As our academic halls empty and our lawns fill with expectant graduates, one can’t help but ruminate on what’s next for our 2014 flock. Some are off to internships or jobs. Some started a business while in school. Some plan to travel or continue their education. Many have carefully laid plans. For others, the future is bright, if unmapped.
Some readers may share my enthusiasm as a “double Duck,” graduating in 1970, followed by an MBA in 1971. At that time, the supposition was most would embark on a career with perhaps two or three major job changes during their entire working life. Students left the university setting prepared “for life.” Additional training, if it came at all, was on the job. Layoffs were rare and under extraordinary circumstances.
This set of assumptions no longer holds true, of course. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), the reality is late Baby Boomers (born between 1957 and 1964) are holding an average of eleven jobs. (BLS does not track career changes.) A 2012 survey at Forbes indicates Millennials anticipate nearly doubling that number, changing jobs approximately twenty times in working life.
This is good news. Current graduates can anticipate a diverse, exciting, and sometimes nonlinear career path. They can anticipate a flow of new challenges and, in many cases, greater flexibility.
What are we doing to prepare our graduates for this very different and evolving world? Our Director of Career Services Jane Evarian explained it this way:
“Our goal is to equip students with life-long career management skills. At the center of this objective is an emphasis on teaching students the art of cultivating and managing relationships.
The adage, ‘it’s all about who you know,’ is even more important to 2014 graduates, who will enter a fluid labor market that offers one certainty: change. Developing a wide and deep network of contacts ultimately increases referrals, offers, and opportunities. According to What Color is Your Parachute, an annually updated publication for job seekers, 86 percent of job offers come from leveraging your value proposition, combined with networking. Relationship development becomes even more powerful by using social media tools, with 92 percent of companies using social media for recruiting.”
Evarian also noted a few relationship development strategies that Lundquist Career Services advises:
- Build your value proposition by understanding and articulating your skills, accomplishments, and potential
- Join LinkedIn and identify companies, positions and fellow Ducks
- Build a communication plan and use professionalism when reaching out to prospective contacts
- Build relationships through meaningful and appropriately paced communication
- Use a project management app or some other tracking mechanism to track your efforts.
To help students with all this and more, we continue to expand and develop new programs to guide career success. We recently debuted a new program, Backpacks to Briefcases, which aims to smooth the transition from college to career. New grads get a step-by-step plan to jumpstart their career search. Our recently launched Job Shadow Program has seen enormous success. And our Career Services workshops continue to take students through the career selection process—from resume to interview and the steps in between.
Additionally, the University of Oregon and Lundquist College of Business celebrate a robust and diverse alumni base. For many graduates, linking with an alumnus or alumna will be the best career decision they ever make.
And all this is paying off, with students well on their way to career success. Our Master of Accounting program already boasts 80 percent job placement on graduation day. Past years indicate 100 percent placement within three months. Nearly 60 percent or our MBAs are graduating with offer in-hand, with more coming in daily.
Whether it be accounting or finance, supply chains or sports marketing, management, marketing, or entrepreneurship, we anticipate our 2014 graduates—like so many of you—will contribute to a society in ways we cannot yet imagine.
Please join me in offering our 2014 class best wishes. And when the opportunity arises, consider giving a Duck a chance to show you just how we prepare each one to take flight.
Cornelis A. “Kees” de Kluyver
Rippey Distinguished Professor