The importance of reputation in higher education

Posted by: admin at January 6th, 2014

The importance of reputation in higher education is taken as a social given, as well as an identity card for the student who has recently finished schooling and needs to find a job. It is not only seriously taken into consideration by the former student, but by the human resources departments of the companies as well.

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While this is a very common criterion on basis of which the selection process is taking place, there are certain situations in which both the company and the student coming from a less popular education institution are in the position to lose significantly, especially on the long run. From a company’s point of view, an employee with a great resumé who has graduated a very popular university will always have the possibility to get a better job, regardles the conditions the company’s offering. In other words, it’s considerably harder to fidelize an employee who has lots of opportunities ahead, as it is also harder to motivate him do his best in his work.

On the other hand, the student who has graduated an unknown university is constantly motivated. The reason for which he’s in the position to compete with someone who has finished a prestige university in the first place is that he’s a figher: constantly working, very interested and passioned in the field, never giving up something just because it takes lots of resources to happen or work properly.

Another thing that has to be taken into consideration is that this brand equity isn’t necessarily an immutable truth. On the contrary, it is the result of constant scientific results of huge international relevance. And even if the scientific performances do occur on a regular, annual basis, there is no guarantee whatsoever that every single student is capable of producing such relevant concent in the field. This inductive reasoning isn’t necessarily correct, as isn’t its opposite.

Having graduated an unknown university and not having any scientific performance in the area doesn’t immediately clasify you as mediocre, since the problem of poor technolgy still persists and is one of the main grounds on which the scientific results of research are poor. It is, if we may, a vicious circle. The low budget is the cause for inadequate technological equipment, which is the cause for poor scientific results, which, at its turn, is the cause of lack of money and popularity. The student, who is supposed to be the center of interest for the higher education institutions doesn’t get to have anything to say or do, most of the times, to change this state of facts. Which brings us back to the previous point, showing that the inductive reasoning of associating the student with the institution that provided education isn’t necessarily accurate. Of course, there are plenty of situations in which it is, but it’s not naturally a rule.

The reputation of a university should never be the primary criterion on basis of which the employee selection is made, rather an ultimate yardstick. As a criterion to adjudicate, some other connected issues should also be taken into consideration, such as the fact that a reputation isn’t by definition a state of things, but a golbal perception we attribute to a state of things. And as branding and advertising constantly evolve, maintaining a reputation is not a very hard thing to manage, especially when the university has been the springboard of an impressive number of scientists. But while a university was very well seen ten years ago, we can’t continue to attribute its former qualities to its performance today. Rather, if we decide to adjudicate on basis of popularity, we should permanently follow the almanacs and chronicles, as well as the ISI publications in the fields we’re hiring staff, in order to be somewhat accurate about our decisions.

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