No doubt considered
a rite of passage by many alumni, pounding the pavement in search
of a full-time job may seem passé to today’s College grads: The
recruiters just keep coming to them.
to be a very hot job market for graduating seniors,” says Robert
Riesman, AM’88, director of the University’s Career and Placement
Services office (CAPS). “They’re taking advantage of a healthy economy
and employers who are keenly interested in hiring U of C graduates.
Employers tell us they like U of C grads because they are comfortable
working in a variety of disciplines, have strong writing skills,
have a high work ethic, and are good problem solvers.”
received by U of C students reflects national trends. The Chicago
Sun-Times reports that an increase of nearly 30 percent in the number
of job openings, and pay boosts as high as 5 percent, await this
year’s college grads.
the University has seen an accompanying increase in on-campus interviews,
conducted mostly by recruiters from management consulting, investment
banking, financial services, and information technology companies.
While the number of recruiters who came to campus this year—190—is
consistent with last year, the number of interviews conducted on
campus, he notes, grew 16 percent to 4,000 during the 1997–98 academic
“This is important
because it shows an increase in the number of opportunities a graduating
senior has had to meet with someone in a position to make a hiring
recommendation,” says Riesman. “We’ve also heard from students that
they’re getting signing bonuses and multiple job offers.”
Based on the
strength of the job market, Riesman says he expects the results
of surveys of this year’s graduating seniors to show that more of
them found jobs faster than members of the class of 1996, the most
recent year for which figures are available. At the time of graduation
that year, he says, 10 percent of seniors planned to travel, volunteer,
or pursue temporary work or other goals; 35 percent were headed
to graduate school or other professional programs; and 55 percent
were hunting for or had found full-time jobs. Within six months,
80 percent of that group reported that they had secured employment.
To help students
keep pace with the market, CAPS introduced several new programs
this past academic year, all of which relied heavily on alumni participation.
alumni participate in has been improved by their involvement,” says
Riesman. “We hope to increase opportunities for them to provide
CAPS has nearly
doubled the number of paid internships that it jointly sponsors
with the College from 18 last year to more than 30 this year, with
plans for 50 in 1998–99. The internships, primarily offered during
the summer, have included jobs with the Smithsonian Institution,
Illinois U.S. senators’ offices, the Joffrey Ballet, and the New
York Philharmonic. Among other participating alumni, Lisa Anne Boulden,
AB’91, AM’92, City of Chicago’s assistant to the mayor for programs,
helped set up an intern post in the mayor’s office, while Byron
Trott, AB’81, MBA’82, managing director at Goldman Sachs & Co. in
Chicago, arranged for internships at his company and others.
CAPS held its first Shadow Day, designed to let College students
learn about the day-to-day tasks and responsibilities of alumni
working in fields the students want to explore. Thirty students
were paired with 30 Chicago-area alumni in fields such as law, medicine,
journalism, and video-game design. Similarly, January’s Taking the
Next Step conference, geared to third-years, brought nearly 200
undergrads together with about 50 alumni for a day of career-planning
in addition to expanding each of these programs, Riesman says CAPS
plans to host forums in which College students who have successfully
competed for internships can share with their peers what helped
them to get the positions and make the most of them.
students anticipating their postgraduate life, Riesman reminds them
that some things never change: “Identify what your interests are
and be enterprising in pursuing opportunities in those fields. Be
an active learner in a summer job or internship.”—C.S.