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Friday, Feb. 23, 2024
The Observer

Seniors report first destinations after graduation, enter changing workforce

With 70% of graduating seniors reporting their post-graduation plans to the Meruelo Family Center for Career Development (CCD), early results indicate trends for the class of 2023 similar to previous classes.

According to data collected in a joint effort by the CCD and Office of Strategic Planning and Institutional Research (OSPIR), about two-thirds of students will be moving on to pursue employment, a fifth of students will pursue further education, attending law school, medical school or other graduate programs and about 4% will engage in service.

While these numbers are similar to data reported last year by the CCD, Ryan Willerton, associate vice president for career and professional development described in a media report sent to The Observer that seniors are entering a changing workforce.

While two-thirds of students will begin their employment in person, approximately a third of students will have hybrid arrangements. Some — less than 2% of graduates — will have exclusively remote work.

Willerton said that graduates have not been bound in their career options by their college or major. 

“Academic majors inform, but do not define, what direction our students take,” he wrote.

Employers hiring at least one student from three or more academic colleges include PwC, Deloitte, Epic, Amazon, McKinsey, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, EY, West Monroe, Eli Lilly and Bain.

Willerton also highlighted graduates following strong pipelines to select employers, naming PwC, Deloitte, Epic, Amazon, McKinsey, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, KPMG and JP Morgan, all of whom hired more than 10 seniors.

“Some students identified their career paths as early as their sophomore year, while others plan to begin their respective job searches after graduation,” Willerton said. “A common thread that all of these students have in common is that the Notre Dame family has always been by their side and will continue to be here for them. Our team of career counselors has been supporting students needing assistance with securing their first destination after earning their degrees, and we will walk along every student who needs help.”

Along with highlighting the effect of the CCD, Willerton identified the significance of internships students secured during their undergraduate careers. About half of the students who have secured employment are returning to employers where they completed a summer internship. 

Notre Dame graduates in the class of 2023 will be arriving in destinations around the world, Willerton said. The most popular destinations reported so far include Chicago, New York, Boston, Washington DC, Indianapolis, Madison and Seattle. 

Seniors pursuing further education have been accepted offers to dentistry programs at Pennsylvania, Michigan and Creighton; advanced degrees in engineering at MIT, Stanford and Carnegie Mellon; advanced degrees in sciences at Cornell, Yale and USC; medical programs at Columbia, Indiana and Northwestern and law degrees at Yale, Stanford, Chicago, Harvard, Virginia and Duke.

The Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) continues to be the most popular for graduates who complete post-graduate service.

Willerton says that the variety of post-graduation outcomes is a success.

“Our goal at the Meruelo Family Center for Career Development is to ensure every graduating senior begins their career with a meaningful first opportunity that aligns with their interests and skills. Career success is not defined solely by a first destination. Staff from the Center for Career Development remain available to help graduating seniors with their postgraduate career goals, whether employment, graduate school, service work, or other plans,” he wrote.

Wilerton also touched on certain changes in the employment market, including start dates for certain firms.

“Over the last few weeks, we have heard from students who accepted offers from a handful of employers who indicated their start dates would be delayed to begin after January 2024, instead of a summer or fall 2023 start date,” he said. “While this is not widespread, it is a situation we are actively monitoring and supporting those seniors affected by helping them explore alternative options.”

Lucie Kneip is a graduating senior who studied political science and global affairs. Kneip, a resident of McGlinn Hall, says she applied to a good number of positions but ultimately doesn’t know exactly what her career will look like after walking the commencement stage on Sunday.

“I applied to a ton of places, got a lot of rejections. Sometimes I didn't even get rejected. You just didn't hear back,” she recalled.

Kneip ultimately wants to work in the policy realm, putting her education to use. But that road has been rocky, and she’ll finish her summer internship and begin applying for fellowships.

“It's really hard to do [what] my professor calls embrac[ing] ambiguity, basically looking at uncertainty and being okay with it. Like we want to control everything in our lives and it is really frustrating when we can't… And to some extent, like I'm still very nervous about the future… I know it probably looks like I am content with not knowing what I'm going to do next, but it definitely sucks. I'm not gonna try to sugarcoat it or anything, but at the same time, I do have confidence in what I want to do with my life, even if I don't know exactly how that's going to manifest itself, like what sort of position, what sort of job but I do know that I have worked too hard,” Kneip said.

Kneip said that maintaining career goals requires persistence.

“It does kind of reassure you that there is not a laid-out, linear process for how you want to really create the career that you want. Just keep in mind that where you are now is not where you're gonna be in five years, and maybe something really good will come down the line that you didn't expect. So it's really just being persistent and getting that first opportunity,” she said.