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Monmouth grads once again outperform national 'first destination' average

Barry McNamara
04/19/2017
Nearing the one-year anniversary of their graduation, the Class of 2016 believes "Monmouth College is not just a four-year investment, but a 40-year one."
Ninety-nine percent of Monmouth College’s Class of 2016 respondents is employed or in a graduate school, according to an annual survey conducted by the College’s Wackerle Career and Leadership Center.

One of those graduates, Brian Johnson, credited Monmouth College for helping him get where he is today.

“Monmouth College is not just a four-year investment, but a 40-year one,” he said.

A sales resource associate for The HON Company in the Washington, D.C., area, Johnson said Monmouth’s faculty, the Wackerle Center and internship experiences were among the factors in his development from college student to young professional.

“I never thought I would want to be in account management/sales until I did a business development internship with Network Business Systems (in Geneseo, Ill.) the summer going into my senior year,” said Johnson, who also interned with the Burlington (Iowa) Bees minor league baseball team and Hammond-Henry Hospital in Geneseo. “But looking back, it makes sense I went towards sales. I enjoy working with people, and the competitiveness was an aspect that I enjoyed from playing football at Monmouth.”

Monmouth’s faculty, he said, “emphasize application in a ‘real life’ setting versus theory,” and the Wackerle Center was helpful in preparing him “from the beginning of the job seeking process, up until the final interviews. Everything from résumé building to mock interviews helped out tremendously in that process.”

Another 2016 graduate now in the workforce, Emily Flint, also credited Monmouth’s faculty.

“Accounting is a very technical degree in which having the knowledge of the information is critical, but the caring people who taught me both accounting and business is what is important to me,” said Flint, a staff risk consultant at Crowe Horwath in Springfield, Ill. “They taught me much more than debits and credits. They taught me passion, joy, enthusiasm and hard work.”

And building relationships, said Flint, is a key element in finding work beyond college.

“I truly believe that finding a job after college comes down to relationships,” she said. “Having different relationships with different people helped me get the job I have today, and the Wackerle Center instilled that thought process within me. Never overlook a handshake with someone or a quick hello, because you never know, that person might be your future boss looking for a person just like you.”

Johnson also offered advice to current and prospective students.

“The advice I’d give for post-grad success would be to get involved, be open to new opportunities and present when possible, even though it’s uncomfortable, because presenters get promoted,” he said. “If you get nervous about doing something that you know can grow your professional skill set or personal skill set, sprint toward that opportunity and face it head on. That’s a great way to improve yourself. I hated presenting in high school and college, but now it’s what I do every day to groups – sometimes in the triple digits.”

That is the type of advice also passed along by the Wackerle Center staff, including Director Marnie Dugan.

“Students continue to take a very proactive approach to their job search, including utilizing the services of the Wackerle Center,” said Dugan, who noted the center’s services are free of charge to both students and alumni. “More than 80 percent of the class of 2016 had been served either through individual appointments or program attendance by early April. We have the opportunity to really get to know the seniors, which helps us to provide a very personalized approach to their career planning, including accessing the alumni network for internship and job opportunities.”

Dugan said that to fully understand the significance of the College’s 99 percent placement rate – which it achieved for the fifth consecutive year, “It’s important to look at national averages.”

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), the national “first destination” rate to be employed or in further schooling six months after graduation is 85 percent.

Also significant is the national “knowledge rate” of 63 percent, meaning that the average college or university knows what is happening professionally or academically with 63 percent of its most recent graduates. The knowledge rate for Monmouth’s Class of 2016 is 80 percent.

“Our statistics continue to outperform the national trends, demonstrating the value of the investment in a Monmouth College education,” said Dugan.

Another notable figure in Monmouth’s survey – and one of the keys to the College’s strong placement numbers – was how many members of the Class of 2016 had internship experiences while at Monmouth. Seventy-nine percent of the recent graduates reported participating in at least one internship during their four years at Monmouth, compared to the national rate of 62.4 percent. Seventy-one percent of the respondents reported that a bachelor’s degree was required for their position.

Members of the Class of 2016 who headed to graduate school are studying at Big Ten universities (Indiana and Iowa), Illinois universities such as Bradley, Illinois State and DePaul, and out-of-state schools. Among the subjects being studied are chemistry, nursing, medicine, health care administration and computer science.

Of the recent Monmouth graduates who are employed, several have joined Johnson in working out of state, in such locations as St. Louis, Fort Worth, Texas, and South Africa. Many others are working in Chicago.

Emily Olson is spending her first post-Monmouth year in Boston, working for City Year, and she says the experience has given her the opportunity “to give back to my country for a year of service after college and figure out more of the nonprofit world. City Year has helped me realize that I want to work in the nonprofit management world, and Monmouth College encouraged me to take this leap with City Year.”