It absolutely matters where you went to school - in today's brand-centric world it's a HUGE deal. There are many aspects to this. A school with a great regional reputation might get you a good job in your city, but might be absolutely meaningless to anyone outside. And that makes a huge difference. Just having the right school on your resume might make a huge difference in being considered for the right position. This is especially true if you'd want to work for a large/global company or in a relatively competitive industry. The top companies have "target schools", know exactly what product (you, the student) they get from them. I've been literally told by friends who participated in recruiting - Oh, yeah, we do hire from XXX, but only when the economy is extremely heated, and those are kind of like second class citizens, first to go when times get tough, last to get promoted. Especially true for "professional" occupations - business, law, accounting, consulting, engineering, etc. Graduate degrees are good, but don't go into an MBA program without at least 3-5 years of experience. This is a big deal, seriously. Also don't go to a shitty school. And if you go to a shitty school, for fuck's sake, don't pay sticker for it. Applies to law school as well. Also, it is usually easier to get your employer to pay for a true masters program, a shorter one, as opposed to an MBA or JD that will require full-time commitment. Part-time schools are ok, not as career changers, but perhaps as something you can use to get promoted in your current role, and once again especially good if the employer pays. The "I will be different" curse. Most people think that they will be able to rise above the average. They think they can beat the odds and be different and all that. Well, ambition is fine, but don't stake your life on it. I've seen spectacular crash and burn situations. Lets look at law schools. I had a friend who went to a Tier 2 school and fully expected to work in big law when he graduated, just like many of his clueless peers did. Now he's a bitch at some shitty personal injury law firm barely surviving, and so are most of his friends. Yes, there are few people from his school that made it. There are actually some obscenely rich alumni. But chances are, you're average and will stay that way. If not, great for you, but like I said - don't bet your life on that slight chance. Academia - despite what Rach said above, I believe that the brand matters, especially if you'd like to teach/research at a good school. Entry level careers - PAY YOUR DUES - as cool as it sounds to be able to work for a start-up, to start your own business, to potentially make tons of money (you're worth it, right?) or to join some awesome tiny company because they have hot receptionists and free beer on fridays, BE CAREFUL. Where you spend the first few years of your career matters greatly, it can literally make or break your career. Ideally, if you want to make it somewhere, look for a place that is well-known and provides good training. A few years on your resume spent at an F500/Big4/Big3/Biglaw/Etc will make a difference even ten years down the road. You will get training, access to a good network, and more importantly, it will open doors in the future. Your twenties are not about making bank or living a balling life (although both are certainly possible) - they are about paying your dues while you're young, single (i hope), and healthy. By the way, I guess my stuff is more oriented towards the business/professional grads, cause that's where my expertise is. But I guess even a fashion designer needs to pay his dues and would benefit from working at a great firm or under a great designer.