If you had the choice to hire someone from a top-tier school or a lower-tier school, which would you choose? This is usually not even a serious question, since the answer seems obvious to most: hire the best possible candidate with the best possible training which typically includes the criteria of having attended the best possible schools.

The Taj Group, however, believes they’re better off recruiting from lower-tier schools for their top management positions.1 Here’s why:

“For the company’s topmost echelons, the Taj Group signs up 50 or so management trainees every year from India’s second- and third-tier B-schools… It doesn’t recruit from the premier institutions, as the Taj Group has found that MBA graduates from lower-tier B-schools want to build careers with a single company, tend to fit in better with a customer-centric culture, and aren’t driven solely by money.”

The Taj Group has decided to strategically recruit in this manner because they believe that a potential leader’s commitment is as important as their educational background. The fact that these recruits have graduated from lower-tier business schools is enough, they believe the minimal business/technical qualifications have been met. Yet, they’ve seen humility and commitment from this group that they have not seen/or have seen rarely in graduates from top-tier business schools.

This is a bold move, since most organizations are blinded by the more visible qualifications such as educational background when in fact there exist other valuable qualifications that are often found in those who are not from top-tier schools. Perhaps, some companies have overvalued the prestige factor or have simply overlooked the fact that there are other qualities of a recruit that are equally valuable.