Results from a December survey administered to graduates of the Class of 2011 show that 68 percent of respondents are employed part-time or fulltime, 26 percent are attending graduate school, and  3 percent are still seeking employment. Over 220 alumni responded to the survey.
Compiled by the Office of Institutional Research, these statistics are nearly identical to those from last year’s “one-year out” survey of the Class of 2010, which found that 67 percent of respondents were employed, 15 percent were attending graduate school, and 3 percent were seeking employment.

While these statistics suggest widespread success among recent graduates, Nyle Usmani ’12 pointed out that these surveys include non-career-oriented jobs and part-time jobs, and therefore might be artificially high. 

“The statistics don’t lie. Most people leaving Bowdoin will find themselves at a good place. But in my case, I’m still fighting to be at a good place and I’m unemployed…it’s not happening the way that I imagined.”

Usmani is currently an unpaid intern at a hedge fund and continues to search for paid work at a consulting firm.

The survey results show that education, business and finance continue to be among the most popular first employment opportunities for Bowdoin graduates. However, Director of Career Planning Tim Diehl described the industry breakdown for Bowdoin grads’ first job as “a pie that has a lot of pieces in it.”

“Industries including consulting and finance, education and nonprofit, government and law, scientific research, those are very popular entry-level opportunities for Bowdoin students within a year of graduation,” he said. “Not to mention the cohort that enrolls in a graduate program in that time frame.”

According to the survey, the bulk of 2011 grads currently enrolled in graduate programs are pursuing PhDs, master’s degrees, or medical degrees, and Tufts and Ivy League universities are among the most common destinations for graduate study.

Despite employment in a variety of fields after graduation, approval ratings for the CPC are still among the lowest for organizations at the College. In both the 2011 and 2012 November approval ratings surveys conducted by the Orient, the CPC recieved a 74 percent approval rating.  By comparison, Bowdoin’s faculty recieved a 97 percent approval rating in fall 2012.

A common criticism of the CPC continues to be its alleged emphasis on consulting and finance jobs and internships.

“Career Planning is a joke,” a member of the Class of 2012 commentedin the Orient’s survey last spring. “Saying that they care about fields besides finance and consulting doesn’t make it true; I got no significant help in my job search.”

“It’s a misperception that only finance and consulting firms come to campus,” countered Diehl, pointing out that over 350 jobs and internships are currently posted on eBEAR, a majority of which are not consulting or finance opportunities. “The best thing Bowdoin students can do is prepare, engage early, and stay persistently engaged while they’re in their senior year and through graduation.”

Both Diehl and William Bao Bean ’95, managing director at Singtel Innov8 in China, emphasized the importance of internships for landing jobs after graduation. Bean has helped to build a finance network of Bowdoin alumni in Asia and regularly hires Bowdoin students.

“We have a network of investment banks out here,” said Bean. “It’s a lot easier to find a job in Asia once you’ve had a job in Asia.” Bean reflected on hiring a larger number of Bowdoin grads in 2008 who moved overseas during the economic downturn.

Graduates such as Adam Marquit ’11—who started his career in finance at a small firm called MF Global—also felt the effects of a weak economy.

“I was only two months into my job when my company went bankrupt pretty unexpectedly. I think I can safely say I was the first person in my graduating class to get fired,” said Marquit, who now works at a tech startup called WebFilings.

Although the economy is still recovering from the recession, Diehl asserts that “in addition to engagement, continued preparation and persistence in the process yields results.”
For some recent grads, however, the search for full-time employment continues.

“One thing I totally overlooked is that it’s ten times harder finding a job after you graduate,” said Usmani. “A lot of these companies have hiring space set aside for members of the graduating class, but once you’ve graduated you’ll enter into another pile for future graduates. It looks like a lot of people like me fell through the cracks.”