This is a fascinating topic. It is asking the question: if I am a student looking for a job, what are the most important factors that will determine my success at work? Is it my personal attributes, or is it my university degree, its subject and grade? How much does it count if I have attended one of the elite Russell Group’s institutions, or is my motivation, attitude and ability to present myself more important?
From my own considerable experience as a head-hunter, the personal attributes are the dominant factor, and why universities are at last beginning to focus on personal development. Greenwich University, for example, is one of the leaders in this field; they are fully cognisant of the crucial importance of turning out bright academics who cannot present themselves is doing the student no favours.
We see, time and again, bright students being offered roles because of their university status, yet they are not able to capitalise on their academic achievement in terms of career progression as a direct consequence of under-par interpersonal skills.
A first from a top university coupled with a bad attitude and poor interpersonal skills, or an average academic who is energetic and a great communicator? I think the personal development focus will be the winner in today’s work environment.