Annual Letter to the Community
Dear Bowdoin College Community,
The 2015-2016 academic year was a record-breaking one at Bowdoin Career Planning. We reached more students in meaningful ways than at any time in the past decade, encouraging risk taking, action, and resilience to support our students’ individual ambitions. We are working to create a culture of career planning at the College – where we invite all students to engage our advisors, investigate employers and career paths, connect with alumni, and reflect on their own strengths and curiosity. The partnerships, opportunities, and unprecedented student participation this year in Career Planning programs and services are evidence that our strategy is working. With the help of parents, faculty, staff, and alumni, Bowdoin students chose to “Explore, Experience, and Pursue” a breathtaking range of jobs, internships, and research opportunities.
Bowdoin students find their way to hundreds of organizations, to work on problems that matter to them. The range of skills and interests they develop here draw them to workplaces as distinct as their personalities. They are in Boston, Beijing, and Boise; in research labs, social service agencies, tech company cubicles, backcountry trails, and towering skyscrapers. Bowdoin degrees are unlimited in application – and highly sought after by employers. We’ve been supported by a recovering economy and more employer enthusiasm for hiring Bowdoin candidates than we’ve seen since before the recession.
Highlights of the year included:
- Record high levels of student engagement. Bowdoin Career Planning reached 82% of all Bowdoin students including nearly 100% of the Class of 2016. Students worked with us in one-on-one advising appointments, information sessions, skill-building workshops, interviews, and alumni-student networking receptions. The seasoned team of advisors has credibility with students, strong institutional relationships with faculty and staff, and can build on years of knowledge of what works best for the Bowdoin community.
- Vibrant programming calendar. Bowdoin Career Planning sponsored 210 programs with attendance of nearly 6100 students, our second highest number ever. This is a 50% increase from five years ago. As always, the strong Bowdoin network played a key role in these programs with more than 130 alumni and parents visiting campus to offer career preparation and access for Bowdoin students.
- Robust campus partnerships. We joined with 46 academic departments, student groups, or other campus departments to co-sponsor and promote more than 50 career-related programs. These partnerships are a crucial component of our efforts to build a “culture of career planning” at Bowdoin. From classroom talks on adapting literature to film, to alumni and professor panels on careers in research psychology, to early engagement talks in the first year “bricks” residence halls, collaboration was a key component of realizing our goal to “live where they live.”
- New connections to high growth companies in San Francisco. We piloted “West Trek”, a new program that sponsored 20 students (2/3 of whom are aided students, 2/3 of whom were students of color) to network with more than 50 alumni, while visiting 9 high-growth companies including Facebook, Orrick, Airbnb, Pinterest, Dropbox, Apple, Collective Health, VMWare and Google. This program expanded students’ horizons and underscored the broad applicability of a liberal arts degree.
- Strong hiring market. The recruiting year for Bowdoin students was the busiest since the start of the recession in 2008, with many new employers, including McKinsey & Company, and returning employers visiting campus this year. A number of seniors who accepted jobs early were offered bonuses by their new employer for referrals that resulted in additional hires from Bowdoin.
- High levels of alumni participation in student exploration. Bowdoin Career Planning again partnered with Alumni Relations on 6 Bowdoin Connections events across the country. This year’s line-up connected more than 800 students and alumni in Boston, New York, Chicago, DC, San Francisco, and Portland -- the largest attendance in the history of the program. These events are an invitation for students to learn the art of networking while creating a catalyst moment for ongoing conversation with engaged alumni.
- Growing support for student access to unpaid internship experiences. Alumni and Development raised $1.8 million in new endowed gifts in support of a funded internship grant initiative. As a result, Bowdoin Career Planning can offer 18 new summer internship grants in the coming year. Bowdoin internship grants enable students to pursue internships in many fields where unpaid internships are typical including government, arts, entertainment, science and nonprofit sectors. Relevant internships are the gateway to full-time positions.
We look forward to continuing this momentum in the year ahead and appreciate the many ways alumni and parents support and extend our efforts. I invite your ideas and energy to help Bowdoin students tap into their unlimited potential.
Director of Career Planning