Coming out of what has been called the “longest economic recovery in history,” the class of 2020 faces a volatile job market with unemployment higher than the Great Recession of 2008. Fortunately, these new graduates are not alone. Colleges and alumni associations, including the Leeds School of Business, are leveraging their alumni networks to help—and it’s working.
In April, Leeds launched the Adopt a Buff mentorship program that matches recent graduates, MS and second-year MBA candidates with alumni and business leaders. These community members can help them connect to professional networks, find job opportunities, prepare for interviews, and even help navigate unexpected hurdles they may face in the process that is part of this new reality.
As Dean Sharon Matusik recently told the Wall Street Journal, “We have a very engaged business and alumni community who were asking how they could help out.”
Help they did. The program has already seen success, with job offers coming from companies as big as Lockheed Martin to a small marketing firm.
CU Boulder’s Alumni Association has also started a weekly virtual job-search group in which new graduates can connect remotely to hear job-search tips and get information on job openings and other postgrad opportunities.
In addition, Leeds started a Micro-Internships program for job-seeking students, who have also seen their internships and job opportunities disappear during this economic disruption. Micro-internships are short-term, paid positions that offer students the opportunity to explore different careers, enhance their skills, and build a professional network and portfolio while they look for their next role. In some cases, there may be potential for a full-time position as the economy recovers or a relationship they make that leads them to a job they may not have expected. Regardless, micro-internships help keep students focused on what they can be learning and cultivating resilience at the same time.
There are great challenges that many of our new graduates are facing right now due to COVID-19, but the Leeds School and our community are committed to helping them face them head-on. Like our mascot the buffalo, we will charge into the storm, and we will get through it faster, together.