
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    Apart from subjects like Medicine where it doesn't really mean ****, yes prestige is hugely important. Between two very good unis like UCL and LSE of somewhat equal reputation, it probably doesnt make a huge difference, and I dont think people are THAT bothered about which they attend if they are already top tier like that. But in general, it makes all the difference in the world, if you are comparing a top uni with an average or poor one.
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    (Original post by confusedexcited)
    Most successful people are not successful because of the university they attended, but because of their ability, which may not be reflected by their university.
    But it usually is, because universities have different entry requirements, so there is a basic academic filtering process going on at the entry point.

    Yes, there are AAA students who go to their local uni on a EE course for family reasons, and there are EE A level students who find their vocation/motivation and get a 1st and go on to do a PhD (at either Oxford or Cambridge!). But the point is that we all hear of those stories because they are so rare.

    People are successful because they word hard and have talents, getting into a good university is often part of the development of that success. There are other, less frequently trodden paths.
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    (Original post by bertstare)
    Apart from subjects like Medicine where it doesn't really mean ****, yes prestige is hugely important. Between two very good unis like UCL and LSE of somewhat equal reputation, it probably doesnt make a huge difference, and I dont think people are THAT bothered about which they attend if they are already top tier like that. But in general, it makes all the difference in the world, if you are comparing a top uni with an average or poor one.
    Yes, but what I was trying to argue is that there are 'tiers' of university, and all the universities within those tiers have the same prestige.

    e.g. UCL = Durham = KCL = Warwick = Edinburgh
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    (Original post by confusedexcited)
    Yes, but what I was trying to argue is that there are 'tiers' of university, and all the universities within those tiers have the same prestige.

    e.g. UCL = Durham = KCL = Warwick = Edinburgh
    What you have is not tiers at all but a continuum which is fuzzy because all universities have strengths (and rare courses) and all universities have weak departments where they bat respectively above and below their general performance level.
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    I do wonder how much outside of certain paths your uni matters.
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    Prestige still won't help you much if you don't have certain skills. Those uni's can probably provide you with great opportunities, but it's still up to you to actually make something out of it.
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    During my time on TSR the thing I have read over and over, from people who are looking for employment, people who work in employment, is that prestige is not a massively important factor in the real world. Saying it is not a factor at all is a lie, but it is one of many, and I think things like the actual degree are far more important. Generally, the people who seem to think prestige is the be all and end all are ironically GCSE or A-level students who don't actually have a clue. And I'm not speaking Oxford vs. London Met here, I'm talking about people who have massive problems deciding between two equally prestigious universities because they're focusing on such a minor aspect, as if making the wrong decision will destroy their life.
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    It's not that prestige doesn't translate into real-world circumstance but that what is constitutive of prestige changes over time. As a simple formulation I might suggest "you're as good as your last 3 years". On that basis, at 21 your A-levels still matter; at 24 they do not but your 3 year old degree is still bearing on prospects; at 27, what you were doing between 24 and 27 is going to weigh more heavily...
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    (Original post by cambio wechsel)
    It's not that prestige doesn't translate into real-world circumstance but that what is constitutive of prestige changes over time. As a simple formulation I might suggest "you're as good as your last 3 years". On that basis, at 21 your A-levels still matter; at 24 they do not but your 3 year old degree is still bearing on prospects; at 27, what you were doing between 24 and 27 is going to weigh more heavily...
    I like that phrase, I may steal it.


    (Original post by perlsh)
    Prestige still won't help you much if you don't have certain skills. Those uni's can probably provide you with great opportunities, but it's still up to you to actually make something out of it.
    That's the way I look at it, it matters more what you do during your degree, than where it comes from!
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    Striving away from the a point a little bit, is there a big difference between Bristol and Nottingham in terms of prestige, I mean will I be putting myself at much disadvantage in terms of employability if I chose Notts over Bristol?
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    (Original post by Minotauro)
    Striving away from the a point a little bit, is there a big difference between Bristol and Nottingham in terms of prestige, I mean will I be putting myself at much disadvantage in terms of employability if I chose Notts over Bristol?
    No.
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    (Original post by confusedexcited)
    Yes, but what I was trying to argue is that there are 'tiers' of university, and all the universities within those tiers have the same prestige.

    e.g. UCL = Durham = KCL = Warwick = Edinburgh
    And St Andrews!
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    (Original post by KCosmo)
    And St Andrews!
    Yes, and St. Andrews after all, william and kate went there!


    (Original post by Minotauro)
    Striving away from the a point a little bit, is there a big difference between Bristol and Nottingham in terms of prestige, I mean will I be putting myself at much disadvantage in terms of employability if I chose Notts over Bristol?
    You've rather beautifully just illustrated the point made by someone further above.. And, I can't remember where, but I read in a graduate survey that the universities that produced the most employable graduates were Oxbridge, UoL, Manchester and Nottingham..
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    I don't think that the preponderance of Oxbridge-educated people in top professions is solely based on prestige.

    It just so happens that they are generally extremely clever and highly motivated. Surely that is just what is required for these jobs?
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    (Original post by Aspiringlawstudent)
    I don't think that the preponderance of Oxbridge-educated people in top professions is solely based on prestige.

    It just so happens that they are generally extremely clever and highly motivated. Surely that is just what is required for these jobs?
    Spot on.
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    When you're 40, and hosting a dinner party with all your middle aged friends, if you went to Oxbridge you can say so, and your middle aged friends will give approving nods as they tuck into their salmon en croute. If you went to Thames Valley, you won't be able to do that.

    That's pretty much it.
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    (Original post by confusedexcited)
    I've often wondered this, whether despite the adamant claims of many that there is a rigid hierarchy of prestige and your universities place upon this hierarchy will determine you career trajectory, whether actually prestige matters very little indeed.

    I know there are some professions, notably the legal 'magic circle' and parts of the financial sector that have a kind of 'Oxbridge obsession' and that, whether or not it is true, Oxbridge certainly has the best brand name in Britain (apart from for a few select subjects).

    But outside of these, does it matter? There are endlessly aggressive battles about whether UCL is better than LSE, or whether Warwick and KCL are on a similar level, but, for future prospects, something tells me they are all about the same.

    Most successful people are not successful because of the university they attended, but because of their ability, which may not be reflected by their university.

    Whaddya reckon?
    Think about it this way. Employers want the best people. The highest concentration of good people are at the best unis. While of course there will be extremely gifted people at other unis, generally Oxbridge and the like have more of them. This is mainly due to their admissions procedure etc.

    Employers also want to make it easy for themselves. Why trawl through applications from top 100 unis to find the 5 or 10 people who may be good enough for their company, when they can look through applications from top 5 unis and find hundreds of people who they can interview and are extremely qualified.
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    My translator is on vacation, I'll get back to you when he's around...
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    tbh getting some decent work experience is going to be 1000x more valuable than going to a "prestigious" university.

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