The biggest factor in business success is talent. Today, competitive advantage resides less in access to capital and more in having great people. At the UO Lundquist College of Business, providing a pipeline of talented, knowledgeable, and dedicated graduates is what we do best--and what sets us apart. We are focused on developing future leaders who have the experience, skills, and drive to make a positive impact, solve problems, be entrepreneurial, and lead growth.
Certainly, the economic realities of business growth the past few years have presented our graduates--and others throughout the nation--with significant hurdles to entering the job market. For the most part, our graduates weathered the economic downturn--one that now seems to be subsiding. Last year, our employment status data (the percentage of graduates employed and their average annual salary) exceeded or returned to pre-2008 numbers. Within three months of graduation in June 2011, for instance, nearly 70 percent of MBAs had jobs and more than 95 percent of our Master of Accounting graduates were employed. And at the undergraduate level in 2011, more students reported they had jobs than in the previous several years.
Add to these employment figures the percentage of graduates starting their own businesses, and the outlook is even more promising. In 2011, the number of undergraduates starting their own companies doubled while new ventures launched by MBAs increased by a factor of five. At a college that prides itself on entrepreneurship, that is a significant trend. For us, it is a sure sign that the economy is improving, and it is a trend we think will continue.
This spring, as a new crop of students prepares to graduate, we appear on target for sustained employment growth. We won't have final numbers until three months after graduation--a standard time period used to evaluate employment rates of business school graduates--but anecdotal evidence is mounting that our graduates will have success launching their careers. We are hearing more good news, more often, about students landing jobs, and the climate around the Lillis Business Complex has been optimistic and energetic this spring about the possibilities that await.
And we are not alone in witnessing this shift. A recent AP article, for instance, noted that students graduating this year have taken the challenge of landing a job more seriously. They began networking in the business community much earlier in their campus career. They pursued summer internships not simply to pay their college bills but to pave the way to future permanent jobs. And they tempered their expectations about what their first job would look like, how far they would have to travel, and what salary they could expect.
None of this is to imply that--come next month--our graduates will find jobs at the ready. Quite the opposite will be true. Jobs continue to be scarce in many fields, and our students will need to be resourceful and diligent in their searches. It won't come easy. We’ve given them the tools, and we’ll help where we can. But in the end, we know our students have the talent to succeed.
They will be, after all, graduates of the Lundquist College of Business.
Cornelis A. "Kees" de Kluyver
Dean and James and Shirley Rippey Distinguished Professor
P.S. If you are in need of new business talent (or know someone who is), our Career Services office can help. They are always happy to connect you with students, promote your job and internships postings, host information sessions, and more.