Success in a Slim Job Market
"Do you have a job yet?" That is the question recent college grads hear the most. While the economy has made it hard for grads to find jobs, some are using internships, recommendations from faculty and determination to find employment immediately after graduating from college.
Making History at Split Rock: Alicia Kozlowski, CLA
After graduating in December 2009 with a degree in history and a minor in anthropology, Alicia Kozlowski, interned at the St. Louis County Historical Society. She worked in collections with artifacts and the Veteran’s Memorial Hall (VMH).
On May 15, Kozlowski will start a new job as a historical interpreter for the Minnesota Historical Society at Split Rock Lighthouse.
“I’ll be performing duties of a tour guide—giving standard tours to visitors—and also reenacting scenes that took place at the lighthouse,” Kozlowski said. Although she knew she would be doing some reenacting, she is doing much more than anticipated, but that doesn’t bother her. “I will reenact scenes inside the house where the lighthouse keeper lived.”
Kozlowski found out about the historical interpreter job through her internship at the VMH. “My supervisors sent me links to area museum jobs. I also checked the Minnesota Historical Society website for job openings. I knew I wanted to work with the general public and local history,” she said.
At UMD, Kozlowski’s professors helped her prepare for the job she wanted.
“The history professors, Steve Matthews, Scott Laderman, and Alexis Pogorelskin gave me confidence,” she said. “At first I had trouble deciding whether I should go to grad school or go straight into a job. Dr. Matthews said, ‘Hey, go get your feet wet first before you go too far with grad school and then decide it’s something you don’t want to do.’ My professors encouraged me to pursue hands-on experience.”
As an Esko, Minn., native, Kozlowski has always had an interest in Minnesota and local history, and she is excited to start her job at the Minnesota Historical Society, and “figure out what I want to do with my career,” she said.
Weathering a Tough Economy: Adam Mika, SCSE
After hearing back from Garmin-Digital Cyclone in Minnetonka, Minn., and a process of three interviews, Mika was offered a Software Engineer Research and Development position. “I'll be developing weather applications for iPhone, Android, and every other cell phone on the market. Since it's a research and development position, I get an allotted time to work on any related side projects I wish to pursue as well,” Mika said.
UMD's Computer Science program was a huge draw for Mika. While at UMD, multiple experiences and internships prepared Mika for the Garmin-Digital Cyclone job.
Producing a Career: Dayna Landgrebe, CLA
In December 2009, Dayna Landgrebe graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in political science and an emphasis in journalism and foreign studies. While still in school Landgrebe was offered a job at WDIO as their morning show producer.
“I was really blessed to get a full time job right out of college,” Landgrebe said. “It was a lucky break. I was in the right place at the right time. I got hired when I was still in school. I only had two classes at the time. It was hard, but it wasn’t terrible.”
Landgrebe found out about the job opening from John Hatcher, assistant professor of journalism.
As the morning show producer, Landgrebe is in charge of filling a two-hour time slot with content Monday through Friday. “In whatever show you watch, someone is behind the scenes putting that show together. I get to WDIO at 1 a.m. and the show starts at 5 a.m.,” Landgrebe said. “No blank spaces or black spots. That’s my job.”
After six months of work at WDIO, Landgrebe has realized how much UMD has helped. “I credit my experience in CLA to making me a qualified candidate for jobs and future jobs,” Landgrebe said. “Political science really helps with news jobs. You’re talking about politics, budgets and city council a lot. It helps to know how these things work and what’s going on around the community.”
Landgrebe believes that her professors have helped her significantly in preparing for her job. “I love the Journalism program at UMD. The teachers are really exceptional and the classes are wonderful,” Landgrebe said. “My teachers were great resources and I still call on them for advice, even though I’ve graduated.”
She also credits her experience at the Statesman as an important key to getting the job at WDIO. “The Statesman experience was huge asset. Even if you’re not going to write in your future career, it helps to work in a professional environment and have deadlines. It was a major experience,” Landgrebe said.
Landgrebe plans to go to grad school eventually, most likely for radio production. For now, she is just enjoying her work at WDIO.
Financing a Passion: Brittany Schubitzke, LSBE
Brittany Schubitzke, from Proctor, Minn., attributes her successful college career to being married. “Being married helped me get good grades because I live a more mature lifestyle,” Schubitzke said. She graduates in May with an accounting and finance degree and on May 17, she will start a new job at Maurices in Duluth as a staff accountant in inventory systems. The position involves helping accounts payable, in store transfers and implementing new products.
“I chose accounting back when I was in high school because I loved business and my business classes. I took one accounting class and decided to stick with it. Finance was an easy add on,” Schubitzke said. “I knew I wanted to go to a public school in the state. UMD was closest to my husband's employer, so it was a natural choice.“ Schubitzke’s husband works at Minnesota Power.
UMD gave Schubitzke the skills for a career in accounting. “UMD gave me a solid academic background. The business professors helped prepare me,” Schubitzke said.
Schubitzke believes that one specific professor helped her gain experience and find her passion. “Jim Vizanko is excellent. He inspired me to go into finance,” Schubitzke said. “His Corporate Finance class helped me pull everything together.”
Before getting her job at Maurices, Schubitzke never had an official internship, but instead worked a variety of jobs that related to her career. She worked as a bookkeeper at various companies and also in the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Administration.
Schubitzke signed up for notifications from GoldPASS, the U of M job search system, and she found the job opening at Maurices.
Eventually, Schubitzke plans to get her CPA. “Even though it’s not a part of my job, it opens up more opportunities.” She is excited about starting her career. “I am looking forward to being done at the end of the day and not going home to do more homework. It will be nice to just settle into my new life. I’m looking forward to being an adult,” Schubitzke said.
Balancing International Finances: Kyle Bednar, LSBE
Kyle Bednar, an accounting and finance major, will graduate in May and has a job lined up at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in Minneapolis.
PwC is an international accounting firm and one of the big four accounting firms in the country. These firms usually work with the largest publicly traded corporations. “I’ll be a tax associate doing corporate tax returns for other companies,” Bednar said.
Bednar originally worked for PwC as an intern last summer after finding the job on GoldPASS. After interning for a summer, he was selected for an interview in September. He interviewed on campus and then went into a recruiting session in the fall in Minneapolis. After one more recruiting session, the company offered jobs to Bednar and approximately 22 of the other summer interns.
While at UMD, Bednar’s accounting classes gave him a strong skill set. “I thought UMD prepared me really well for my career. They gave me the basics of accounting. My tax class was especially good. It gave me a thorough understanding of all of the facets of taxes,” Bednar said. “I think UMD overall did a good job of preparing me.”
After spending the summer studying for his CPA exam, Bednar will join PwC on November 1, the date when the recruits start working.
"It will be different from school because I'll get to leave work at work," Bednar said. "It will be nice to start the part in my life where I have a job and make money."
Written by Mandee Kuglin and Donna O'Neill