It's mid-October and seniors have already begun the post-graduation job hunt. All have a laundry list of dream careers, ideal starting salaries, and prime geographical locations, but few actually know how to obtain the ultimate full-time position. Students in the School of Business have the accessibility to an actively involved career center that offers access to the top employers, opportunities to participate in on-campus interviews and career-related events.
But those pursuing a degree in Letters & Sciences are getting shorthanded — they have a career center, but because L&S students are enrolled in the largest academic college of this enormous university, they have limited access to the professional guidance necessary to prepare for a post-graduation leap into the real world.
The College of Letters & Science and School of Human Ecology share a career services office that serves 65 L&S majors and eight SOHE majors. Four career advisors support the needs of about 18,000 undergraduates. The Business Career Center employs two full-time advisors (specialized by the type of Business major) to provide guidance for 1,282 students.
The Business Career Center operates an enormous database connecting students to employers. Each year more than 450 employers travel to the School of Business and meet with undergraduates to conduct interviews.
This fall both L&S/SOHE and the School of Business held career fairs, linking students with opportunities. The School of Business had over 150 employers in attendance, whereas the L&S Career Expo only drew in 65 employers, nevertheless a record for the expo. The L&S Career Expo featured a large number of locally rooted employers, seeking candidates from Minnesota and Wisconsin. But companies at the business fair were recruiting primarily for out-of-state positions in large cities such as Chicago and New York.
While the L&S Career Center encourages employers to look at the transferable skills of liberal arts majors, more major companies recruit students from the School of Business. Is a candidate from the School of Business better equipped for entering an entry-level training program at a Fortune 500 company?
Touted by U.S. News and World Report as the twelfth finest undergraduate business degree program in the country, the School of Business should be proud of its attractiveness to employers. But such companies are placing themselves a disadvantage by recruiting a limited pool of applicants. By restricting on-campus interviews to specific majors, businesses are promoting homogeneity in staffing. To succeed, large corporations should seek a diversity of thought and accept the applications of students representing a range of academic interests.
The School of Business undergraduates have an obvious advantage in the career search, but with a little extra effort and by employing some survival techniques, non-Business majors can obtain a permanent position comparable to those overachievers in Grainger. The job quest requires motivation, planning and persistent contact with career advisors and employers. But if you exploit the few valuable career resources offered, you'll be ahead of the seniors waiting until the spring to launch their career search.
Obtaining the assistance of Career Services isn't that easy. Until last year, L&S/SoHE Career Services was located at 905 University Avenue — a prime office space located in close proximity to the student body. But earlier this year, a wealthy clan of Grainger alumni donated funds to the School of Business and enabled a $40 million-dollar addition. Thus Career Services was forced out of this prime real estate and now resides at 1305 Linden Street (across from the Human Ecology Building), nearly a mile away from central campus. Notwithstanding, a visit to Career Services is worth the trek. Schedule an appointment with one of the full-time advisors — all experts in resume and cover letter writing, job search strategies, and interviewing techniques. While L&S doesn't attract the same corporate recruiters as the BCC, the staff is well informed about the job search process.
If you take the extra effort and build a close relationship with both career centers, non-business majors can reap the benefits of two colleges. Don't let those kids already clad in suits scare you — let them motivate you. We attend a fragmented college and in some instances, this enables us to reap the benefits of various departments. Academic advisors, career advisors and knowledgeable professors will disappear post-graduation — so utilize your resources now. Sure, the School of Business has a stronger alumni base with larger salaries and nicer facilities than L&S and SoHE, but non-business majors can exploit these services to their advantage.
Rachel Alkon ([email protected]) is a senior majoring in English and creative writing.