…if your goal is to leverage the degree into a high-paying corporate job, then the “brand name” truly matters. The idea of putting yourself into debt can be intimidating, especially if you’re not from a wealthy family. But the extra expense of a prestigious school will usually pay off
…Alumni network. Most high-powered executives simply won’t make time for an ambitious young professional—unless he or she is a student at his alma mater.
…Peer network. The best schools usually attract motivated, ambitious students—so if you attend one, in 10 or 15 years your peer network is likely to be orders of magnitude better than it would otherwise be.
…Recruiters. Finding excellent job candidates can be hard—therefore, many top firms take the short cut of recruiting from a limited number of high-calibre schools, which have essentially done the screening for them.
…Turbocharging your resume. There are certain powerful signals of professional accomplishment. If you become a Rhodes Scholar or attend Harvard or an IIM, that’s a permanent fact that most people will remember—and it will influence their perception of you. For the rest of your life, you’ll be marked as exceptional, because a high-quality brand has embraced you as one of its own. That alone is often worth the price of admission.
There’s a growing sense of the self among the Chinese and an increasing emphasis on self-expression, which is causing at least one major change: The importance of emotional considerations in purchase decisions is shooting up. The need for emotional benefits in categories such as chocolates and mobile handsets rose, according to our survey, from 1% in 2009 to 19% in 2011 — a number that seems likely to keep rising.
Marketers will have to cater to Chinese consumers’ desire to express their individuality by developing brands that “talk” directly to them. That will apply not only to high-involvement products such as cars and mobile phones, but also to commodities such as milk and salt. Even in a low-involvement product category like detergents, 7% of Chinese consumers — up from 2% in 2009 — say that the best products should not only clean clothes, but also make them feel special.
As the Chinese become more knowledgeable about products and more affluent, and safety standards become tighter and better enforced, they’ll feel safer trying out lesser-known brands. That’ll make them more receptive to niche brands that talk to them as “individuals” as a way of setting themselves apart.