Going to a "bad" uni and getting a first.

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namzy01
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#1
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#1
I was just wondering what is more important, the prestige of a university or the overall grade you receive from your degree. Like many of my friends have told me that Queen Mary is very bad for a maths degree. However with hard work im sure its very possible to achieve a first class. But even with that are my chances of securing a job less because I did not study at a Russel Group uni? Does this mean that if I went to Warwick or UCL to study mathematics and received a 2:1, my job opportunities as a graduate is greater because I come from a better uni. (Btw im using a maths degree as an example but my question is based on a general level for any degree)
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Tommyjw
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#2
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#2
For the 'majority' of jobs, the degree classification will matter more. Your 1st will do better. Reputation/prestige will hardly matter if there are other differences.
However, when you aim for some of the higher paid or more reputable jobs, the story is different. The degree will still matter a lot, of course, but the university reputation/prestige will start to matter more.

A lot of people on TSR will say different. Will say how much better a better university is, when they have not one single bit of evidence to suggest so.

I remember a BBC News article which showed 70 (something) percent of employers did not take the university in to account at all. With the employers ranging from high paid to low paid and respectable to not. Alas, this is a good year or two old and i cba to try keywords to find it

Edit: Found one slightly relevant article. Not nearly as detailed and stuff as the one i had in mind. But it says this point
'Only 24% of employers interviewed said they were interested in a candidate's class of degree and 14% in the reputation of the university they had attended.'
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poimonkey
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#3
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#3
its something i've always wondered about as well

i think it depends on your prospective employer/who you ask.
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namzy01
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#4
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#4
Do you think that banks actually give a toss about the university you came from or will banks like JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley focus on your academia.
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Nokiacrazi
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#5
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#5
Quite unrelated but if I go to Salford Uni, and I do a BEng there, if I get a decent grade, would it be possible to then do a MEng at Manchester Uni (or somewhere else)?
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Threxy
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#6
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#6
I'm no expert on this topic, but I do think there's too many variables to this question that there's no really hard-and-fast answer, not only the institution and grade itself, but also your actual course and non-university things such as your own personality/work experience. For some fields, the university you attend definitely has an effect on your career prospects - Business and Law to name a few, a person with a 2:1 or 1:1 in Law from somewhere like Manchester will have better prospects than someone from Coventry or Nottingham-Trent. Partly because it's so competitive. But then again my brother graduated from an ex-poly a few years ago and is in a better job than most of his sixth form friends who got into RG universities, but I'm sure he's by no means the rule. Also there's many people who seem to think that anything 'below' Oxford or Cambridge means you've failed at life and doomed to a crap career and we know that's not true, but yeah. It's not really a fun way of thinking.

All this being said, Queen Mary is not a bad university anyways, it's in the top 40. I'm sure it's not the end of the world if that's where you want to study. It doesn't hurt to try and get into the best ranking university you can (afterall it probably will benefit your prospects), but you also must genuinely enjoy where you study as well regardless of where you go. No point going to a place you hate, only to waste 3+ years of your life probably not fulfilling your potential.
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username133326
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#7
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#7
I think it depends.


In an ultra competitive environment where every candidate in perfect, then of course the uni you go to is going to come into it. Think investment banking and the like.

However, for your low-end grad-scheme, it probably won't matter... think supermarket area-manager (inb4 the snobs - £30K/year and a company car at 25 years old....)
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username133326
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#8
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#8
(Original post by Nokiacrazi)
Quite unrelated but if I go to Salford Uni, and I do a BEng there, if I get a decent grade, would it be possible to then do a MEng at Manchester Uni (or somewhere else)?
of course

i'm hoping that if i get at least a 2.1 in Zoology BSc at Bangor, I can get onto Synthetic Biology MSc at Edinburgh
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Aspiringlawstudent
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#9
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#9
(Original post by Threxy)
I'm no expert on this topic, but I do think there's too many variables to this question that there's no really hard-and-fast answer, not only the institution and grade itself, but also your actual course and non-university things such as your own personality/work experience. For some fields, the university you attend definitely has an effect on your career prospects - Business and Law to name a few, a person with a 2:1 or 1:1 in Law from somewhere like Manchester will have better prospects than someone from Coventry or Nottingham-Trent. Partly because it's so competitive. But then again my brother graduated from an ex-poly a few years ago and is in a better job than most of his sixth form friends who got into RG universities, but I'm sure he's by no means the rule. Also there's many people who seem to think that anything 'below' Oxford or Cambridge means you've failed at life and doomed to a crap career and we know that's not true, but yeah. It's not really a fun way of thinking.

All this being said, Queen Mary is not a bad university anyways, it's in the top 40. I'm sure it's not the end of the world if that's where you want to study. It doesn't hurt to try and get into the best ranking university you can (afterall it probably will benefit your prospects), but you also must genuinely enjoy where you study as well regardless of where you go. No point going to a place you hate, only to waste 3+ years of your life probably not fulfilling your potential.
I can't help but feel that perhaps part of the reason graduates from the top universities fare better in entering top professions could be down to their previous performance - if you only got CCD at A-level and went to somewhere like London Metropolitan, even if you get a first you won't find a job at a City law firm, for example; you'll hit a filter and your application won't even be read by a person.

Whereas if you attend a university where the standard offer is AAA, you probably won't have this sort of problem.
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Aspiringlawstudent
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#10
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#10
(Original post by Barden)
I think it depends.


In an ultra competitive environment where every candidate in perfect, then of course the uni you go to is going to come into it. Think investment banking and the like.

However, for your low-end grad-scheme, it probably won't matter... think supermarket area-manager (inb4 the snobs - £30K/year and a company car at 25 years old....)
£30k/year at the age of 25 isn't particularly amazing, if I'm honest...
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username133326
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#11
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#11
(Original post by Aspiringlawstudent)
£30k/year at the age of 25 isn't particularly amazing, if I'm honest...
true, but a company car presumably means insurance and maintenance on said car is included in the package

and thats a starting wage...


i'm only going by rough memory, i think it might be higher than that in some cases... in anycase, it's more than most 25 year olds will earn
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py0alb
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#12
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#12
(Original post by namzy01)
I was just wondering what is more important, the prestige of a university or the overall grade you receive from your degree. Like many of my friends have told me that Queen Mary is very bad for a maths degree. However with hard work im sure its very possible to achieve a first class. But even with that are my chances of securing a job less because I did not study at a Russel Group uni? Does this mean that if I went to Warwick or UCL to study mathematics and received a 2:1, my job opportunities as a graduate is greater because I come from a better uni. (Btw im using a maths degree as an example but my question is based on a general level for any degree)
In terms of how much you've achieved, I would argue that because its so much harder to get a 1st at a low ranked university (some of them have only 1 student in 20 getting firsts, whereas some subjects at top unis almost half get firsts) then you've actually done just as well as a student at a top uni getting a 1st, and can justifiably be equally as proud of yourself.

In terms of "prestige", I would say that a drop of 30 places down the rankings tables very roughly corresponds to a drop of one degree classification. So A 3rd from Oxbridge is roughly as impressive as a 2:2 from a Russell Group uni, is as impressive as a 2:1 from the better ex polys, is as impressive as a 1st from the University of wherethe****isthat. Notice, this is ROUGHLY. If you averaged out all the various opinions and prejudices from everyone in the country, this is roughly how much they would go "ooh smarty pants eh?".
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anniemagnificent
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#13
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#13
(Original post by Aspiringlawstudent)
£30k/year at the age of 25 isn't particularly amazing, if I'm honest...
If you're earning above the average wage by 25 you're doing well, surely? If things like money matter to you, anyway.
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wanderlust.xx
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#14
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#14
(Original post by py0alb)
In terms of how much you've achieved, I would argue that because its so much harder to get a 1st at a low ranked university (some of them have only 1 student in 20 getting firsts, whereas some subjects at top unis almost half get firsts) then you've actually done just as well as a student at a top uni getting a 1st, and can justifiably be equally as proud of yourself.

In terms of "prestige", I would say that a drop of 30 places down the rankings tables very roughly corresponds to a drop of one degree classification. So A 3rd from Oxbridge is roughly as impressive as a 2:2 from a Russell Group uni, is as impressive as a 2:1 from the better ex polys, is as impressive as a 1st from the University of wherethe****isthat. Notice, this is ROUGHLY. If you averaged out all the various opinions and prejudices from everyone in the country, this is roughly how much they would go "ooh smarty pants eh?".
What absolute tosh. The reason why said candidates at a low ranked university are doing miserably is not because the course is hard. That's ridiculous logic. They're just morons. The standard of teaching at lower ranked universities is not abysmal, and nor is it sub standard. Simply put, idiots get into low unis, idiots come out of low unis. If by some other reason a first class candidate gets into, say, London Met (family problems, debt, poor A levels as a result of something unrelated to intelligence) then they will get a first as long as said problems in their lives have disappeared. Just because they were the only one does not make them ludicrously clever, it might make everyone else notoriously dumb.

What's more, none of this matters as long as the individual has a drive and a passion to put their education to good use. If you've come out of Imperial and you really couldn't care less whether you get the engineering apprenticeship or not then you won't get the job. If you're extremely intelligent but you don't care, then you'll get the job at first but you'll probably be kicked off, hated or most likely you'll stay in the same abysmal ****hole for the entirety of your existence.
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berkles29
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#15
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#15
The fact is that higher ranking Universities have MUCH higher marking standards than lower ranking Universities. Lower ranking Unis are far more generous with their marks because primarily the standards are lower and secondarily they want a higher proportion of students to do well in order to attract future students precisely because they lack the appeal of prestige. Having a high first class awards rate is how these places try to raise their profile, so they mark more generously using a much wider range, which commonly reaches into the mid 80s percentile, whereas higher ranked Unis will rarely mark above 75%. Unfortunately this means that a 1:1 at poorer Universities is the equivalent of a 2:1 or lower at better ones. You only have to look at the percentage of 1:1s given at Oxford in comparison to that of Leeds or Yorkshire for proof of this. That is why higher ranking Universities have such prestige to begin with.
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priyanka256
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#16
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#16
this is how im feeling. my results arent going well so i might end up in a bad uni. already thinking about the future so if i end in one of them ill need a first.
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gr8wizard10
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#17
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#17
(Original post by namzy01)
Do you think that banks actually give a toss about the university you came from or will banks like JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley focus on your academia.
University prestige plays a huge factor in deciding what applicants to bring forward to interviews.. There are a group of universities called the Targets who have the greatest chance of being put through i.e Oxbridge, LSE, Warwick, Imperial, UCL and then the semi-targets which are your Bristol, St Andrews, York, Cass, Manchester, King's etc.. etc..

Take it from me. I'm working on the path to IB and have experienced this university segregation first class in both my internships and assessment centres. Needless to say, if you do make it to interviews, then the rest is up to the individual as the university doesn't factor as much past initial screening.
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berkles29
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#18
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#18
(Original post by priyanka256)
this is how im feeling. my results arent going well so i might end up in a bad uni. already thinking about the future so if i end in one of them ill need a first.
Not necessarily. You don't need to be a Cambridge graduate to be successful. In any case going to a prestigious University is no gaurauntee of success anyway. It all really depends what you want to do but 90% of people do great with a decent mark (2:1) at a decent Uni and considering there are hundreds of Universities in the UK getting into the top 100 shouldn't be too hard. Unless you want to be a NASA engineer or a top lawyer I wouldn't worry about it.
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priyanka256
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#19
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#19
(Original post by berkles29)
Not necessarily. You don't need to be a Cambridge graduate to be successful. In any case going to a prestigious University is no gaurauntee of success anyway. It all really depends what you want to do but 90% of people do great with a decent mark (2:1) at a decent Uni and considering there are hundreds of Universities in the UK getting into the top 100 shouldn't be too hard. Unless you want to be a NASA engineer or a top lawyer I wouldn't worry about it.
i would still much prefer to go to high ranked uni rather than a low ranked on. its not just the end result, its also the quality of the uni. i visited bcu the other day and thought no way do i want to go here.
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berkles29
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#20
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#20
Yes but on the other hand higher ranking Unis, especially those in the top 10, have more rigourouss and demanding courses and therefore can be far more stressful and pressurizing experiences. Also teaching standards vary massively, some mid range Unis have excellent teachers. You also have to consider the type of students that you will be with. You might not like the average crowd at some prestigious Universities, and for good reason! That being said you should aim for your goals and be determined., but always have a plan B, that's just good sense.
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