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Top schools help you earn more, but don’t make you happier

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Employees hired from prestigious schools may not be the most engaged and happy workers in your company.

A Gallup survey of more than 30,000 college graduates across the US found attending private or public schools had little correlation to the students’ workplace engagement and well-being.

According to the report, which was conducted together with Purdue University, graduates from selective public schools reported an 11% score on well-being, compared to 12% reported among graduates from selective private schools.

Similarly, the difference when it came to engagement levels were almost negligible between graduates from selective public schools and selective private not-for-profit schools (39% versus 41%).

Rather, the factors which affected these graduates engagement and well-being levels once they hit the workplace were having interested and engaged professors, as well as relevant internship programmes.

“If graduates had a professor who cared about them as a person, made them excited about learning, and encouraged them to pursue their dreams, their odds of being engaged at work more than doubled, as did their odds of thriving in their well-being,” the report said.

“And if graduates had an internship or job where they were able to apply what they were learning in the classroom, were actively involved in extracurricular activities and organisations, and worked on projects that took a semester or more to complete, their odds of being engaged at work doubled also.”

So should HR leaders and recruiters stop recruiting from elite schools? Probably not.

But perhaps this is a good reminder they should pay less attention to the name of universities and graduates’  transcripts, and instead focus more on finding out what the candidate has gained from their time at school.

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