Archive for January, 2013

There are many reasons for returning to school – a desire to pick up skills not obtained during undergrad, a bridge to the management track, etc. For many who returned to school over the last few years, post the financial crisis of 2008, the desire to return also included a need to stay competitive in the shifting job market.

Where once program consideration needed to be a succinct finite experience presented to potential students, increasingly programs need to have a response for the ongoing dilemma of the post-grad experience in order to attract students willing to take on the debt load that is graduate school.

It is not lost on me that many within in my program and other local grads I know are finding it difficult to find employment or to find ‘adequate’ employment. By adequate I mean employment that actually makes use of the new skills developed during grad school and comes with a salary that supports the new debt load of grad school. Last spring, my last full semester, I began my employment search early in the semester after recognizing that while the news spoke of the economy being in recovery it still felt like a recession which meant finding employment even in NYC would be difficult at best. By the time graduation rolled around in May I had secured employment and had lucked up with a salary that could support the impending loan payments. I started a couple of days after graduation and four months later I found myself before the board of the organization being told they couldn’t afford to keep me on staff. Because of the short employment window I found myself without unemployment benefits, no severance package access, and loan payments coming due without haste….more importantly, I found myself within the thick of an employment search as the holiday headed into full swing and the December grads entered the market.

Because, arguably erroneously on my part, I looked at selecting my program solely on the strength of coursework offered, program ranking among peers/industry, and the like and less on the tangential services that a graduate will need not only while on campus but once a graduate moves into their chosen profession I thought I would spend the next several posts on exploring some of the struggles post program for those who have decided to attend graduate school in light of the economy. Foremost, I think it may help those who are looking into programs to better understand some of the needs they will need post graduating and will be able to better weight program options, and for those currently in school and like myself newly minted graduates hopefully these posts will help you to leverage your programs resources to meet the new economy’s shortcomings.

I should note that I don’t believe that many of the shortcomings I have and will experience during my current employment search are solely a problem with my grad program. I have friends who have gone to Ivy League programs and find themselves equally unemployed and searching, likewise I have friends who have done top tiered law schools and find themselves underemployed both within the legal profession (one such friend is in many respects a glorified paralegal with the title of legal researcher) and outside of the confines of the legal professional world. I think in part the financial crisis of 2008 shifted the marketplace in ways that many folks are just really understanding the long-term implications of and we are just starting to understand why there is no real way of going ‘back’ to the pre-2008 crisis days.

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