Does University Brand Actually Matter When Choosing a University?

Does University Brand Actually Matter When Choosing a University?

September 7, 2019 2 By Stanley Isaacs


– What’s up guys, it’s Rowan here from Art of Smart TV. Now I hear stories where students have turned down
scholarships at universities like Macquarie, you know where I am today UTS, Western Sydney, because they really want
to go to Sydney University, UNSW, Melbourne or INU In other words, they’ve
turned down a scholarship, a lot of money, a lot of opportunity to go to a bigger brand University. Does brand actually matter, right? That’s what we’re going to look at here. Does it matter what university you go to? And does it matter what
brand the university has, in terms of your long term? Let’s find out in this video, because I’m going to share with you when brand does matter. but also when brand doesn’t matter, to help you make a better decision about what course and what university you attend when you finish school. (upbeat instrumental music) So the first thing that you
really need to think about is that ultimately, it’s not your friends
opinions that matter. No, it’s not whether or not your friends think a university is cool. Or if you get to wear a hoodie, right, with, you know, brand name
University on the front, so that you can walk around looking cool. Ultimately, you’re going to university because you want to get a job, right? I’m assuming so. And so therefore, the
opinion that really matters is the opinion of employers,
and what they say. And they’re going to have
a very different opinion relating to brand, than what you or your friends
might have or believe. Now, it’s really interesting. There’s a think tank and
research organization called the Grattan Institute, that are based in Melbourne. And they did a study recently, which was published in
The Sydney Morning Herald, which looked at, you know, to what degree does the university
you attend matter, right? And that was matter in
terms of employability and salary earnings, as well. And what they found
was really interesting, they found that the university
you attended, didn’t matter. What did matter, though, was
the degree that you studied. And I think this is important, because you know, if
you speak to employees that’s something that they
understand themselves as well, that actually the degree matters more than the overall brand
that a university may have. So employers understand and realize that certain universities have expertise in producing really fantastic graduates in certain faculties. And that’s the really important part here, it’s about the specific faculties rather than the overall
brand of the university. So as an example, a university might have a fantastic overall brand, but they might actually suck at a particular faculty and discipline. And employers may not
actually want to hire graduates from that university as much, because, you know, the
university doesn’t have a specialization or an
expertise in that area. So you know, for example, you know, UTS as a university, is fantastic and has an amazing reputation for engineering graduates, so does Wollongong University. On the flip side,
Macquarie, where I’m today, has a really fantastic reputation for producing fantastic psychologists and actuaries and geologists. So my point being here is that often that the broad brand that you think about
relating to universities, doesn’t actually connect
to what employers look at, at more specific faculty level. And so what you need to be thinking about is for the degree that
you’re wanting to study, what’s the university’s reputation for the degree, not overall. And so one of the ways
that you can identify that is to go and look at the global
rankings for universities, because they actually go
down to a granular level down to faculty level, so that you can actually see, how does the faculty itself right, and rank globally and then in Australia, so that you can get a better sense of which faculty and which University has the strength in
that particular faculty. Now, of course, the next best thing and perhaps even more important, is see if you can go and
speak to some employers. Find out from them? Okay, you know, is there a university that they tend to prefer, because of the type of graduates
that university produces. Cause I think what you’ll find is that actually, some of the big universities, the Ivy League’s, the Sandstones, you know, the the Sydney, the Melbourne, the INU, the UNSW, which are fantastic
universities, for many things aren’t actually going to necessarily be the best choice for certain degrees that you may want to do. And they may be other universities that are just as good, maybe not overall from
a brand point of view but specifically for the
degree that you want to study. So that’s principle number one, you need to look at the specific degree, not the total university, because that’s going to be more important. So do you want to be a
small fish in a big pond or big fish in a small pond? Right, one of the challenges
with going to one of you know, the the bigger
universities that have, you know, maybe the really big brand, so let’s just say it’s
Sydney Uni, it’s UNSW, it’s a Melbourne, it’s an INU, the Ivy League’s, for example, in Australia, the Sandstones, is that you’re a small fish in a big pond, you’re one of many students. And that can mean you don’t build a strong relationship
with academics, and you don’t get as
many great opportunities as you might, if you were
a big fish in a small pond. Instead of going to, you
know, a small university, you know, where you might
get more opportunities, and I see this happen all the time. You know, I see students that elect, either because of a certain degree or scholarship opportunity to
go to a smaller university, right, so, you know, Macquarie or UTS are hardly small universities. But certainly, I think from
speaking to students, you know, considered maybe not quite the same as a Sandstone University. And yet, because these
students are a bigger fish, so to speak, in a smaller pond, they really rip so many more benefits. So as an example, they build better relationships with the academics at the university, which then leads to greater opportunities long term in the job market, and with, you know, sort of
postgraduate study and PhD. Secondly, they also get more
leadership opportunities, because, you know, they’re maybe standing
out a little bit more at the small university. You know, they’re the go to person, you know, the university ambassador, you know, they’re featured in all of the university sort of magazines, and they get more speaking
opportunities at events. And the whole point here is that they get a lot more opportunity to actually develop and distinguish and differentiate themselves, because they’re the bigger
fish in a smaller pond. And so this is actually where it can be really, really beneficial and strategic, to go to a university
that isn’t necessarily, you know, the, the Ivy League
of Australia or the Sandstone. because of the fact that
you’re going to actually get more support, and
get better opportunities. What if you want to work overseas, you know if you’re thinking my people, I want to go and get a
job globally, somewhere. And so really, that means that to give myself the best
chance of getting that job, I want to have the most recognizable university name brand on my resume. And that sort of makes
practical sense, doesn’t it? That’s why most people
choose ultimately right, to go to a UNSW or USYD and
INU and Melbourne university because they’ve got that
global brand, you know, they’re ranked the highest in Australia, in terms of global rankings. But honestly, right is that
actually how you get a job? When you go to work overseas? Well, look, in some cases, it might be you apply directly to the company, and they’re looking at your CV, and they look at your,
you know, your degree, and they go, well, Sydney Uni, oh UNSW like recognizable at names, but honestly, what’s going
to make the bigger difference is your work experience, they’re going to be looking much more at what work you have done
and who you have done it for. And in fact, you know, I have plenty of friends, so many friends that have
worked overseas, right, the US, the UK, you know,
throughout Asia, Hong Kong, China, and in most cases, in almost all cases, the way they got their job was that they worked for a
company in Australia first that was a multinational, that had offices overseas, and they got the job here. And then they transferred offices, and they did work in the US, or in China or wherever the country was. And then once they were there, they then look to jump ship to go to other employment opportunities. And so my point in sharing all of this is that yes, you know, having
a globally recognized brand does matter to an extent if
you want to work globally. So if you’re thinking yes, I want to get overseas fast, having a global brand name
as your university can help. But ultimately, what is going
to make the biggest difference over time is ultimately the
experience that you have the companies that you’ve worked for. And if you’re working
for a big multinational, they have a global brand in of themselves. And so that’s the way that
you can actually bounce it, go to a great Australian University, and then work for you know, a multinational that has a global brand. And then you’ve got really
what you need anyway, to make that transition
to working overseas. So the fourth principle
to think about here in terms of whether branding matters or not for your university, is the question of whether or not you want to go into research. So you might be thinking, great, I want to, you know, I
want to go into university, I want to be an academic, I want to do postgraduate study, I want to get my PhD, and then I want to be
a full time researcher. And so to what extent does it matter well look to a degree certainly right, you know, the better ranked
globally, your university is, the better it is because ultimately, a lot of your work as a
researcher will take you global. It’s a really, really key part of going and being an academic will end up being traveling and working at different universities around the world. And of course, you know,
having a stronger global brand can help here. But being really honest, once again, academics also know, right, which universities have a better reputation for certain things, because, you know, certain universities will produce much more
research on certain topics. So even though they might
have a great brand, overall, they might not be particularly well known for a particular field. So you could go to
Sydney Uni, for example, you know, or, you know,
Melbourne University, and actually find out, a plane is going past,
let’s forget the plane. My point being is you could
end up going, you know, studying at Sydney University, cause you think the brand’s great, but then discover that they produce hardly any research in that area. And no one really cares about you in the academic circles globally, because your university doesn’t have a brand for
that particular area. So really, once again,
nailing the specific faculty and making sure that the university has a reputation for that
specific degree and research area is really more important overall than necessarily the total global rank. Although ideal world, if you’re wanting to go into research, you’re probably wanting to
find the best of both, right. A university that’s got
a great global rank, and also happens to be freaking amazing at the area that you want to focus on. But that’s not always possible, because some more smaller
niche universities, ultimately have a niche, right, they’re an expert in certain areas. And so you might not be able to get both, and that’s okay. As long as you know that
the university is an expert in the area that you’re
interested in pursuing to be an academic in. So that is the final principle. So overall, what I hope this
has got you thinking about is that honestly, it’s not the university
that matters as much, it’s the degree that you do, and then what reputation
that university has in that degree. And ultimately, that’s
going to vary a lot. A university might have
a poor overall brand but might be great at a particular area, and vice versa. So it really shows that you
need to do your research really, really critically, don’t write off the university, because you know, your
friends sort of like raise an eyebrow or laugh or scoff at you because it’s not, you know,
the Ivy League Sandstone, the critical thing is over the long term, it’s not your friends opinions that matter about which university you go to, or how cool you look
wearing you know the hoodie with, you know, the brand
University name on it. It’s actually more important
what employers think ultimately because they’re
the ones that you know, like that are going to be paying you and you’re ultimately going
to university to get a job, I’m assuming. So if you have any questions about this, leave a comment below. I’d love to hear your questions. If you have any experiences
navigating this journey as well, I’d love to hear what you have to say. Leave a comment. Of course if you haven’t already, hit the subscribe button. We do videos every single week. And that means I will see you next week.