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Notre Dame seniors look ahead to post-graduation plans

| Friday, May 15, 2020

After spending four years receiving a Notre Dame education, the class of 2020 is celebrating via a virtual commencement, saying goodbye to the Golden Dome and looking ahead to the future. Whether it be employment, graduate school, community service or military service, this year’s seniors have a myriad of opportunities and experiences to pursue. 

Each year, the Meruelo Family Center for Career Development conducts a First Destination report to gather data on the post-baccalaureate plans for the recent graduating class. Information on the class of 2020 will be collected starting the week of May 18.

According to the 2019 First Destination report, 65% of graduates were employed within six months of graduation with 21% pursuing further education and 7% participating in service.

Ryan Willerton, associate vice president for career and professional development for the Meruelo Family Center, said the top job industries among recent Notre Dame graduates include financial services, consulting and engineering roles.

“These are fields where businesses are positioned to and expect to hire many graduates every year,” Willterton said in an email. 

Willerton believes the trends in these industries will remain steady for the class of 2020 despite the current pandemic and economic downturn.

“Because much of the recruiting for these roles was conducted in the fall semester and many of these job offers were already secured before COVID-19, I believe this trend will continue,” Willerton said.

Senior Mandy Wall has a job lined up in New York City as a private equity analyst for GCM Grosvenor, a position she was drawn to because of her interest in learning how companies make money and improve. 

“It’s a cool intersection of how both macroeconomic factors influence individual companies and how those companies respond and make decisions,” Wall said in a text. “There are so many factors that go into valuing companies, from changing consumer preferences to political conditions. This job specifically is industry agnostic, [meaning] no specific industry, which I like because I love learning high level about different sectors.”

A finance and economics double-major, Wall cited multiple organizations and resources at Notre Dame — specifically the Notre Dame Institute for Global Investing (NDIGI) — that influenced her decision for her first career step. 

“NDIGI brought in many industry professionals and most importantly introduced me to Girls Who Invest, a sophomore summer program that provides me with a strong network of females in asset management,” Wall said. “I think without Notre Dame I wouldn’t have been introduced to asset management at all.”

Out of the 21% of the class of 2019 that went on to graduate school, 40% were pursuing a master’s degree while 19% were working toward a medical doctorate six months after graduation, according to the First Destination survey.

Senior Miguel Romanello, an aerospace engineering major with a pre-med track, is planning to complete a master’s in science degree in bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania with hopes of attending medical school in the future. 

“What I want to do in my gap years is bridge the gap between the two fields of study I’ve been doing in undergrad — pure sciences and engineering — before I apply to medical school and to be able to use the knowledge I’ve learned in my bachelor’s degree in engineering in the medical field,” Romanello said. 

Romanello cited his experience in undergraduate research at Notre Dame as reassuring when it eventually came time to apply to graduate school. 

“Not only did it make me confident but also it made me realize I wanted to be engaged in research. In fact, one of the main things I focused on when choosing schools to attend for my master’s was finding a place with labs exploring research questions that I am passionate about,” Romanello said. 

According to Willerton, the career center has heard of some students’ employment start dates pushed back a few months due to the coronavirus pandemic, but interest from employers in Notre Dame graduates remains strong. Willerton and the Meruelo Center are encouraging students to remain active in the job search process during these times by improving their online presence, networking, seeking out remote opportunities and focusing on the things they can control.

Willerton believes the graduating seniors can fully overcome the current challenges. Nevertheless, the resources and contacts within the Meruelo Family Center will continue to be available to recent graduates to assist in whatever way possible.

“Although the current job market in some industries is uncertain and challenging, I am confident that our students will persevere and prove to be resourceful, adaptable and resilient,” Willerton said. “Of interest, career development support doesn’t stop at graduation; the Meruelo Family Center for Career Development provides career counseling services for up to a year after graduation.”

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About Alysa Guffey

Alysa is a junior pursuing a major in history with minors in digital marketing and journalism, ethics and democracy. While she calls Breen-Phillips her home on campus, she is originally from Indianapolis. She currently serves as the Notre Dame News Editor.

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