By Brittney Dunkins
While students nationwide face a challenging start in the recovering economy, a recent survey released by the Center for Career Services and Survey Research and Analysis may put George Washington University graduates at ease.
According to the survey, graduates of the class of 2012 have fared well, showing that a “buff and blue” education has equipped students to handle the ever-changing market.
“These very positive post-graduation outcomes for the class of 2012 are representative of how they harnessed the world-class academic and co-curricular experiences at GW to facilitate their successes as alumni,” said Rachel Brown, assistant provost for university career services.
Of the 870 graduates who responded to the survey six months after graduation, nearly 94 percent reported that they are employed, pursuing a graduate degree, volunteering or are otherwise engaged in a gap year, military service or other activity.
The response rate, up 10 percentage points from the previous year thanks to a newly expanded partnership with Development and Alumni Relations to distribute and promote the survey, was 46 percent, nearly half of the total graduates in 2012.
“Through the Career Services Enhancement Initiative and GW’s continued commitment to building a university-wide career culture, our goal is to further reduce the percentage of students who are still seeking employment or other activities following graduation,” Ms. Brown said.
Alumnus Connor Currier, B.A. ’12, a graduate of the international relations program in the Elliott School of International Affairs, is one of the success stories that the university would like to replicate.
As an undergraduate, Mr. Currier interned for his local congresswoman and senator, a bipartisan lobbying firm and a business to government consulting firm. By Thanksgiving of his senior year he was offered a position as a human capital analyst in Deloitte Consulting LLP.
Organizations such as Deloitte, U.S. Navy, IBM, U.S. Congress, Accenture, Morgan Stanley, Advisory Board Company, Booz Allen Hamilton, L'Oreal USA, Brookings Institution, Turner Construction, Thomson Reuters, Baltimore City Public Schools, Bloomberg, the National Institutes of Health, D.C. Public Schools and others, including GW, have all chosen to employ GW graduates.
Fifty-one percent of respondents reported yearly salaries of $40,000 and above, which is in line with national averages.
Many alumni have also continued to take advantage of the opportunities afforded by GW’s unique location, with 77 percent choosing to stay in Washington and the Mid-Atlantic area, and 36 percent securing positions in the public, government and nonprofit sectors.
Other graduates—20 percent, according to the survey— have chosen to further their education, enrolling at prestigious institutions across the U.S., including George Washington University, Georgetown University, New York University, American University, Columbia University, Duke University, Harvard University, Cornell University, University of Notre Dame and Pepperdine University, among others.
Courtnay Oddman, B.A. ’12, an alumna of the communications program in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, discovered a career path in student affairs through her former position as a house staff member for the student-residence Thurston Hall.
She landed one of nine spots in the Higher Education, Student Affairs and International Education Policy (HESI) program at the University of Maryland during her senior year.
“I shared with [a former supervisor] that I was considering a profession in public policy but that I loved being a [resident assistant] and jokingly said I wouldn’t mind being an R.A. for the rest of my life. He told me about the field of student affairs,” she said, adding that the Division of Student Affairs aided in her graduate program research and application process.
Though she is apprehensive about her impending job search, Ms. Oddman is optimistic about her options because of the academic and professional experience she received at GW.
“With only one more year of my graduate program, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about finding a job,” she said. “However, GW taught me the importance of networking and maintaining professional relationships; I know I will use that skill next year as I look for my first job post-college.”
Mr. Currier echoed that point, adding that getting a head start on the process is the best approach.
“It's an extremely competitive market. Finding a great mentor who you can interact with on a personal level and starting early can help students get ahead in the job search,” he said. “The faster you begin getting your resume in order, the faster you can start applying to positions,” he added.
GW alumni can continue to take advantage of a full range of career services available through the Center for Career Services and the Office of Alumni Relations including one-on-one consulting sessions, in-person and virtual networking events, workshops and webinars and career fairs and expos such as the upcoming Alumni Only Career Fair on June 11.