BUFFALO, N.Y. -- In today's survival-of-the-fittest job market,
the University at Buffalo Career Services office is setting its
sights high when it comes to helping students and graduates.
That office aims to develop job opportunities within companies
that have been recognized for their excellence in rankings such as
"Fortune's Top 100 Best Companies to Work For," as well as
employers where graduates wish to begin their careers.
And the inventory of opportunities -- whether they be
internships, part-time jobs or full-time employment -- are starting
to reflect the center's strategy and focus: Find the best places
for graduates to work, and build mutually beneficial working
relationships with the employer community.
The result: UB students can work for the best employers out
there and, at the same time, these companies can enjoy the benefits
of the university's well-trained and ambitious graduates.
"UB Career Services is focused on building strong partnerships
with companies that are known as leaders in their field, industry
or sector, who have a brand that is recognizable and valued, and
who will offer our graduates growth opportunities," says Arlene
Kaukus, director of UB's Office of Career Services.
"We are delighted to see names of companies we work with on a
recently published list of 'Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work
For.'" she says. "Some of the companies highlighted that already
work with our office include Google, Mattel, Wegmans, Microsoft,
General Mills and Teach for America.
The focus on establishing partnerships with the country's top
companies has paid off in real success stories. The testimonials
from those who have benefitted from the guidance come from far and
"I am currently employed by General Mills, at the site here in
Buffalo," wrote Bobby Walker, a team leader for General Mills -- a
company indentified by Fortune as one of the 100 best companies to
Walker graduated from UB in 2009 with a degree in mechanical
engineering. He completed an internship with General Mills in 2008
before joining the company full-time, and wrote that he is now in a
"I hope to stay with this company for a long time, and look back
at UB as a great foundation for the day-to-day tasks that I face,"
He noted that he was impressed with the passion of the Career
Services staff, who helped him develop his resume and obtain his
Walker's story is particularly important to UB's Career Services
because he has been able to remain in the area and pursue a
productive career. More than half -- 55 percent -- of the graduates
responding to the senior exit survey in May 2011 said they wanted
to stay in Western New York.
The results add credence to the belief that many UB graduates
would love to settle in Western New York. This is the place many
prefer to launch their careers.
The experience of others who have taken advantage of UB's Career
Services' connections and expertise illustrates other principles
guiding the office's strategies.
That same senior exit survey indicated that 35 percent of
respondents said they wanted to get a job in the New York City
area. UB's Career Services has also been able to come through for
those students, cultivating good relationships with New York City
John A. Kirchgraber, a 2011 UB computer science graduate who
also earned a bachelor's degree in English literature, works as a
financial software developer at Bloomberg in the company's trading
systems division in New York City.
He praised the efforts of Career Services.
"Career Services provided me with the resources to hone my
resume, brush up on my interviewing skills and seek out internships
that would be both challenging and well-suited to my abilities and
interests," he said. "I actually wouldn't have applied for the
internship that got me my current job had it not been suggested to
me through Career Services and my professors."
"New York City-based Bloomberg is a great example of a company
whose partnership with our office is solid. Bloomberg has attended
UB Career Fairs, recruited on campus and hosted UB students and
graduates on site visits to their office in New York City," Kaukus
UB's Career Services also has increased its efforts to find the
internships Kirchgraber talks about, often in these highly
successful companies recognized for their excellence.
"Internships give employers the opportunity to see first-hand
the competencies and strengths of the student," says Kaukus. "For
the student, they gain skills and experience while learning what it
is like to work within an organization and on a team.
And often -- such as in Kirchgraber's case -- these work
relationships lead to permanent positions at the companies.
"The data is decisive," Kaukus says. "In the 2011 Student Survey
conducted by National Association of Colleges and Employers, it was
reported that more than 61 percent of students who did a paid
internship in the for-profit sector had a job offer at the time of
"Our role at UB Career Services is to nurture, develop and
leverage the relationships that the university, our faculty and our
alumni have created with companies and organizations and make
something happen for our students and graduates," says Kaukus.
"It's all about cultivation."