Graduates from the Pamplin College of Business are highly successful in the job market, sought after by employers for their educational foundation, leadership and teamwork abilities, and preparation for a culturally diverse workplace.
“The college has the best placement record on campus, with six business majors among the top 10 majors interviewed by employers recruiting on campus through the university’s Career Services office in the 2011-12 academic year,” said Stuart Mease, Pamplin’s director of undergraduate career advancement and employer relations. Virginia Tech offers 78 academic majors.
Mease said the employment rate for Pamplin’s 2011 graduates, the latest year for which data is available, ranged from about 70 percent for finance, management, and marketing majors to more than 75 percent for students in hospitality and tourism and more than 85 percent for those in business information technology.
For accounting and information systems majors, the combined employment and continuing education rate is 90 percent. Because most accounting students choose to stay on for a fifth year and a master's program that will let them get the 150 credit hours required for the CPA license — most of them already have a job secured when they begin that program — the combined rate presents a more accurate measure of career success, Mease said.
Pamplin’s placement success is reflected in a Wall Street Journal survey that ranked Virginia Tech the 13th best campus for college recruiting in the U.S. “Employers appreciate what I call our ‘blue-collar work ethic, white-collar intelligence,’ ” he said, referring to the combination of the students’ diligence and their solid academic grounding.
“We are always looking for people with leadership qualities who are organized and can manage execution of projects,” said Daniel Butler, a recruiter with Target, which hired six Pamplin graduates in 2011 for management positions and eight more as of summer 2012.
Also important to the retailer: teamwork, a sense of accountability, and problem-solving skills. Good communication skills are “a must in today's retail world” as are “fun and friendly personalities,” Butler said.
Ernst & Young recruiter Wes Barrow said: "As our clients become more global and expand into new markets, they expect us to be equally diverse. Pamplin students portray deep perspectives in terms of diversity, which allows them to be well prepared for our unique ‘people first’ culture."
Visiting Pamplin in spring 2012, Chris Baines, a senior production support specialist at Capital One, said: “I can see why Capital One has been so successful recruiting from the business information technology program at Virginia Tech.”
The college offers students a range of career advisory and job search services and resources. Its career services staff visit recruiters and organize events to network with employers.
Undergraduate students are served by Mease, who has published a step-by-step guide to the job search called “The Perfect Job Seeker.” He said his aim is to “connect as many students as possible to as many professional opportunities as possible with as many organizations as possible.”
MBA students are assisted in their job search by MBA Associate Director Barry O’Donnell and Assistant Director Gina French. O’Donnell teaches two courses on career planning and job search strategies that are required for all MBA students, while French works on cultivating relationships with employers.
Students also have an opportunity to meet and interact with a multitude of employers in one central location and in an informal setting at Business Horizons, the annual day-long career fair organized by Pamplin undergraduates for all Pamplin students. More than 2,000 students and about 150 employer organizations attended the event in fall 2011.
For many job-seeking students, the fair is a must. "Business Horizons is the best way to get a job," said Christopher McKeever, a 2012 graduate who earned a management degree and was hired by IBM.
Rebecca Johns, who earned bachelor's and master's degrees in accounting and information systems in 2011 and 2012, respectively, said: "I started my job search early by going to Business Horizons my sophomore and junior years so that I was prepared for my senior year when I interviewed for internships."
Johns, who now works at Reznick Group, a national accounting firm, says her job search preparations included attending events sponsored by various accounting firms. “I posted my resume on Hokies4Hire and obtained an internship with Reznick Group as a result of participating in Career Services’ on-campus interviewing program. After my summer internship, I accepted a job offer to work full-time there after completing my master's degree.”
What's the key to a successful job search? Six Pamplin College of Business graduates offer their thoughts.
As a whole, business majors were the most in demand by campus recruiters during the 2011-12 school year, with about 3,400 job interviews given to about 1,000 students.
“Upon graduation, 53 percent of our MBAs seeking jobs had accepted offers, an 8 percent increase over last year,” said Gina French, assistant director of Virginia Tech’s MBA program.
The MBA office continues to collect data for three months after graduation, French said, and as of Aug. 2, 2012, 63 percent of graduates had accepted positions.
Though salaries vary according to experience and other credentials, “one MBA accepted an offer of $125,000 — the highest in the class — plus a significant signing bonus,” she said. “It’s indicative of what’s possible with a Virginia Tech MBA.”
Look through previous Spotlight stories