In my last blog post I wrote that brand name company experience matters less than having substantive experience. I am not changing my tune on that in this post, but will let you know how brand name experience might be viewed by members of an admissions committee and potentially give you an edge, at least on the surface.
Brand names like P&G, Goldman Sachs, or GE have an enormous amount of cache. They are world-class institutions, and as a result have the luxury of an extensive candidate pool to choose from. Therefore, if you have worked for one of these firms, it means you probably beat out some pretty stiff competition to get your job. That alone warrants a second look at your candidacy.
With that second look, there are a few things admissions committees will want to see in order to “verify” that the experience within the organization is strong as well.
1. Longevity: If you only were employed at a brand name firm for a brief period of time (one year or less), there could be concern that you weren’t able to take the work environment. If, on the other hand, you have been with the firm for two or more years, that employment duration signals competence, persistence, and hard work.
2. Promotions: They will look for evidence of increased responsibilities and/or promotions. As I mentioned in my last job post, regardless of company, that increase is the best indication that you are seen as highly capable by management and therefore have a great future ahead of you.
3. Movement: If you have more than one brand name on your resume, that is a strong signal as well. You were able to successfully transition from one world class firm to another, or perhaps were poached.
4. Insight: Working at a brand-name company provide an additional benefit too: an admissions committee will see that you have experienced the inner workings of an organization that is best-in-class, and therefore can provide some valuable perspective in class discussions. Top companies clearly have done something right to get that reputation, and while you may not even realize it, you have been exposed to and imbibed techniques and practices that are highly respected.
While brand name matters less than work experience, it does have the potential to provide an edge in the initial review process. If you don’t have brand name experience, however, fear not! Bottom line what really matters is the substance of the work rather than the name itself. What you’ve done is still more important than where you have done it.
This is the second blog post in our MBA Work Experience Series.
Jen Weld worked as an admissions consultant and Former Asst. Dir. of Admissions at Cornell’s EMBA program (4 years) prior to joining Accepted.com. She has an additional 10 years of experience in higher ed and corporate marketing. Want Jen to help you get accepted? Click here to get in touch!