Finding a job in today’s highly competitive employment market is a challenge for college graduates. Finding the right job to launch a successful career in a student’s chosen field is even more difficult.
A 2012 Associated Press story reported that, in 2011, 53.6 percent of college grads under 25 were jobless or underemployed. Of those who were employed, only 62 percent held jobs that required a college degree, and only 27 percent were employed in positions that matched their majors, according to a 2013 Federal Reserve Bank of New York study.
The experience of Bentley University graduates is much different. Of the 898 members of the Class of 2012, 81 percent reported being employed within six months of graduation, most in fields related to their majors. Their median salary was $50,000 per year. An additional 17 percent were enrolled in graduate programs.
Len Morrison, director of Bentley’s Undergraduate Career Services office, believes the university’s accelerated career preparation class, closely integrated with the school’s unique curriculum fusing business education with the liberal arts and sciences, is a key factor in student preparedness and success. Data and student testimonials support his belief.
The vast majority of Bentley students begin to prepare for internships in their freshman year by enrolling in the Career Development Introduction course (CDI 101). The 6-week course meets weekly and includes instruction in self-assessment, résumé/cover letter writing, and interview preparation. Students also learn to develop a compelling and appropriate social media profile and prepare to interview with a team of employer representatives, who are assigned to each class, and who conduct “mock” interviews with every student.
While most juniors (and an increasing number of sophomores) are pursuing and securing meaningful full-time summer internships, many seniors are finding part-time internships (12-20 hours per week) at leading businesses during the academic year. When part-time internships are taken into account, 90 percent of Bentley students participate in internships of one kind or another, placing the university among the top 10 schools in the country for internships, according to a 2013 U.S. News & World Report survey.
Almost all of Bentley’s internships are paid, with salaries frequently ranging from $10-18 per hour. While some internships in sports marketing, public relations and advertising are unpaid, Morrison stresses that the recruiting office works closely with hundreds of employers to assure that organizations appreciate the value of a Bentley intern and that they offer meaningful education experiences that match students’ career goals.
Eighty-four percent of the Class of 2014 who had participated in a summer internship reported that the experience was relevant to their career track.
In 2012, 28 percent of employed graduates secured their full-time position from an internship. Many more students, however, received job offers from their internship employer, but accepted positions at other organizations, according to Morrison.
“The main reason I came to Bentley was its internship programs,” says senior Helia Azarakhsh of Nashua, N.H., an Economics–Finance major. “A college education is expensive. I wanted to make sure I’d get the most out of it.
“My internship at Deloitte Consulting in Boston was great. I was treated as team member, and I was offered a fulltime position after graduation. My courses prepared me to do my job, but just as important they prepared me to learn more.”
Senior Finance major José Gutierrez of San Pedro Sula, Honduras, has accepted a job at Morgan Stanley in New York, where he interned this past summer as a technology analyst.
“We visited Bentley when I was in high school and saw what it offered,” José says. “My mom said to me, ‘You have to come here, you’ll get a good job.’ She was right. I’ve learned a lot about finance and computer science, and I’ve developed the interpersonal skills I need to relate to people.” Today, José uses those skills as a fellow in the University’s Office of Undergraduate Admission.
Following in the footsteps of her mother, who graduated from Bentley in 1984, senior Julia Osborn came to Bentley from nearby Chelmsford, Mass., and majored in actuarial science. She interned in two different departments at John Hancock in Boston in her sophomore and junior years. While the company offered her a job, she accepted an offer from another company with a different product line.
“Bentley prepared me for my internships and the workplace by teaching me how to learn and how to solve problems.” Julia says. “The real case studies we discussed prepared me for the real world.”