SINGAPORE: An incoming university student took to an online forum on Tuesday (May 7) to ask Singaporeans, “Do employers really care about what university you’re from?”

In her post, she mentioned receiving offers from the prestigious Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD).

“My parents (old, traditional mindset, stubborn) have been asking me to go to NTU since it’s well-established and well known, claiming that employers are more likely to hire NTU graduates due to the school’s status,” she wrote.

However, she disagreed with this viewpoint, expressing doubt about the importance employers place on university pedigree.

Despite feeling grateful and privileged for the opportunity to study at NTU and being content with their curriculum, she noted that the specific courses offered to her at NTU had limited career pathways.

In contrast, attending SUTD would give her more time and experience, particularly through their Freshmore program, to explore and choose a specialization rather than commit to a course immediately.

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“I am still leaning towards SUTD, but because of what my entire household has been saying (go to NTU, better status, better employment, etc. which I know is true to a certain extent lah) so I’ve been getting swayed.”

“Can anyone confirm whether employers actually care what university you are from? or what is important? Gpa?”

“I can assure you that recruiters and hiring managers do care”

In the comments section, Singaporean Redditors had varying opinions regarding whether employers show a preference for graduates from prestigious universities.

Some Redditors emphasized that employers do consider the candidate’s university, especially when they have limited work experience.

They also stated numerous advantages to graduating from one of Singapore’s top universities, known as the ‘Big’3’—NUS, NTU, and SMU—because these institutions are highly valued by recruiters and hiring managers.

One Redditor, actively involved in recruitment within the tech sector, wrote: “I can assure you that recruiters and hiring managers do care. Not just the university, but also the course taken and even the modules done.

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For instance, we have strong partnerships with NUS, NTU and SMU, and will specifically go down to campus to give talks, attend career fairs, etc.

The “other 3” are not even considered despite also having good talent because it’s a waste of our time given the fact that the career fairs often fall in the same period.”

Another Redditor highlighted the advantage of NTU’s established reputation over newer institutions like SUTD. He said, “NTU has been around for a longer period of time than SUTD and is thus more established as a university.

What this means is that companies are more familiar with NTU and will probably opt for its graduates as a ‘safer’ pick as compared to those from newer schools.”

However, some Redditors argued that this just depends on the employer. Some companies, they said, were flexible and didn’t make a big deal out of which university the candidate went to.

One Redditor pointed out, “Times have changed and I agree that employers now look at the relevant degree you obtained rather than which local university you graduated from.

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I help my organization hire hundreds of university graduates each year and one of my favorites is actually SIT where they have mature poly students who did 8 months of internship.”

Another Redditor also wrote, “Employer here. I look at your school grades, cca and internship experience because likely this is what you have fresh out of school. This gives me a hint about your work ethic and interest areas.

School brand does add some points but it is not everything. I am interested in your personality and overall fit to my team. Hope that helps.”

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