Does College Choice Affect Job Placement? Not Quite

Written by Kelly Martinek and Kendall Hitch

How large a part does a student’s choice of school really play into their life after college?

According to Seaholm Counselors, it may not play that large of a role.

“It’s less about where you get the degree, and it’s more about what you did, what opportunities you sought, and what you did where you were at school,” Seaholm counselor Toby Loukmas said.

Seaholm graduate Jordan Kristopik (Class of 2008) said she made her college experience at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business her own.

“The B-School at Michigan is allabout getting a job… butI ended up being ‘rebellious’ and choosing my own path,” Kristopik said. “I didn’t want to do the normal recruiting path through the B-School.”

Instead, she pursued a summer internship with Marwood Group, a health care investment advisory firm, in New York City, which eventually led her to her current job with the firm in Washington, D.C.

“I make a significantly lower salary than if I would’ve embraced the B-School recruiting system, but I have a high quality of life (great co-workers, flexible hours),” Kristopik said. “I’m working at a job I love.”

However, according to Erica Sanders, Managing Director of Recruitment and Operations for Undergraduate Admissions at U of M, there are still benefits to going to a well-known university like U of M.

Sanders said that, because of the university’s reputation- including its competitive admissions process and high graduation rate- employers have faith in students graduating the college and entering the job market.

2010 Seaholm graduate Mari Manoogian said while a choice of college may not be important to such majors, it was instrumental for her success.

“Being at George Washington over State was really key for me to get internship opportunities, which is really important in International Relations,” Manoogian said.

Manoogian spent two years at Michigan State, and is now in her second semester at George Washington after realizing this was the best choice for her major.

“I’m the only person I know who as actually gone as far as to switch colleges for opportunities,” Manoogian said, “but it was the right choice for me and I’m happy with my decision.”

Loukmas believes that finding the right fit, like Mari did, is really the key to making the most out of the college experience as well as having the most success in the job market.

“I think that the determining factor for getting a job is what you do with your college experience,” Loukmas said.

Seaholm Career Counselor Judith Stahl said that it is difficult to track how much students, per their college and that earnings are more based on the major. However, Loukmas said that a common misperception is that students feel that they can rely on the name of their college to help them succeed outside of school in internship and job opportunities.

“You are not going to be hired because you have a degree from X school, you have to be good in the interview, among other things,” Loukmas said.

Loukmas also believes it is a mistake to think that once a student is admitted to a high profile college, the work is over. Loukmas said a lot of what factors in to your career placement after college is how well students do in class and in out of school activities.

“You can’t sit back and let the name of the college be the thing you fall back on,” Loukmas said.

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