In January, The Wall Street Journal reported results of the Gallup Purdue Index Survey that assessed student satisfaction with university career services. It did not surprise us that “49% of students who said career services were very helpful reported they had a good job waiting for them after they graduated—compared with only 15% of those who say the career services wasn’t at all helpful.”
At Bentley, our post-graduate outcomes data supports the correlation between the “helpfulness” of career services and positive career outcomes. Perhaps the best measure of the helpfulness of university career services, however, is the degree to which the university directly contributes to post-graduate employment. This measure of “helpfulness” is most effectively measured immediately after graduation through surveys of graduates. Bentley’s interim survey of 2016 graduates “at graduation” revealed that nearly 2/3 of employed graduates secured their position through a Bentley-facilitated activity (on-campus recruiting, career fair, faculty/staff referral or conversion of an internship). Since all college graduates will eventually find employment, the degree to which the university contributes to their employment is a critical factor that should be assessed by current and prospective students and parents.
Bentley data reveals that students who engage with career services area also rewarded, on average, with higher levels of base compensation. At Bentley, 2016 graduates who indicated that they secured their employment from an on-campus interview received average base compensation of nearly $58,000, compared with an average of $53,000 received by students who secured employment from sources unrelated to Bentley. This 13% increase in compensation attests to the value of engagement with career services and further confirms the Gallup Purdue research findings.
Bentley’s impressive outcome results are the culmination of Bentley’s Hire Education plan that begins freshman year. Our innovative Career Development Introduction (CDI 101) course offered during the spring of freshman year is the catalyst that begins the conversation. The course enrolls nearly 99% of freshman and it introduces them to the vast offerings of our department. Successful completion of the 6-week, non-credit bearing elective earns a transcript notation. In the course, students complete StrengthsFinder, a self-assessment instrument that identifies personal strengths, create a resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile while learning about applying informational interviewing skills. Most importantly, this course instills confidence to further explore and experience a rich array of career workshops and programs that build a bridge between Bentley students and the world of work.
Our positive outcome results are also attributable to Bentley’s unique employer engagement model. We believe employers and alumni are critical to helping students answer the question “What can I do with my major?” During fall 2016, Bentley career services planned and delivered over 40 career education programs, skills workshops and “career communities” that were attended by 1,100 students. These programs were designed to educate students about functional roles, employer expectations, career paths and industries. Nearly all involved alumni representatives from among leading employers. An additional 55 brand-building/recruiting events were held by 34 different employers during the fall. These creative activities included tech talks, employers-in-residence, case competitions, lunch presentations, resume reviews, BBQs, carnival days, job shadows, ice cream give-a-ways and a petting zoo – all designed to attract Bentley students to internship and full-time positions offered at the firms. In September, our fall career fair attracted 142 employers and over 1,500 students.
Bentley’s unique employer engagement model is balanced with an equally strong strategic advising team that works with juniors and seniors. Student “placement” is one of several key performance indicators by which our performance is measured and each advisor is responsible for preparing (and tracking) a major-based cohort of students. As a result, they know many students in their cohort. During the fall semester, Bentley career advisors met with 2,116 students to prepare them for them for the 1,400+ internships and full-time positions that were posted this fall. During this same period, 1,750 interviews were held for full-time and internship positions, including 141 Skype interviews to accommodate students studying abroad. With spring semester well underway, many students are sharing the excitement of their offers and acceptances for both full-time and summer internship positions.
Advisors are also very familiar with many employers, functional roles, employer expectations, and interview approaches. The majority of Bentley career advisors have MBAs and previous business experience in a variety of industries including banking, consulting, insurance, investment management, defense, logistics, consumer goods and marketing services. These backgrounds are balanced by advisors who are expert in assessment and counseling. Collectively, we speak the language of business and we value the employer as an essential stakeholder. Our focus on providing a concierge-level of attention to key employers is frequently cited as a hallmark of Bentley career services.
Our advising model gives us insight into recruiting activity and results are very promising. To date, at least 24 firms (and probably many more) have hired at least 2 students from the class of ’17. These organizations represent our strongest relationships – the Big 4 (PwC, EY, Deloitte and KPMG), Fidelity, John Hancock, Boston Scientific, State Street, TJX, Epsilon, Deloitte Consulting, Sun Life to name a few. These large organizations have highly selective leadership programs and they aggressively recruit in the fall for interns and graduating seniors. Their large hiring needs across multiple functional areas make them an ideal fit for Bentley which offers a critical mass of well-prepared students who are ready to interview in early October.
Spring semester is equally robust and began in early January with our semi-annual “Success in the City” employer site visits to NYC. Students attended an alumni panel discussion in Deloitte’s advisory practice; lunch with the CEO of Travelers and several executives/program managers followed by a recruiting presentation at Ipreo. The New York alumni club hosted students at an alumni reception that evening. During the same week, our “Business in Boston” employer visits were held at Arnold Communication, Salesforce Commerce Cloud and TripAdvisor, also followed by an alumni networking event. Our roundtable “Career Conversations” with over 40 employers were highly informative and addressed that frequent question “What can I do with my major?” Our spring Career Fair attracted 114 employer organizations and over 1,000 Bentley students – including many freshman currently enrolled in our Career Development Introduction (CDI 101) career class.
This is a busy season with many programs and workshops, so please encourage your son or daughter to visit our office in the coming weeks – it will be worth it! You can check out all of our activities and programs at careeredge.bentley.edu where you can also sign up for weekly e-mail alerts. Don’t hesitate to contact me if I can be of assistance.
Director, Undergraduate Career Services