Networking, persistence key to jobs for W. P. Carey grads

(1.26) Carey
WORK NEEDED: Recent graduates of the W.P. Carey School of Business are facing increasing difficulties entering today's job market. (Photo by Michael Arellano)
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Tuesday, January 26, 2010
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The employment rate for graduates of the W. P. Carey School of Business was 78 percent for the May 2009 class, a decrease from the 92-to-95-percent average for previous years.

Though the job market may seem impenetrable, several ASU students and alumni have shown there are steps they can take to put themselves ahead of the curve.

“We’re seeing a challenging market — probably one of the most challenging we’ve seen in many years,” said Jim Clayton, director of the Graduate Career Management Center for the business school on the Tempe campus. “If you’re taking a robust approach to your job search, it’s going to make a huge difference.”

A robust approach to job searching includes going to career fairs and networking, Clayton said.

Students can prepare to enter the market and improve their chances with employers in many ways, he said.

“You have to be willing to prospect and do research on organizations to find out who else is in your market,” he said. “You’re dealing with a lot.”

Gaurav Ray, a finance major who graduated in December, is looking all over the country for work.

“I expected it to be pretty bad [after graduation]. I started my job search back in August, and I couldn’t find anything,” Ray said. “I knew it was going to be competitive because there are hundreds of finance majors that also want those jobs.”

The prospect of leaving school and entering the job market can be intimidating for many recent graduates.

“The first couple months before I graduated, it was scary,” said Shereen Ayyoub, another December graduate who majored in finance. “I was used to the day-to-day things, like the routine of school. It was scary that I was about to go out into the real world, doing the 40-hour-a-week, nine-to-five.”

After graduating, Ayyoub was hired as a sales and service specialist for Bank of America, where she worked during college.

“I know a lot of students don’t like working while they go to school, but I was already in the industry,” she said. “I got hired internally because I already knew everyone at Bank of America.”

Networking is a valuable tool that can help students search for jobs, Ayyoub said.

“Network as much as you can,” she said. “It’s all about who you know when you graduate.”

Nick Whorton, a December graduate who majored in supply chain management, encouraged teamwork among peers.

“Do not burn bridges. Your classmates you have now could be your boss down the line. Be nice to everybody and be a team player. If you don’t work well with others, find another degree,” he said. “If you can’t work well in college, you won’t be able to do it in the real world.”

While the advice students and advisers have to offer may differ at some points, there are common themes that apply to everyone.

“Get a really good internship, even if it’s unpaid,” Ray said. “Create a good relationship with that employer. That’s the best and easiest way to get a job.”

Students should also have appreciation for their experience, Whorton said.

“Make sure you’re getting into something that you really enjoy doing,” Whorton said. “You have to be happy in life, enjoying what you’re doing. Utilize your resources, like your advisers, your professors, and even the job fairs. You have all of these opportunities; take advantage of that.”

Reach the reporter at joseph.schmidt@asu.edu