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Disparities exist in CPC programming

February 8, 2019

The Orient’s midyear approval ratings showed that the senior class is overwhelmingly dissatisfied with the Career Planning Center (CPC)—but further investigation has shown that approval varies widely by industry, with students looking to enter consulting and technology generally expressing positive sentiments while students in arts and communications are the least happy.

Seventy-nine current seniors conveyed their attitudes towards career planning in an Orient survey. Those who hoped to work in technology or education felt that the CPC has been helpful in their job search, while students planning to work in communication, journalism, arts or entertainment were underwhelmed. Overall, 59.5 percent of seniors felt the CPC has been helpful in their job search, while 31.1 percent felt it has been unhelpful. These figures are similar to those reported in the Bowdoin Orient Student Survey two weeks ago.

Executive Director of the CPC Kristin Brennan noted that for most students, the timing of the job application process varies by industry. Recruiting for finance and software engineering occurs in the fall, for example, and hiring for most other fields ramps up in the spring.

“The inherent challenge for a student navigating this terrain is, ‘what does the job search for me look like?’—not ‘what does the job search look like, period,’” she said. “Because they actually look so different.”

Still, some students say they feel certain industries have more support than others. Just 43 percent of students looking for jobs in arts and entertainment were satisfied with the CPC, compared to 73 percent of students looking for jobs in technology.

Bowdoin’s online job board, eBear, currently has five job postings listed under the industry of “Arts & Entertainment,” which includes the subcategories “Film/Video,” “Performing Arts, “Graphic Arts,” “Visual Arts” and “Music.” By contrast, 45 jobs are listed under “Education,” 31 under “Finance and Banking” and 18 under “Consulting.”

“Whenever I go on [eBear] looking for something film-related, or science communications-related even, there’s really just not a lot on there,” said Railey Zantop-Zimlinghaus ’19, an Earth and Oceanographic Studies major with a Cinema Studies minor.

This disparity exists beyond the current snapshot. The CPC sends out weekly newsletters with job and internship opportunities for each field that they have found on eBear. This academic year, the Consulting and Finance newsletters list an average of 13.1 jobs each week, while the Arts and Communications newsletters list an average of 5.5 jobs per week.

Beyond eBear, the CPC offers the Liberal Arts Career Network (LACN), a consortium of more than 30 colleges that includes a job database. Several of Bowdoin’s peer schools in the LACN, such as Bates and Middlebury, also subscribe to other services, such as Handshake.

These services provide access to a greater number of job postings in fields where Bowdoin lacks, such as communications. For example, a Bates student searching on Handshake would currently see more than 150 jobs and internships in journalism. By comparison, LACN lists just a dozen.

Brennan, who started at Bowdoin this past fall, emphasized that the CPC aims to support all students—regardless of what they want to do.

“On month seven in the role, I’m deeply curious about what people’s experience with career planning is,” she said. “We should get more different people on different paths, because that’s really important.”

Kayla Snyder
SEEKING CONNECTIONS Bowdoin seniors report having access to fewer job postings in fields such as journalism than in fields such as finance. Other colleges seem to offer more resources.

After several appointments at the CPC, Zantop-Zimlinghaus has come to rely on personal networks to launch a career in the film industry, using connections referred to her by her aunt and her roommate to set up interviews.

“I’ve never actually landed something directly through Career Planning,” she said.

Dean Zucconi ’19, a senior looking toward student affairs in higher education, echoed this sentiment. After five meetings with various advisors at the CPC in the fall, he said that the greatest advice he received was the name of an online job board specifically tailored for jobs in higher ed.

“[My advisor] showed me LinkedIn, but I’m already pretty familiar with LinkedIn, so it kind of felt like wasted time,” he said. “I felt like, not even that I was going in circles, but that I hadn’t even started making next-step sort of progress.”

This experience contrasts with that of Eddie Korando ’20, who is interested in pursuing consulting. Korando secured his internship for this upcoming summer directly through the CPC and indicated that his internship could potentially result in a full-time job.

“I was meeting with [my advisor], and he told me about this firm. He said, ‘They have an internship application, I think you’d be a really good fit for it. If you want me to send over your resume, we’ll see where it goes from there,’” said Korando. “So it really sort of came up as more of a spontaneous thing.”

In addition to one-on-one meetings, Korando cited consulting-specific resources, such as practice case interviews, which help prepare students and personalize questions to a range of businesses and firms.

That type of relationship between the CPC advisor and employer is one that Zantop-Zimlinghaus says she wishes were more common.

“I wish there was a more personal aspect to networking, rather than just emailing someone who graduated in like 1960 and being like, ‘Hey, I also go to Bowdoin!’”


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One comment:

  1. ConcernedBowdoinSupporter says:

    Fear not, the disparities you see are minimal. The level and type of support all Bowdoin students receive from Career Planning and Placement is inadequate across the board. Bowdoin should work as hard to promote its soon to be grads with employers as it does to sell itself to high school juniors, seniors and their parents, but it does not.

    Rather than pitting seekers of one type of job against seekers of another type of job, the authors could better serve all students by bringing them some real facts about how much more the CPC could do for them. Perhaps start with the list of the 20 colleges/universities with the highest per student endowment (yes, Bowdoin is on that list) and compare Bowdoin’s placement success and services to the other 19.

    40+ percent of seniors graduating without jobs is not a number to be proud of; nor does it make for an enjoyable senior year. Do yourselves a favor–look into it and speak up, because once you are in the throes of it, you will be too busy and stressed out to do anything but keep your head above water.

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