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Old 01-07-2008, 10:21 AM   #1
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Default Does the university really matter? Or is there is a difference between local and overseas universities?

Yes, the university of course does matter. But more so, it depends on what an individual gets out of the experience. So a person who goes overseas but studies all day long or who cannot adjust, will definitely learn less than someone who goes local but participates fully in student life.

If you are talking about how employers feel, then of course it is sad but true that having a good brand name university matters a lot. Ivy leagues, Oxford, Cambridge are all top tier and naturally are valued by employers. But life is not all about rankings, so think carefully about it.
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Old 01-25-2008, 10:15 AM   #2
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It's all a matter of choice. However, it would be better to enter universities that have a long history which are "tried and tested" (aka "old" universities). However, there is a need to be careful when deciding on overseas and local universities. Local employers, especially "old" companies still have an outdated mindset that local universities are the best, the best in Singapore but not in the world. In actual fact, local universities are still "average" as compared to their foreign counterparts. Hence, follow your heart..and do not base your decision purely on rankings or other indicators. There are always chances to prove yourself, no matter which university you are from.
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Old 03-06-2008, 05:36 PM   #3
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Default Overseas or local? Which is better?

Q : In terms of educational opportunities and learning experiences, is it better to study overseas?

A : As for overseas studies, it really depends on the individual. Put it this way, if you study locally and spend a lot of time of CCA's, developing your skills outside of school etc, you will be considered a good talent and your university days considered well spent. If you go overseas and just stay indoors all the time playing computer games, then the exposure will not be good.

of course all things equal, many employers do notice that students who study overseas tend to be more vocal , assertive and independent. But again this is just a general observation. There are also many many vocal, assertive and independent local graduates.
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Old 03-12-2008, 08:41 AM   #4
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students often get the impression that studying overseas is better or more prestigious than studying in Singapore. not true. (and i study overseas, so this is not sour grapes!!! haha)

studying overseas is not the holy grail
. there are a lot of things you should consider before going overseas to study. adapting to different environment, different people, different culture. some days things get real crazy. let's just leave it at that for now
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Old 03-22-2008, 12:59 PM   #5
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kyrii, where are you studying?
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Old 03-29-2008, 02:38 AM   #6
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It's all about branding.

Think about the doors that a Harvard or MIT degree that are open to one which a NUS degree can never open.
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Old 03-29-2008, 09:46 PM   #7
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the degree will really help you only at the first door though. but it may be a very very big help.
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Old 03-30-2008, 01:28 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LockT31W View Post
the degree will really help you only at the first door though. but it may be a very very big help.
The first door is a huge thing.

With a brand name degree, you are at the top tier if you think of a reverse pyramid. The no. of doors open to you is the most. Then as you taper downwards, the no. of doors are less and less. If you have a brand name degree like Harvard or MIT, even if you want to go to a crappy company and fight with the NUS arts degree holders, you can as well. It's just a matter of OPTIONS.
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Old 03-30-2008, 04:26 PM   #9
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Just to add to this discussion. It is PC to say that first door does not matter so much and that it is ultimately performance that matters. But having said this and knowing what I knowing (33 this year, 8 years of career experience), I can tell you that is much truth is this. It is akin to our suggestion that for top students to select branded universities over lesser branded ones if all else is close to equal and where in doubt to go for branding.

For first job, i hate to say this but there is some truth in it. People will always be keen to meet someone who say is working in Google or Accenture, or IBM or JP Morgan or Goldman Sachs or GIC or Admin Service. Of course performance and all that matters but brand name employers does open doors.

But the good news is that for the less lucky and for those of us who do not have great pedigrees for one reason or another, there are always many ways to get what you want. So you cannot get a job at Goldman, what did you want? Money? Cannot be the crazy hours right?, then maybe you have a talent for trading. See that fella Clement Chiang, I do not know and definitely do not want to be involved in his options trading business and theories, but he makes a heck of a lot of money.

I for one believe strongly in mutiple paths to individual success. that is why I am very happy whenever I see a TCS actor/actress or a fashion designer or an entpreneur, local uni grad, poly grad etc make it good. that is what makes life fun!
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Old 04-01-2008, 02:52 AM   #10
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More to add to this.

There are several fields of study where going local and overseas do not matter. There are law, medicine and dentistry.

I am quite sure an NUS law grad does not command lower pay substantially than a law grad from Oxford, though the latter has a branded degree. If the former is on the dean's list, his starting pay is higher than his peers who are not substantially and also will be higher than an Oxford grad not on dean's list!

Medicine graduates as well. If i'm not wrong however, foreign medicine graduates did not enjoy the government subsidy, and can move to private practice earlier than local medicine graduates. This is how they can get higher salaries. However a foreign medicine graduate who chooses to stay in the public sector will not command a higher pay than a local medicine graduate that chooses the same.

The brand of the degree REALLY matters a lot more if you're talking about general degrees. That's when the difference is pronounced.

For eg an Oxford PPE graduate has many more open doors and easily commands a much higher salary and has job offers from top banks and consultancies than a local NUS FASS grad can only dream of.

Other courses of study like engineering, general science (physics, chemistry, etc) and Mathematics, a branded degree opens more doors and in higher places than local one. Why? Because for these courses, the brand really matters since the course is not (as) specialised. Engineering graduates from IC and Cambridge can apply and get job offers from top banks and consultancies, which local engineering grads do not. Same for the other courses. I know a couple of investment bankers who got Maths degree from IC, and analysts and consultants who got Sci/Engin degree from IC/Oxbridge/IvyLeague/MIT. Local grads from these disciplines do not get the same opportunities as them.

This is where the course you choose matters. So if you're doing medicine or law, it's better to do local and can save more money, unless you are willing to pay a premium for the overseas undergrad experience.

Mingling with the people in top overseas universities, who may be heirs of huge empires and princes of royal families and having a nobel laureate as your lecturer are just some of the benefits you pay for shelling out so much more money to go abroad.
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