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Topic Title: Graduation university, does it really make a difference?
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Created On: 11 December 2012 11:50 PM
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 11 December 2012 11:50 PM
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MatthewGent

Posts: 3
Joined: 15 November 2010

I am currently an BEng Aerospace Engineering at Sheffield Hallam University (a metropolitan university) and my work is going very well. I am currently faced with a choice.

I can either continue to do my MEng year at my current university, or move to Manchester to complete my masters at The University of Manchester (a red brick).

The problem is, due to the increase in tuition fees, attending Manchester will cost me an extra £6,000, however on my CV it shall say that I graduated from a red brick university.

I guess my question is, to all those professional engineers out there, is it worth it? Does your graduation university truely make a difference?
 12 December 2012 03:07 PM
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westonpa

Posts: 1771
Joined: 10 October 2007

If you want to work for NASA yes it does and if you want to work for the local chip shop then it does not. Basically for the very top companies it will matter but as you move down to the vast majority of companies it will matter less or else not matter at all; they will be more interested in grades and other apects about your experience, background, character, etc., as it will be the person who works for them and not the degree.

Regards.
 12 December 2012 11:32 PM
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MatthewGent

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Joined: 15 November 2010

Thanks for your reply,

I feel I should go for the University of Manchester's degree, however, would it also make a difference if the degree at Manchester is an MSc (not accredited) and the Sheffield Hallam degree is an MEng? I've heard engineers saying that becoming chartered made almost no difference to their career, is that true?

Regards,
Matthew
 13 December 2012 09:13 AM
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amillar

Posts: 1918
Joined: 28 May 2002

You can get Chartered whether or not your degree is accredited - you just have to give a bit more evidence (and it may take a bit longer) if not. So don't worry about that.

Whether it is important or not depends on the industry you are going into. For aerospace it may be, but the way to find out is to look at the job adverts and see if it is in the list of requirements. But in practice if it is important your company will help you get it anyway.

Far more important is whether your further degree gives you knowledge and experience which will be genuinly useful to employers. Does it include any work experience? Is it purely research, or is it covering "hands on" skills? Is it going to make your knowledge narrow and detailed or broader? Is the work team based or individual? None of these are "right" or "wrong", but they will define the range of jobs you will be considered for.

Remember that academia is obsessed with academia, and the tiny distinctions between different degrees and universities. Out here in industry we neither know or care: we just want to see interview candidates who are passionate about the subject, know how to use their knowledge to solve real problems, can work well in a team, and will turn up at 9:00 and put in a hard days work. You're most likely to end up as that person if you've done a course which you enjoy with enthusiastic people around you: those are the things to look for.

And again, look at job adverts in the field you're interested in and see what degrees are being asked for. That's the best guide.

(P.S. I have never employed anyone with a Masters degree. All my design engineers - who are a world class electronics research team working in a safety-critical field - have Bachelors or (in one specialist case) PhD. I have interviewed candidates with Masters, but so far the Bachelors students have always come over better. There's nothing wrong with Masters degrees, I got one myself this year, but you need to be sure that it's what your chosen industry and career needs.)

Good luck!

-------------------------
Andy Millar CEng MIET CMgr MCMI

http://www.linkedin.com/in/millarandy

"The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress." Joseph Joubert
 13 December 2012 12:49 PM
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MAWilson

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Joined: 22 February 2006

In my experience where you graduate does play some significance but only in the fact that there is a more likelihood for certain jobs/industries to get to the interviewing stages of recruitment. This is not an automatic barrier and a well written application will still get you in the door which is your chance to sell yourself so to speak. If you've got to the interview, there will be no question of qualification but whether you have the technical acumen, attitude and understanding of the business in making an investment in your development.

I graduated from a former poly a few years ago myself and had these anxieties as well but persisted and kept a positive attitude and was able to get on a grad scheme; there were 21 selected out of a candidacy pool of about 1000.

I should also say that I was rejected from an oil & gas engineering consultancy group based on the fact that I didn't graduate from a top ten university. It did hurt a little since the minimum was a 2:2 and I had a 1st but there are always exeptions.

The red brick status does help alittle at first glance but never doubt your own potential. Good luck, I know its getting tougher and tougher out there for graduates.

MWilson BEng (Hons) MIET
 13 December 2012 07:09 PM
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MatthewGent

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After reading both of these replies I definitely feel more informed on this matter and I thank you. To conclude, I think that having a Masters from Manchester would be much more useful as it will help me get onto the bottom rung of the aerospace ladder. Although the Sheffield Hallam degree is accredited, I would much rather worry about chartership once I am sat behind a desk with a stable salary!

Many thanks MWilson & Andy Millar, your insight was most useful.
Matthew Gent
 14 December 2012 02:41 PM
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westonpa

Posts: 1771
Joined: 10 October 2007

Originally posted by: MatthewGent
Although the Sheffield Hallam degree is accredited, I would much rather worry about chartership once I am sat behind a desk with a stable salary!

That is your key consideration today and a very good one to keep in mind and also remember that whatever the cost of your education today the value of it will be measured over a lifetime. So if you need to invest a bit more today in order to have more options in the future then do it.

Regards.
 02 January 2013 01:33 PM
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denisav

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Joined: 02 January 2013

It makes a difference, if the school is really good - like yours. Having many years of recruitment experience, I can tell that education from mediocre university is nearly invisible, but having a really good school in your CV is a huge plus.
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 03 January 2013 07:44 PM
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mbirdi

Posts: 1907
Joined: 13 June 2005

Originally posted by: westonpa
If you want to work for NASA yes it does and if you want to work for the local chip shop then it does not.

I remember as a school lad in hertfordshire, a local paper report about an HND graduate in Acoustics from Hatfield Polytechnique was offered a job at NASA. Perhaps Acoustics was a new subject then and Hatfield were at the forefront?

Signed
Chip shop engineer

Originally posted by: MatthewGent
I've heard engineers saying that becoming chartered made almost no difference to their career, is that true?

That doesn't surprise me. Chartered engineers don't work as chartered engineers, but as engineers, team leaders, managers, company directors etc. There is no such job role as chartered engineer in the UK.

There was a salary survey done by the I.o.Physics several years ago. In it 3 candidates were the highest earning, over £200K. Two of them were Associate members. The I.o.P suggested they must be proud of retaining their AM grade. As for CEng members, well they were earning around £40k - £60k.

Edited: 03 January 2013 at 07:56 PM by mbirdi
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