Miami University grads ride the road to success
Recent Miami graduates, upon shedding their caps and gowns, took on the world full-force. Over 91 percent of Miami University alumni who graduated between August 2012 and May 2013 were employed or in graduate school by 2013.
Of those individuals, 19 percent were enrolled in graduate school and 75 percent were employed or had received a job offer, alumni both working and attending school accounting for the percentage overlap, according to statistics from the Office of Institutional Research (OIR).
Miami alumni surpassed their peers across the nation when it came to post-graduation employment. According to the most recent National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) survey, 59 percent of 2011 graduates were employed as full or part-time employees six to eight months following graduation. NACE includes nearly 2,000 colleges and universities nationwide.
Director of University News and Communications Claire Wagner said this is the first year Miami has been able to gather reliable data on alumni employment and continued education.
"We haven't been able to compare the previous years," Wagner said. "Every school tries to do surveys, but generally there's not a lot of participation. This time we've got 100 percent covered of those who are in school and 56 percent participation of those who are employed, and that's a really solid statistic."
Wagner said Miami increased efforts to gather more data, which led to a better participation rate in alumni surveys.
"We put out extra effort," Wagner said. "There's now a National [Student] Clearinghouse database for enrolled students, so we could confirm people who are in graduate school. The Career Services office called 2,000 alumni just from this last year to confirm some things and follow up on LinkedIn as well."
According to Director of Career Services Mike Goldman, Miami provides a number of resources to students through the Office of Career Services to help place them after graduation. He said Career Services is focusing on expanding networks for students beyond traditional career fairs.
"We've providing comprehensive services to students based on their career interests," Goldman said. "Rather than just send students to a career fair or to Miami CareerLink, we recognize that students with different career goals enter the labor market differently so for some students, the opportunities they're looking for may be on Twitter, on LinkedIn, on a website, and we need to teach our students where to find these opportunities."
Goldman said Career Services is working to improve career networks for students.
"We need to do a better job of surrounding every student with their own personal career community involving faculty, staff, alumni, parents, so every student has resources they can draw on to prepare themselves and confidently enter the labor market," Goldman said.
Miami alumnus Colten Kidwell graduated in May 2013. Kidwell is now working in the consumer and market knowledge division of Procter and Gamble and also co-owns video production company Openview Cinema.
"I think one of the biggest factors of [my success] had a lot to do with my major, studying Economics in the Farmer School of Business," Kidwell said. "I learned how to learn, how to approach problems, do an analysis, have a point of view and get that across."
Kidwell said experiences out of the classroom were an even stronger influence on his post-graduation success, including getting business experience in business fraternity Pi Sigma Epsilon and running his own company.
However, Kidwell said Miami could improve upon counseling students on their choice in major.
"I think Miami could be a lot better about being realistic about majors," he said. "I think it's unfortunate that when freshmen come to Miami, they're kind of told to do what they want. I don't think people shouldn't pursue what they're passionate about, but they should also be a little more practical, look at employment opportunities."
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