Lindner students with co-op or internship experience more likely to find jobs, earn more after graduating
By Matt Koesters
You can’t get experience without a job, but you can’t get the job without experience. That’s the tough reality college graduates often face when looking for their first full-time job.
Data collected from the 2016-17 graduating class of the University of Cincinnati Lindner College of Business provide new evidence of the importance of professional experience. The numbers, collected by Lindner Career Services (LCS), show that 81 percent of graduates with at least one co-op or internship experience found work within three months of graduation, compared to 62 percent of graduates that didn’t co-op or intern during their undergraduate work.
Students with four or more professional experiences were not only more likely to find work within three months of graduation, they also earn more. Such students had an average starting salary of $53,514, compared to $42,490 earned by students with none. “They may be more likely to negotiate salary,” explains Angie Lucas, LCS associate director. “They may just be more confident with the experience that they have and be more likely to ask for more. They’re also applying for jobs that require more experience.”
Another possibility is that students are forming relationships with their future employers through their co-op experiences. Although Lucas says that’s not something LCS has dug into yet, it’s certainly the case for recent Lindner marketing graduate, Emily Bleuher, BBA '17.
Bleuher first crossed paths with her dream employer, the Nielsen Company, at the UC Fall Career Fair during her sophomore year. She didn’t get the gig, but she found a mentor willing to give her advice and answer her questions about the industry. She interned at a rival market research firm in her native Chicago during the summer between her sophomore and junior years, but Nielsen remained her goal. “That whole period of time, I stayed in touch with my interviewer from Nielsen and just stayed on good terms with him,” Bleuher says. “I applied again last fall and received the internship.”
Despite a relationship that goes back more than a year, Bleuher’s relationship with the Nielsen Company is just getting started; they extended her a full-time job offer well before she graduated from UC, with an annual starting salary in the mid-$50,000 range.
Bleuher’s networking skills helped her land the job, but she also credits LCS for helping her prepare for life after college. That’s where she got help with perfecting her resume and polishing her interview skills. “I think it’s a great service that everyone should utilize,” she says.
The Lindner College of Business has placed an increased emphasis on getting students prepared for the workplace. Lindner Career Services now has 11 full-time staff members that work directly with students and employers, and the college now requires all freshmen and transfer students to take a class called Career Success Strategies, which is taught by LCS staff.