Putting Their Degrees to Work

Newly Graduated, Yeshiva University Alumni Find Career, Graduate School Success  

job fair 2As undergraduates, Yeshiva University students learn to balance a rich and vibrant range of academic, extracurricular and spiritual pursuits, dedicating themselves to rigorous Torah and secular study while discovering their passions, championing their beliefs and forming lasting friendships. So it’s no surprise that after commencement, they hit the ground running: more than 90 percent of YU graduates were employed, in graduate school, or both within 6 months of graduation, according to the most recent survey by YU’s Career Center.

“The fact that for the last six years, we’ve been at or above that 90 percent rate is impressive,” said Marc Goldman, executive director of the Career Center. “In particular, full time employment has risen even higher than in past years, with more than 85 percent of those employed working in full time positions—that number rises to more than 90 percent when you look at those who aren’t also in graduate school.”

That number includes new graduates starting at prestigious accounting firms, investment banks and consulting groups, such as Deloitte, Citibank, JPMorgan Chase and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), as well as high-profile companies in other fields ranging from the New York Mets to L’Oreal and top educational institutions. Not only are YU alumni finding jobs, they’re finding the jobs they want: more than 86 percent reported that their new positions were strongly related to their fields of interest—a 10 percent increase since last year—and more than 71 percent reported a strong connection between their positions and their majors as undergraduates, an increase of eight percent.

“I am delighted at the continued growth of professional opportunities for our students,” said YU President Richard M. Joel. “We are increasingly able to assist students to find significant placements, and what’s special about this is that they’re not only finding jobs but finding jobs in the areas they want to find jobs in. This is a tribute to the increasing professionalism and passion of our Career Center and a tribute to the quality of our students.”

YU graduates continuing on in the academic world enjoyed the same remarkable success.

Ninety-seven percent of law school applicants in the 2013-14 application cycle reported being admitted to at least one law school, well above the national average of 77 percent, including top programs such as Harvard University, Columbia University, University of Chicago and YU’s own Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.

While the national average of medical school acceptance rates is just 45 percent, 91 percent of applicants from Stern College for Women  and 78 percent of applicants from Yeshiva College were accepted to at least one medical school last year. Graduates were accepted into highly competitive and prestigious programs, such as Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons, Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine and Weill Cornell Medical College, and YU’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine. In addition, 100 percent of Stern College dental school applicants and 73 percent of Yeshiva College applicants were accepted to dental school.

“Nationally there are a very large number of college freshmen who declare themselves pre-med majors but, generally, only a few make it,” said Dr. Karen Bacon, the Dr. Monique C. Katz Dean of Stern College. “At Stern College, the story is quite different. Here motivated and talented women find not only a supportive faculty but also a culture of high achievement and grand expectations that ensures success. We proudly celebrate this year’s graduates going on to medical and dental schools.”

These outstanding placement rates—for graduates entering the professional or academic worlds alike—begin with the one-on-one mentoring by faculty and staff that each student’s unique ambitions and talents receive. At YU’s Sy Syms School of Business, for example, students can bring their business ideas to Associate Dean and Entrepreneur-in-Residence Michael Strauss, who guides them through every step necessary to make their dream a reality: navigating patent law, identifying a management team, raising funding and more. Strauss is equally happy to work with alumni on their ideas. “I’ve had graduates come to me six or seven years out—we’re here for them,” he said.

In the Career Center, that emphasis on individual attention is also critical to student success. “Students receive personalized, one-on-one assistance where we go over every job search tool available to them, from how to craft a resume to how to network, job search strategy, the interview process and social media, which is an important search tool now,” said Goldman. “We prepare them to better communicate their message, their personal pitch and their goals to employers wherever and whenever they may get the opportunity: chance meetings, social engagements, networking events, and actually on the job interview itself.”

But the rigorous academic courses and challenging dual curriculum also give YU students a unique edge after graduation, according to Strauss. “The whole dual curriculum, where they study and work 12-15 hours a day, is a tremendous plus for employers—the Morgan Stanleys and Goldman Sachses out there,” he said. “Our students graduate ready to roll up their sleeves and fit in with the work culture in these environments, with a tremendous work ethic.”

networking“I really appreciated that I was learning from professors who themselves were professionals that work or worked in the wider business world and were able to give personal examples and direct insights and advice,” said Jonathan Danesh ‘14SB, of Brooklyn, New York, who will begin working in PWC’s alternative investments industry this summer. He received offers from both PWC and Ernst and Young after meeting with the firms at an on-campus recruiting night hosted by the Career Center and applying for the positions on YUCareerLink, an online job search tool that offers exclusive opportunities to YU students and alumni.

“I feel that my courses, faculty members, and classmates were all vital steps in paving the future for my career in accounting, and the Career Center was amazing from start to finish,” said Shoshana Fein ’14SB, of Queens, New York, who will start as a tax associate with Marks Paneth and Shron LLP this summer. “They helped me perfect my resume and my interview skills and were always there to answer job and interview-related questions. In the long run, I hope to advance all the way to partner at my firm—I have a ways to go, but YU has provided me with a great start and the tools to achieve success.”

One of those tools, according to Goldman, is the University’s committed and powerful alumni network, which opens doors for students in diverse industries that range from journalism to real estate and also continues to create new opportunities for alumni to connect decades after graduation through networking groups such as the YU Wall Street Group and YU Real Estate Professionals.

“More than 63 percent of last year’s graduates found their jobs through networking, which is fantastic and important to see them having success with,” said Goldman. “The strong, tight-knit alumni network that we have access to, and that is willing to advocate for our students and offer opportunities to them across industries, is one of our greatest assets. Our alumni want to be involved on campus and they want to meet the students personally and help them succeed, whether that’s mentoring them, helping them find internships or positions in their field, or sharing their experiences at events.”

For Alex Porcelain ‘13YC of Baltimore, Maryland, YU alumni played a critical role in helping him land a summer internship and eventual position as a technology risk consultant at Deloitte. “Though I enjoyed the programming and software development I learned as a computer science major in class, I knew I wanted to work with people and decided to aim for a career that merges technology, business and people skills,” he said. “The YU Career Center encouraged me to attend a career fair on campus and expand my network with alumni. I was overwhelmed and impressed at how many YU alumni were working in big firms and how many people had come to help students start their careers.”

At the fair, Porcelain met a manager in Deloitte’s Technology Risk Services group, who coached him through the application and interview process for a summer internship there. That bond continued long after Porcelain got the job. “A number of Deloitte partners who went to YU took all of the interns from YU out to lunch and many alumni there provided mentorship to me,” he said.

“The alumni network is building and growing exponentially in terms of multigenerational YU grads, and you can walk into any shul in Teaneck and see dozens of alumni from every generation,” said Joel Strauss ‘85YC ‘92C, of Teaneck, New Jersey, a partner at Kaplan Fox & Kilsheimer LLP and chair of the Career Guidance and Placement Committee of YU’s Undergraduate Alumni Council, who is himself both the son and father of YU graduates. “One thing I always tell people is that the YU alumni network, unlike any other university’s, is supercharged, because there’s this bond we all share of having experienced the uniqueness of YU, and then because of the nature of the modern Orthodox Jewish community, we’re all still somehow connected and we stay connected. Whenever I reach out to alumni, their first response is, ‘I have great feelings about YU. What can I do to help the students?’ ”

He added, “It’s fulfilling and rewarding to know that you’ve helped students in a way that might change their lives, whether it’s by helping to set them on the right career path or helping them land that first job.”