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Career survey maps seniors' next steps

By : Merrill Douglas

Over one-third of the Class of 2007 expects to go to graduate or professional school, with 36 percent of graduates making plans to continue their formal education. More than half of of the graduating class is headed directly for the workforce, and 14 percent of class members have already accepted jobs, according to a survey of graduating seniors conducted by the Career Development Center.

As of this writing, 677 students have responded to the online survey, representing 28 percent of the graduates. The CDC will continue collecting data through the end of May.

Of those who will continue their education, 57 percent will pursue a master’s degree. About 13 percent will go to law school and 12 percent to medical school. The top ten fields of study are: education, law, medicine, physical therapy, social work, nursing, business administration, school psych-ology, mechanical engineering, biology and dentistry.

About 16 percent of seniors going to graduate school plan to continue their studies at Binghamton. 

Based on past experience, by the time all responses are in, the survey probably will show a higher percentage con-tinuing their formal education, said Pat Wrobel, career con-sultant at the CDC. “Between 40 to 45 percent will go to grad school, about 20 percent will have found a job, and then the rest are looking.”

Of those seniors who have already accepted positions, most learned about their jobs through networking, working as interns or using eRecruiting, the CDC’s online recruiting service. The three most popular mechanisms they used to apply were employer Web sites, eRecruiting and job fairs.

Fifty-one percent of the seniors who have jobs lined up will earn more than $55,000 a year, and 52 percent will work in New York City. The most popular industries targeted by this group are financial services (22 percent), accounting (16.5 percent) and health care (9.5 percent).

Among graduating seniors who plan to work but have not yet taken jobs, 14.1 percent are targeting the health care industry, 13.8 percent are seeking work in financial services and 10.12 percent have set their sights on consulting. Just over a third of them are looking for jobs within 50 miles of their home towns.

A combination of networking and an internship added up to a successful job search for senior Darran Handshaw, a mechanical engineering major.

Handshaw volunteers as a firefighter in his home town on Long Island, and many of his colleagues at the firehouse are engineers. Using those contacts to pursue an internship, he found a spot in Motorola’s advanced data capture group in Holtsville, N.Y.

He worked there last summer and over winter break this year, but his boss, head of research and development, had no permanent position to offer.  “So I started talking with a couple of other people I’d been working with,” Handshaw said.

That round of networking yielded an interview with the head of the mechanical engineering and design group, who told Handshaw he’d let him know if something became available.

“Two-and-a-half months ago, I got an e-mail from him that a position had opened and he wanted me to apply for it, ” said Handshaw. He starts his new job on June 18.

“There’s a high correlation between a paid internship and the opportunity to be offered a full-time position at the end of that internship,” said Wrobel. “Many organizations look at the internship as a way of looking at talent.”

To boost the chance of attaining one of these prized internships, many students try to get jobs in relevant fields over the summer between sophomore and junior year. “You have to show an organization that you have a passion for what they do,” Wrobel said.
But an internship does not lead automatically to permanent employment, Handshaw cautioned. His new boss was willing to consider him specifically because of the reputation he earned during his months at Motorola.

“I had to work really hard to prove myself,” he said.

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Last Updated: 10/14/08