Thursday, May 27, 2010

How important is the designation/title?

In early 2008, when I was about to complete 4 years of work experience, I was given the opportunity to step up and lead the whole project with the team of 5. My role increased but my designation remained “software engineer”. I was told to learn and perform well in this managerial role and higher designation, for me a “senior software engineer”, would follow in July 2009. I outperformed and grabbed the highest performing rating that year. Unfortunately, the recession hit in end 2008, and all the appraisals and promotions across the company were ceased. Without getting de-motivated, I moved to a new role to lead a bigger team and handle a more challenging project.

Currently, I am handling much higher responsibilities of a project lead even when I am 2 levels down that designation. And listening to company’s management announcements, this year also seems a low hope of any promotions across board.

But now when I am building my resume for bschool, my role and my responsibilities shows a fantastic career progression in last six years but my designation shows a flat career. Unfortunately, I’ve to list all these accomplishments under “software engineer” designation.

How to bring credibility to all my work without that designation, in the eyes of admission committee? Do I need to convey this story to admission committee in optional essay? Or shall I change my company and grab the designation of a team lead?

All in all, how important is the designation for admission committee?

Your views and insights will be appreciated.



  1. A,
    Similar case is with many Indian applicants...
    Discussing it with co-applicants once, we inferred the best way to handel this is to bring it up through work reccos...

  2. Yes Anagha, thats an option. wud recos bring needed credibilty?

  3. Was reading Cindy’s post from and found the reference of same challenge I mentioned in this post.

    “A challenge might be, for example, you’ve increased responsibility significantly but because you work for a “flat” company you don’t have promotions.”

  4. This makes a great essay topic! Big impact from a small position as against small impact from big positions :)

    Be sure to address it in the optional essay if not elsewhere!

  5. Thanks Rosstatic. I think yes, optional essay and recos are the place.

    Lets see if anyone has anything else to say.

  6. I can totally understand what you are feeling. This is because i'm in the same situation. 6 years and senior engineer. I'm sure of change in designation next year but i need it badly this year. I applied last year to few schools (though i didnt join to the school of my choice due to financial constraints). In of the interviews, i was asked the same question. Lots of achievements and not much change in designations. Be ready with convincing answers.

    -good luck

  7. Thanks guys! how about this format?

    Team lead (Role) 2008 - Present
    . accomplishment 1
    . accomplishment 2

    Software Engineer (Title) 2007 - Present
    . accomplishment 3
    . accomplishment 4

    Is this could be a way?

  8. And Anonymous, I really wish you get a promotion this year :) wish the same for me as well :)

    All the best!

  9. It's a very important question, for many people -- thank you for focusing on it. Tomorrow I am going to write a blog post addressing this issue on the blog.

    Cindy Tokumitsu
    Senior Editor,

  10. Hi Cindy,

    Thanks for posting a elaborated response for this question.

    I really appreciate this.

    Guys, here is the expert's response.

  11. Admiring the time and effort you put into your blog and detailed information you offer!
    mba india


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