Eighty-two percent of students in our first professional development class say they want a professional job in-hand as they graduate with their undergraduate degree. This should surprise no one. Business school students are practical. They come to us because they believe a business school education will enhance their employability.
This is why we ask business people and community leaders to come visit us (see my post from two weeks ago). First we ask them to tell their personal stories and that of their companies in The Exchange. They do so in large numbers every week so that students can understand what skills and experiences they are looking for in new employees, how their companies compete and how varied career paths can be. We follow this up with chances to attend our Careerfest, where students can learn more about potential careers and get matched with a mentor who can help guide them. We do Careerfest every spring and fall. In fact, we have the spring 2018 edition tomorrow. And we close the loop by inviting them to interview and hire our students. We did this last Friday when more than 45 employers with internships and jobs were invited to meet 700 of our best prepared students at The Invitational at the Venue. For employers with especially large or unique needs, we even do entire days where we feature them in the College.
Yet despite all these opportunities to connect with companies and find your career before you leave us, the data tells me that only about half of our students will achieve this important goal. Why? There are many reasons. For one, too many students have unrealistic expectations about how easy it is to get a great job. But, I think another key factor for a lot of students is that they let the immediate crowd out the important… They are too preoccupied with their current classes, clubs, social experiences and work obligations. Too busy now to invest in their future. So they put it off. Before they know it, they are graduating without having done anything toward their goal. Be smart, not busy. Understand that you will never be in a better position to meet more employers and alumni who are willing to help you find your way and leave UCF with a great career in hand than right now. Make that a priority. You can be busy later.