Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Should I attend a different grad school than where I went to college?

Posted September 19, 2020 by

If an employer has 100 recruiters working on 1,000 requisitions, you can bet that you’re going to get somewhat different answers from each of the 100 recruiters and some of those recruiters will give you a different answer depending on the requisitions they’re working on.

To further complicate things, at College Recruiter, we’ve been seeing for about five years a substantial increase in the minority of employers who have become major and even school agnostic, meaning that they don’t really care what the candidate’s major or even school is. No doubt those are absolutely critical to some organizations and for some roles, but fewer organizations care about either. One of the reasons they care less is that they’re doing a better job of evaluating candidates based on their likely productivity numbers instead of factors like how many hires they get per source (i.e., school, career fair, job board). 

What many employers are telling us is that the candidates they hire from second- and even third-tier schools are more productive than those they hire from first-tier schools. It isn’t that the first-tier schools are doing a bad job of preparing students for the workforce. Instead, it is that the students who graduate from first-tier schools tend to have more job choices and so move from employer-to-employer more frequently and that reduces their productivity. 

Another factor is the significantly increased emphasis by many of the largest employers in improving their diversity, equity, and inclusion hiring and retention efforts. If they largely confine their hiring efforts to their traditional, core schools then, by definition, their hiring will not be diverse nor equitable nor inclusive. 

So, bottom line, the answer is, “it depends”. Some employers will value more candidates who attended different schools for their undergraduate versus graduate schools. Some will only care about which graduate school you attended. Some won’t care at all. And, even within those employers, you’ll get different answers from different recruiters and for different jobs.

If it were my kid asking the question, I would tell them to include their undergraduate school in their list of potential graduate schools if they felt they would get a good education attending its graduate school. But I would also tell them that they’re likely to get a better education if they switched because the experiences would be more dissimilar. They’ll have more life experiences, and it is those experiences that allow us to grow as people and be better able to do better work for our employers.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Posted in Career Advice for Job Seekers | Tagged