For the class of 2009, graduating from the University and leaving Ann Arbor is a venture into uncharted territory.
After entering the Big House as students and living as graduates, the recent graduates have headed off to take jobs and start new projects all over the world. Regardless of choice of major, the economy and turbulent job markets have affected graduates’ decisions and caused some students to rethink their career paths.
LSA senior Tara Boinpally will be attending medical school in Cleveland, Ohio but said that some of her fellow graduates are still unsure about their future plans.
“I think that some of (my friends) are changing what they originally intended to do and are going to graduate programs,” she said. “Some of them are setting off on their own and seeing what happens.”
Ross School of Business senior Jeffrey Fishman, who has secured a job in the fall, plans to take it easy in the summer months leading up to the start of his career.
“For the next three months I don’t have any plans,” he said. “Travel the country, take some road trips, visit some people. After that, I’m working for a bank in New York.”
Allan Cotrone, the director of Career Development and Student Affairs at the Ross School of Business, said that over the past couple years the trend has been for many students to take more “socially responsible careers” like Teach for America. He said students are beginning to think about seeking these types of jobs rather than more traditional jobs in banking or consulting.
Cotrone said that this year, 75 percent of graduating Business School students who responded to a Business School survey reported they had secured a job offer by graduation, which is a 10 percent decrease from last year’s results.
Cotrone attributed the decline in graduates landing job offers to the lagging economy.
“I’ve never seen it as bad as this for students looking for jobs,” he added.
According to Lynne Sebille-White, senior assistant director of employer relations at the Career Center, the job search for graduates of the College of Literature, Science and the Arts isn’t much easier.
She also blamed the economy for the lack of hiring opportunities, but said that graduates can still find jobs if they put in some extra work.
“The economy has impacted hiring in many different industries and geographic locations,” she wrote in an e-mail interview. “However, this does not mean no one is hiring. Job searching is taking more time and requires flexibility and networking.”
Sebille-White said that job search resources like the Career Center can be very helpful because they offer their services to students up to one year after graduation.
“Tapping alumni networks via the UM Alumni Association’s inCircle and other networking tools can be very valuable,” she wrote. “There are also professional associations in every field imaginable.”
Sebille-White wrote that while LSA conducts a “destination survey” for each graduating class, these surveys are not necessarily predictive and aren’t published until about nine months after graduation.
She added that the statistics for the class of 2008 can’t be compared to those of the class of 2009 because the current generation of graduating students is experiencing a much different economy and job search.
Sebille-White also wrote that LSA students are interested in taking a year or two off after graduation and working in their desired field as they were in years with stable economies.
Students in the College of Engineering are also finding that the job search is taking longer than expected.
Cynthia Redwine, director of the Engineering Career Resource Center, said students still looking for jobs should continue to search and take advantage of networks and opportunities.
“We encourage students to maintain a positive attitude, network, expect the search to take a bit longer (6-9 months) and to not overlook small and medium size companies,” Redwine wrote in an e-mail interview.
She also wrote that while there may not be many jobs out there, internships are harder to come by as well.
William Rich, a student graduating with a master’s degree from the Ford School of Public Policy, offered an optimistic take on the situation.
“Yeah, everyone is (worried about jobs),” he said. “A lot of my classmates are going to a public sector, and even then it’s hard. No one’s really worried about getting a job in an absolute sense — it’s just taking more time than is convenient.”