A senior recently walked into Undergraduate Career Services adamant about finding a job as a puppeteer. Although initially befuddled, UCS Director Philip Jones said that after conducting extensive research on opportunities in puppetry, his staff is now knowledgeable about the field.
With the job hunt season in full swing, seniors are taking a variety of approaches to having an offer in hand by graduation, many of them taking advantage of the personal attention provided by UCS counselors. But while many students look to UCS for help, particularly for business-oriented jobs, others said they do not believe UCS caters to their needs. Despite the perception that UCS resources are limited to certain industries, Jones said that in recent years the office has broadened its scope and developed new programs in other sectors.
According to the Office of Institutional Research, approximately one-third of Yale seniors in 2004 enrolled in graduate or professional study, a dramatic decrease from classes graduating in the 1960s and 1970s. For the remaining two-thirds, jobs in education, business and finance continue to attract graduates in high numbers.
Several students said they feel UCS caters mainly to business-oriented seniors in terms of finding jobs, which may offer an additional incentive for many seniors to enter the field.
“The culture here invites [investment] banking and consulting,” Brian Kim ’06 said. “It helps that recruiters take people out to extravagant dinners.”
But Jones said UCS has worked in the past five years to hire counselors with different specialties to meet the needs of students not going into business, though he acknowledged that many students may still be unfamiliar with UCS offerings in other areas.
“There’s a much broader stroke here [now],” Jones said.
Jones said that in the past, UCS would not be able to help with finding a job overseas or with a nonprofit organization. To address this deficiency, Jones said, UCS began holding career fairs six years ago, and the first one was filled with nonprofits rather than investment banks. The appearance of companies like L’Oreal and Abercrombie & Fitch at this year’s career fair demonstrate that recruiting is continuing to diversify, Jones said, and international job placements are also on the rise.
UCS has also recently expanded internship programs that may prepare students for future job searches. Jones just returned from a trip to Asia to expand the overseas Bulldogs programs, which have also been extended to Brussels and Peru this year. This year the number of internship opportunities through these programs will double from last year to 170 spots.
“An enormous number of successful internships lead to job offers, so we place a huge emphasis on them,” Jones said.
One of the core elements of UCS remains the on-campus recruiting program, which, though popular with many seniors, some said lacks diversity, with most of the interviewers coming from Wall Street companies. The program, which generally runs in late fall and from January to spring break, takes two to three rounds of interviews, first with company representatives on campus and then at the company itself.
Jones said that although inroads have been made to diversify recruiting, certain fields like finance are heavily represented. Because some industries, such as investment banking, have predictable hiring cycles, they take a certain number of Yalies per year, Jones said. Jones said many organizations do not hire enough students to warrant recruiting on campus.
“The on-campus interview program is a very good vehicle for certain slices of the student body, but it doesn’t serve everyone,” he said. “It is not cost-effective for a theatrical troupe or magazine to come here, for example.”
Though the recruiting program primarily serves students interested in business, some students said they found it useful for other fields. Emely Martinez ’06 said she benefited from the opportunity to interview with the nonprofit Teach for America through the program.
Adrienne Ronai ’06, who is interested in management consulting, said although UCS has been helpful with tasks such as polishing cover letters and interviews, there is only so much the service can do before students have to take the initiative.
“You still have to find the job yourself,” she said. “Lots of Yalies also go work at places with recent graduates, so you can find help that way.”
Ronai received two job offers last year through the Yale Career Network online alumni database, a resource provided by the Association of Yale Alumni that currently contains contact information for over 7,000 Yale graduates working in industry, with over 250 in investment banking alone.
John Duong ’97, an investment banking analyst with Citigroup, said he would encourage seniors to take advantage of UCS resources such as practice interviews and informational sessions.
“People are still very picky on who to hire,” he said. “But the job market is great, and Yale graduates should have some great opportunities.”
UCS goes through about 5,000 scheduled appointments for career counseling per year, and more than 90 percent of students ultimately use UCS at some point during their time at Yale. Because of the high demand for services, the wait time for an appointment is currently over a week long.
“If students didn’t see the value, we wouldn’t be backed up,” Jones said.
Although the semester is drawing to a close and many seniors are feeling the need to finalize their post-graduation plans, Kim said he is not stressing out just yet. He said he feels Yale graduates are still in high demand and that most of his friends are optimistic about heading into the job market with a Yale degree. Jones said 75 percent of seniors have definite plans by graduation, including attending graduate school.
“Recruiting is up this year,” Jones said. “And the job outlook is definitely good.”