One minor but not unimportant "controversy" in the field of interviewing — what to say, what not to say — regards name dropping. Experts disagree as to whether it's an effective technique, or just as annoying in an interview as it is in a social setting.
Whether it creates an advantage for you, the job seeker, comes down to how well you do it.
Let's start with how not to drop names. In an interview, when describing what you bring to the table, randomly throwing around names of well-known people you happen to be acquainted with ... not good.
The trick is to work the names of well-known people into the "success stories" you share, in such a way that these names (and even the fact that they are well-known) extends the impact of the success story.
Here's an example. Let's say you've been asked to share a recent accomplishment that you're proud of. Let's further suggest that you are involved in a local advocacy group that helps students start to plan their careers. Here's an answer that illustrates effective name dropping:
"StudentFuture recently decided that helping connect students to local businesses would help them start to think about the jobs they wanted to prepare for. I helped take a lead in the project. I reached out to several local business leaders, such as [insert names of a few well-known local business people] and asked for their help. They were quite receptive, and I was able to coordinate three "field trips" to local companies."
This approach makes all the difference in the world. There is nothing gratuitous about including the names of well-known people you have interacted with. In fact, their identities are key to the success story. Furthermore, the emphasis is on how you effectively interacted with them, rather than just the fact that you're acquainted with them.
One last observation about this approach. You'll note that volunteer activities are the most effective way to create these stories where you can constructively drop the names of key people. Hint, hint...