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Campus Center Aligns with Alumni to Help Students Land Internships and Jobs

For many college students, graduation is just a few months away—bringing with it the reality of an uncertain job market. Fortunately, UC San Diego double mathematics and economics major Charlie Xu is looking forward to commencement in June and starting a great job, thanks to help from the Career Services Center that gave him a leg up in a competitive field.

Xu, who will be working at the Deloitte San Diego office as audit assistant, explained that the Career Services Center not only gave him advice on his resume, but also prepared him for his job search by conducting mock interviews and offering tips. “The services offered by the center helped me get this offer,” Xu said.

Most colleges and universities have career centers, but UC San Diego is one of just a few institutions that is partnering with alumni relations to connect graduates with current students. Last fall, the campus leveraged the power of nearly 155,000 alumni to help students find jobs, identify internship opportunities and create career networks when the Career Services Center integrated with Alumni and Community Engagement. Located near Library Walk behind the Chancellor’s Complex, the center provides resources to students and alumni seeking career planning, graduate and professional school advising, job and internship search preparation and employment opportunities.

“As part of our strategic planning process, UC San Diego integrated the Career Services Center with Alumni and Community Engagement to enhance services for students, and we’re already seeing the success of this collaboration,” said UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “We’re offering new programs and resources for students seeking jobs, internships and career guidance, and preparing them for lifelong career success and engagement with the campus community.”

Career Services Center outreach efforts have inspired the alumni community to engage with students and serve as key providers of internships and employment. One of the new programs implemented by the center is the Alumni Advisor Network—an online student-alumni mentoring platform powered by Evisors. More than 1,000 alumni have signed up for the platform, eager to assist current students with career advice, resume critiques or mock interviews.

Vincent Lo, a UC San Diego management science major, took advantage of the Alumni Advisor Network. “I set up many informational interviews via Evisors and it has been very useful so far,” Lo said. “I was able to talk to alumni in the finance field and learn about their experiences, helping me to gain some insights about the industry.”

Communication major Christine Alabastro knows firsthand the value of alumni connections. “One member of the Alumni Network who works as a senior product marketing manager gave me excellent feedback on my resume. I gained experience by speaking with another alum who has worked for top media companies such as Fox and NBC,” she said. “I have also used the center services such as the resume critiques, which helped me land my internship at a PR agency in downtown San Diego, BAM Communications.”

With Alumni and Community Engagement now driving the Career Services Center, there is a stronger connection between the campus and alumni-owned businesses, which is an added benefit for job-seeking students.

Chris Clayton, a 2001 UC San Diego management science graduate, is a principal at Triage Consulting Group. “Triage recognizes the incredible talent of UC San Diego students, and provides fun, dynamic and challenging career opportunities for student graduates looking for a consulting career in the fast-paced health care industry,” he said. “We trust the Career Services Center as a proven partner in helping us to connect with the talent pool on campus. We’re growing fast and almost always in search for great candidates.”

UC San Diego alumni also use their corporate positions to assist students in making connections to land internships and jobs.

A 2013 graduate, Mac Witmer works for LinkedIn Sales Solutions, which helps companies leverage LinkedIn to find new prospects and build business. “I serve as an unofficial liaison between LinkedIn and UC San Diego,” she said. “For people interested in a job at LinkedIn, I can help connect them with the recruiting team. I’m also helping students learn how to leverage LinkedIn for a job. There is a huge new initiative driving LinkedIn University Pages, an amazing tool for students featuring a database of where our alumni work. They can reach out to these people via LinkedIn—like Nick Woodman, the GoPro founder—as well as search companies and industries.”

UC San Diego is one of the first universities to implement a new model in higher education where alumni relations and career services are integrated into one unit.

“The fields of alumni relations and career services are both undergoing major paradigm shifts. Aligned with the Chancellor’s strategic vision for creating a student-centric university, our integration of career services with alumni relations creates a model enterprise wherein our students will have the comprehensive resources and networks to develop skills and competencies, as well as pave their paths to prosperous professions,” said Armin Afsahi, associate vice chancellor for Alumni and Community Engagement. “Since the integration was implemented in fall 2013, we have made significant progress with industry partners, laying a strong foundation for success for students looking for internships and jobs.”

According to Afsahi, those partners include Apple, Boeing, Broadcom, CBS Interactive, Ernst & Young, General Atomics, HP, Merrill Lynch, Northwestern Mutual Financial Network, Paragon Real Estate Investments and Salesforce.com, among others.