An improving economy and an emphasis on early job search activity are having a major impact on the immediate post-graduation experiences of students at the University of Central Florida College of Business Administration (#UCFBusiness).

Over the past 12 months, the number of students who are graduating and reporting they are employed or actively seeking work increased significantly. Key to the dramatic shift is the work being done in the newly formed Office of Professional Development and the new required Career Professionalism classes.

After leveraging a career research assignment to land a new job, Stephanie Feliciano, a military veteran with three years of private sector work experience, said: “This really is a testimony of how these lessons not only help students land internships and get a taste of the real world out of college, but also help those who may have experience excel even more within their positions.”

Dean Paul Jarley, Ph.D., says the results of the college’s senior survey suggest that there are many stories like Stephanie’s.  “Overall more than 62% of students had some type of job or job offer (full- or part-time) in hand prior to graduating.  This was up from just 51% the year before.   This is an early affirmation that our focused effort on professional development is working.”

Recent graduate Jami Ring, ’15, now working at Macy’s Systems and Technology in the Atlanta area, cited the new classes as foundational in her recent success. “I hope that my experience can be an example of the opportunities that can and will take place if you just step outside of your comfort zone and of course listen to everything said during class. UCF played a huge part in getting me to where I am today.”

“If you want to succeed in business, you need to get yourself known and can’t expect things to come to you,” said Lionel Galvez, a student in the college’s Professional Selling Program. “It’s all about meeting the right people and acting. Thanks to class activities, I landed my summer internship by networking and meeting the right person – Andy Titen, CEO at Bisk Education.”

The #UCFBusiness Office of Professional Development was formed out of the previous academic advising office and is staffed by seasoned human resources and recruitment professionals.  Every student is assigned a Career Coach who helps put the best plan together for their professional pursuits.  The Career Professionalism courses began in the fall of 2014 and are part of a student’s entire time at #UCFBusiness, helping them to prepare their career plan and sharpen their professional skills.

“These numbers are awesome and tell students that having a job offer before leaving school is a very attainable goal,” stated Program Director Lonny Butcher. “We anticipate continued improvement in these outcomes as more students work with our career coaches to execute their action plans.”