In this article, we have analysed whether graduates from activating learning environments assess themselves as having more generic and reflective competences than graduates who studied in conventional learning environments. We have also investigated whether graduates from different learning environments look back differently on their training for the workplace. Contrary to earlier research we have used data from a large-scale survey among higher education graduates, the ‘higher education and graduate employment in europe’ project (cheers). The cheers-data distinguishes different kind of learning environments and 36 different kind of competencies among more than 1,200 graduates from 12 universities in the netherlands. Results show that graduates from activating learning environments attribute more generic and reflective competences to themselves than graduates from conventional learning environments. In addition, results indicate that the quality of contents of majors and of curriculum design are significantly related to the presence of generic and reflective competences according to the perception of graduates. Finally, results demonstrate that the competences learning ability, analytic competences, working independently and working in a team positively contribute to the development of competences in the later careers of graduates.