The Center for Careers, Life, and Service, in collaboration with Institutional Research, conducts an annual survey of graduating seniors regarding their post-graduation plans. The data from those surveys have been compiled into the Post-Graduation Status Reports linked below. Each report, downloadable in PDF format, gives a snapshot look at where seniors' plans take them following graduation from Grinnell College.
To empower students and alumni to live, learn, and work with meaning and purpose
Archie Tyson ’06 transferred to Grinnell for two reasons: the rigorous education and the opportunity to play football. “I knew that I wasn’t going to get drafted to play in the NFL, so my attitude was to play and enjoy the game, but to get a quality education at the same time,” he says.
“I appreciated the positivity of the coaches,” he adds. “They weren’t trying to break you down. They all realize that football is going to come to an end, and that you’re eventually going to be a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer, or a teacher, or something else, and that you need to develop skills and an identity outside of the sport.”
By playing a varsity sport, Tyson learned to juggle many different responsibilities, particularly his rigorous academic workload.
As a kid, Tyson didn’t spend much time in an academic setting like the one at Grinnell. “If you miss a class, your professor notices it and will ask you about the absence,” he says. “That level of personal attention goes a long way toward the development of a student.”
Professor Daniel Kaiser (history) helped Tyson learn how to take the great ideas he had in his head and arrange them cohesively into an argument. “I appreciated how honest he was and how committed he was to ensuring that I would be successful,” Tyson says.
Tyson used that same care and attention with his own students when he started his career with Teach for America. He took the time to immerse himself in the community where they were growing up. “Kids would work for me in the classroom because they knew that I noticed them, that I cared about them, and that I was concerned about their progress,” he says.
Tyson was quickly promoted from a classroom teacher to dean of students — while commuting to New York City to earn a master’s in educational leadership and administration at Columbia University.
“After having taken graduate-level courses, I can see that you get a different type of education at Grinnell,” he says. “If you go into any type of graduate program, you’ll instantly tell that the quality of education and the instruction that you received have set you up for success.”
Archie Tyson ’06 majored in history. He is assistant principal and director of football operations at KIPP Blytheville Collegiate High School in Blytheville, Ark.
There is no doubt that résumés showing experiences at top companies attract attention during the hiring process. So how do you get that experience? By landing a quality summer internship.
For Grinnell students, summer internships at TIAA-CREF Financial Services are the gold standard. Interns get to work with high-level staff on challenging projects — for an organization whose values Grinnellians believe in.
Several Grinnell students are accepted at TIAA-CREF each year, and more than 40 Grinnellians have held summer internships there in the past 15 years.
Natalie Duncombe ’15 was a Grinnellink intern at TIAA-CREF in 2013. She says building a mentor relationship with Michael Kahn ’74 was the most valuable aspect of her internship. Kahn is senior managing director of corporate strategy and development at TIAA-CREF in New York City.
“His advice throughout the summer helped me get the most out of my time at TIAA-CREF, and he continued to help me with recommendation letters, as well as career, résumé, and interview advice,” Duncombe says. “Without him and my time at TIAA-CREF, I don't know if I would have been as successful in securing my economic research assistant position at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors in Washington, D.C.”
“TIAA-CREF is a particularly great environment for Grinnell students,” says Kahn. “We’re a mission-driven organization. We exist to serve those who serve the greater good, which aligns well with how Grinnellians think about what their role in the world will be.”
Kahn sponsors, mentors, and works closely with the majority of Grinnell interns, whether their student experiences are physically located in midtown Manhattan or at another major TIAA-CREF campus, such as Charlotte, N.C.
David Jutrsa ’15 was also a Grinnellink summer intern at TIAA-CRFE in 2013. “David worked on a potential major acquisition,” Kahn says. “It was a really big deal, and it was complicated. As an intern you’d think you would never get near something that interesting, but he got to work with the core team and was in meetings with our most senior staff.”
Jutrsa, who recently accepted a research assistant position with the International Monetary Fund, says, “The TIAA-CREF internship exposed me to the world of business, and really solidified my interest in finance. I would definitely recommend any Grinnellink internship with TIAA-CREF to students looking to break into these fields and connect what they learn in classes to the professional world.”
The Grinnellink internship program, which builds on connections with Grinnell alumni and friends, is run by the Center for Careers, Life, and Service. CLS plays an integral part in matching students with summer internship opportunities.
Natalie Duncombe ’15 and David Jutrsa ’15 both majored in economics.
Grinnell College has entered into an agreement with HBX, the online arm of Harvard Business School, to provide additional benefits for Grinnell students taking Harvard’s online business fundamentals course, the Credential of Readiness (CORe) program.
The partnership expands access to CORe for Grinnell students by enabling HBX to provide increased levels of need-based financial aid for the program, guaranteeing space in CORe for Grinnell students and support for additional student-related services. HBX has entered into similar partnerships with Carleton College, Hamilton College, Wellesley College, and Williams College. These agreements are based on a similar arrangement for Harvard College students since summer 2014.
“We are delighted to partner with these five prominent colleges to create additional opportunities for their students to participate in the CORe program,” says Harvard Business School professor Bharat Anand, faculty chair of HBX.
“We, too, are excited about this partnership,” says Mark Peltz, the Daniel ’77 and Patricia Jipp Finkelman ’80 Dean in the Center for Careers, Life, and Service (CLS). “The HBX CORe program complements Grinnell’s rigorous liberal arts education with its focus on business analytics, economics for managers, and financial accounting. The case-study approach used at HBS requires participants to apply and develop these market-ready skills. Students from all academic backgrounds — with wide-ranging career aspirations — would benefit from this program.” Additional funding support for this new partnership is made possible by the Finkelman Deanship.
HBX CORe is an online program, consisting of approximately 150 hours of learning, for students and early career professionals to learn the fundamentals of business on a highly engaging and interactive platform designed by Harvard Business School faculty.
“The HBX CORe program has been designed to teach the fundamentals of business to college students, and to prepare them for the workplace,” Anand says. “We created our own course platform to allow students to learn using Harvard Business School’s signature inductive learning approach that leverages certain key aspects of the HBS learning environment: real-world problem solving, a highly interactive experience for participants, and the integration of social learning to allow participants to leverage the knowledge of their peers.”
CORe consists of three courses:
- Business Analytics
- Economics for Managers
- Financial Accounting
CORe was first offered in summer 2014 and has since been offered to three more groups of learners.
CORe will next be offered in:
- An 11-week format starting on June 3
- An 8-week format starting on July 7
- A 12-week format starting on September 9, 2015
To learn more about the CORe program and to apply for upcoming sessions, visit the HBX website.
Karnika Arora ’18 was so keen to get a summer internship in the U.S. after her first year at Grinnell that she walked into the Center for Careers, Life, and Service (CLS) her second week on campus.
Finding an Internship
The CLS helps students with a variety of job and internship-related services. The office helps students search for job and internship opportunities, hone their resumes and cover letters, and prepare for interviews. Arora took advantage of all of these services. “I brought in my resume from high school, and they told me how to structure it and helped me with descriptions,” she says. She streamlined her resume and constructed sections to target specific job skills.
“In India there isn’t really the idea of an internship,” she says. “They kind of exist in big companies, but they’re not given to people fresh out of high school or undergrads.” They are also, she says, typically unpaid and the responsibilities of interns tend toward the menial. Arora dove into the CLS’s database of internships, deciding that she was interested in policy. She didn’t fully understand what it was when she started out, but the job skills matched her interests and aptitudes: writing and analytical skills.
Getting an Internship
After a mock interview at the CLS, Arora felt prepared for her interview with Verizon the following day. The preparation paid off, as she will be spending her summer in Washington D.C. interning with Ed Senn ’79, which is an impressive — not to mention fully funded — internship for a first-year student to get. “I really want to meet people, network, and do what I love in this internship.” Arora says. She is excited at the prospect of gaining experience and seeing what D.C. is really like.
Funding an Internship
Saw Maw ’16 has already completed two summer internships, and was able to secure both through contacts he already had. He’s grateful to the CLS for the help he got in building his resume and finding funding for what otherwise would have been unpaid internships. Megan Crawford, director of career counseling and exploration, advised him on which specific grants would be best for what he wanted to do. His first year, he applied for and received the Tony Smith '01 Creativity Fund grant and spent the summer working with a film crew on a feature film in Burma.
Getting the Most out of an Internship
Before interns leave for the summer, the CLS also holds an informational session offering tips on conduct and how to establish a long-term relationship with the internship hosts. Summer interns also maintain a blog about their experiences, which Maw found very useful. “When you’re in the internship, you’re so immersed in what you’re doing that you don’t have time to reflect on the experience,” he says.
The CLS helps with every stage of the job and internship search process, from determining one’s interests and options to finding funding to reflecting on the experience. “The CLS,” Arora says, “was so helpful and everyone there was incredibly motivating. They push you in the right direction, help you, and let you know what you need to do.”
Karnika Arora ’18 is an undeclared major from Gurgaon, India and Saw Maw ’16 is an independent major in media and communications from Yangon, Myanmar.
A first-person account by externship participant Trang Nguyen ’17.
At 12, I wanted to become a mathematician. At 16, I studied English to become a diplomat. Now, at 19, I strive to do marketing.
It’s good to know what you like, isn’t it? But here is the fact: you don’t marry all of your crushes. You marry someone you like, who likes you back, and whose lifestyle matches yours. Likewise, not all interests can become your future career. Whether in relationships or a career, we all need a dating phase. And dating is fun!
One way Grinnell offers “career dating” is through its spring break job shadows, which it calls externships. Externships last 3–5 days and are offered by Grinnell alumni throughout the United States. Many include a home stay with the alum too.
So I scanned through the list of spring 2015 externship possibilities with the keyword “marketing.” I was quite surprised to come across an externship in Grinnell College’s Office of Communications because to me, communication is information driven rather than marketing related. I then looked it up on the Internet and discovered that marketing in education is really a thing. So why not give it a try?
This spring break I did a three-day externship with Michele Regenold ’89, editorial director at Grinnell.
Marketing in Higher Education
On the first day, Michele walked me through the concept of marketing in higher education. She explained how the Office of Communications represents Grinnell to alumni and prospective students on the website and in print materials. Within the office, different teams — editorial, web, media, and creative — collaborate with one another and with other offices, like Admission, to achieve marketing goals. “The editorial team writes stories for the web that match up with the admission cycle,” Michele says. “For example, this summer when prospective students visit campus, we’ll have some stories related to our location and facilities.”
Before the externship, I didn’t know that higher education involves such considerable and even sophisticated marketing strategies. “The way you promote a regional or local school is different from the way you promote a national or globally known one,” says Jim Powers, director of communications. To give prospective students the most accurate sense of the culture at Grinnell, the school has been working with a marketing firm that can understand Grinnellians well and produce materials that “feel like” Grinnell.
Exploring Possible Paths and Cool Things to Learn
I had the opportunity to talk to different teams in the office. Sarah Anderson ’98, Larissa Stalcup, and Adrienne Squier all studied marketing but they now have different specializations: Sarah coordinates the website, Larissa is a graphic designer, and Adrienne manages all social media platforms. Talking with them broadened my perspectives on possible options in a marketing career and gave me some guidelines about how I can prepare myself for each approach. Larissa introduced me to some design software and how to study it by myself. Adrienne shared some cool media tips and how to measure the effectiveness of media strategies quantitatively.
Sarah says, “Even though I’m in charge of studying web behaviors and brainstorming ideas, I still need to have some technical knowledge to know what is possible and what is not.” Taking her advice, I plan to take more computer science classes even though I’m more interested in the strategy part.
It was also very interesting to listen to stories behind the recent redesign of our website. Every single update on the content and design of our website involves lots of studies on brain development and web behaviors. Their explanation shows examples of practical applications of what I studied in my Introduction to Psychology course.
More than just an informational interview: Trying what I have never tried
An externship is also an opportunity for me to get some hands-on experiences. I shadowed Michele in two phone interviews. Interviewing someone for a story is really an art. It is not just a matter of asking the right questions; the interviewer must also keep control of the flow of the interview and keep the interviewee comfortable. “I do background research before interviews so I can ask thoughtful questions,” Michele says.
I also tried doing an interview by myself. I interviewed Kelly Guilbeau, career counselor in the Center for Careers, Life, and Service, to get more information about the spring 2015 externship program. I asked her if externship hosts have as good of an experience as us students. Kelly says that most alumni externship hosts give positive feedback about it.
During the interview, Michele helped point out key ideas in Kelly’s answers and analyze important elements of an interview that I should take notice of. She said I did a good job so I guess I do have the potential.
Although this three-day “date” cannot give me a clear answer to my career confusion, it shows me some hints to figure out the answer by myself.