For those choosing the major to study at university, one of the key considerations is how “academic” or “career-oriented” the subject should be, taking into account all the career options available after graduation.

In fact the career options appear much earlier than graduation. It is basically determined during the first one or two internships, and students are expected to apply for summer jobs several months after entering the university. Probably not many students are prepared for that!

From the perspective of most recruiters, relevant experience matters more than academic qualification, partly because of the way hiring managers are looking for candidates. The first internship is particularly hard to come by, and for most students it seems almost random. Then the random internship will be priced in during the application for the next internship and so forth.

Some universities have better internship programmes in certain industries, depending on the connection with the key players. However this might not be fully reflected in normal university rankings, which take a heavier weighting on research papers.

Therefore, the key is for students to think one more step ahead – how do they plan to present themselves in front of employers of their preference? How well are the university programs going to equip them once they are enrolled? These are important questions most student overlook.