Monthly Archives: April 2016
Here’s your weekly roundup of the best education insights, analysis and FOMO-fighting tidbits.
“In our view, the leading question about college finance is not how to make college appear to be free but how to share the costs equitably and aim the resources where they are most needed.”
Tuition Payments: When companies offer to pay for their employees’ tuition, everyone wins–at least that’s what a white paper examining Cigna and its education reimbursement program shows.
“It’s incumbent on us to help students remove their blinders, and expose them to the world of possibilities in career choices.”
Degree-less Millennials: Influencer Jeff Selingo shares some surprising stats on college dropout rates among millennials and why so many aren’t getting a degree.
Outdated MBAs: Have MBAs reached maturity? Not quite. But some business schools may have less room for development, writes Influencer Santiago Iniguez.
Scared to Speak: Fear is permeating college campuses, forcing students to be “too considered, too bland [and] too polite,” argues Influencer Michael Fertikfalse.
A Billionaire on Education: Bill Gates answers questions on how ed-tech will help teachers, what he’s hearing from educators during college visits, and personalized learning.
Last week I asked readers to weigh in on the ROI of college. Mom and marketing professional Wendy Alpine wrote about how her daughter avoided the high costs of higher education. The short answer: community college.
George Newman, a program director at a community college in Colorado, also weighed in by asking a student, “Is college worth it?” The student’s answer, he wrote, “made me hopeful that the revaluation of a college education is truly underway.”
Catch up on last week’s roundup here.
Contact John Assunto for all of your Education Recruiting needs! Johna@worldbridgepartners.com or 860-387-0503
Let me begin by saying I am a HUGE Michael Strahan fan. The NFL should parade this guy around as their best counterargument to the prevalence of CTE in retired players. He’s wickedly smart, quick on his feet, charming as Hell and, that space between his front two teeth, well, wouldn’t every celeb love a distinguishing characteristic like that?
But Michael, say it ain’t so! You carved out a brilliant career with the New York Giants by blindsiding opposing quarterbacks. But somebody should have told you that you don’t do that to your TV co-host no matter what your agent tells you. You had business telling Kelly Ripa that you were leaving for the greener (and I do mean GREENER $$$) pastures of Good Morning America more than 30 minutes before it became public. For Ripa, this must have been departure deja vu, given how former co-host Regis Philbin dropped the bomb back in 2011 that he was leaving the show 20 minutes before they had to be all smiles for the audience. We all know these are professional entertainers who are skilled at turning it on for the cameras no matter how they’re feeling, but that’s asking a bit much.
For her part, Ripa seemed to follow my father’s sage advice about how you communicate with others at work when you’re hurt, angry, disappointed or all of the above: sleep on it and if you still want to say something the next day after you’ve cooled off, then go for it. What does it say about the degree of her devastation that she decided to sleep on it for six nights before returning to the set?
The Strahan kerfuffle is just the latest reminder of why it’s so important to leave a job gracefully. First, it’s simply what you do. Demonstrating basic decency and consideration for the feelings of others are key building blocks of your professional reputation. Leaving in a huff or “quitting like a waitress” (taking off your apron and throwing it in your boss’ face before marching out the door) is the kind of juicy news that seems to make its way to every corner of your industry. Good luck getting that reference that you may need down the road.
Secondly, as a producer at CBS News once told me when I was starting out in TV, “you always meet people twice in this business, once on the way up and once on the way down.” How you conduct yourself during your ascension many times determines how bumpy the road is on the backside of the mountain. Will people remember you as a mensch who took the time to mentor and promote others or will that scouting report read: not a great team player – pretty much in it only for himself/herself. If it’s the latter, don’t count on anyone being quick to throw you a lifeline should you need one.
The menschy thing for Strahan to have done would have been to approach Ripa before any pen was put to contract and say, “I wanted to show you the professional courtesy of telling you something I’m planning on doing before I officially do it, even though I’ve been told to keep this to myself.” For we non-celebrities, the equivalent is giving your soon-to-be-old boss sufficient notice that you’re going to leave. No matter how badly you’re looking to bolt, a hasty departure can make your colleague’s work lives miserable and it also sends a loud message to your future employer. That message is, if this person skipped out prematurely on them, he/she could just as easily do that to us.
When you’re leaving an old job for clearly a much better one, it’s also vital that you make the people whom you’re “leaving behind” feel valued. Face it, in an instant they are now looking for the smallest signs that you now consider yourself superior to them. Therefore, express how difficult it will be leaving such a great team that was so responsible for your professional development. Underscore how many things about the old place you’re going to miss, and that while you’re excited for the new challenge, you feel somewhat conflicted leaving.
Once Strahan becomes a permanent fixture on GMA, this dust up will likely be forgotten. For many, it’s already much ado about nothing. But for the rest of us, it does provide a little primer on how kindness, courtesy, humility and open communication on your way out the door are crucial to forming your professional reputation.
Originally posted on Linked IN by: Bill McGowan
Contact John Assunto for all of your Education Recruiting needs! Johna@worldbridgepartners.com or 860-387-0503
As the job market rebounds and Millennials become the dominant generation in the workforce, companies are stepping up their efforts to attract top talent. To do so, many are turning towards a benefit that has been offered to varying degrees over the last decade – covering the cost of employees’ higher education.
Some 60 percent of companies now offer tuition assistance programs, and some, such as Starbucks and Fiat Chrysler, have committed to covering the full cost of a four-year degree through partnerships with college and university providers. But for all the momentum this approach has received, it begs the question: does tuition reimbursement further organizations’ ultimate goal of advancing and keeping top talent?
A study released today by Lumina Foundation offers compelling evidence that the answer is yes. It examined the Education Reimbursement Program, or ERP, offered by health insurer Cigna Corporation and found that participants in the program were 10 percent more likely to be promoted, 7.5 percent more likely to be transferred within Cigna, and 8 percent more likely to remain at the company than non-participants over a three-year period.
What’s more, the study showed, program participants in entry-level and mid-management positions saw a 43 percent average incremental wage increase over the three-year period compared to non-participants, and ERP participants across the board said they believe the program leads to improved career opportunities, and greater confidence, motivation, skill and recognition from managers and colleagues. That means the employees clearly win big with this program.
But what about the company—does it benefit? The study found that Cigna was able to show a 129 percent return on investment for the program – meaning the company got back every dollar it invested in ERP and saved $1.29 in talent management costs on top of that.
This study helps illuminate what chief talent officers and HR executives have intuitively known to be true: Investing in employees’ knowledge and skills growth is not only “doing good;” it also leads to doing well from a bottom-line perspective. And though a large number of companies now invest in tuition assistance, very few – only about 8 percent – actually evaluate the ROI, and almost none publicly release that information. So these findings offer rare, quantifiable insight for companies on such education investments.
The implications of these findings are potentially huge. As the business case for investing in employees’ higher education becomes stronger, chief learning and talent officers, who have long been advocates for such efforts, will have an even more powerful case to make to their C-suite peers. And as more companies make tuition benefits available and increase the strategic focus of their offerings, other firms will follow suit to remain competitive.
Cigna’s experience demonstrates the power that seeing positive financial results can have on growing such programs. In response to its positive results, the company increased its cap on tuition assistance by 50 percent to annual maximums of $8,000 for undergraduate or certificate programs and $12,000 for graduate courses for full-time employees in high-demand fields. The company anticipates additional ROI growth based on this increased investment and plans to conduct another study to test this.
The movement for more companies to embrace tuition reimbursement also has positive implications for society. There is now greater-than-ever demand for workers with education beyond high school. But while nearly two-thirds of U.S. jobs are projected to require postsecondary education by 2020, only 45 percent of Americans have degrees or certificates today. And with escalating higher education costs presenting a roadblock for too many to pursue education beyond high school, employers have an opportunity to play a critical role in filling the gap.
They should rise to the occasion. The positive results of Cigna’s study offer one more piece of motivation for companies to do so.
Contact John Assunto for all of your Education Recruiting needs! Johna@worldbridgepartners.com or 860-387-0503
I’ve been pretty lucky over the past few months.
I’ve had the opportunity to do some teaching and guest lecturing at Harvard, MIT and Stanford. Turns out our curmudgeonly grandfathers (those of the “Get off my lawn!” variety) are totally wrong: we don’t need to worry about young people these days. The kids are alright.
In fact, they’re generally much better than merely alright. In every instance, I have been struck by how engaged, how funny, and how very hardworking my students have been.
What also stood out, however, was the distinct feeling that university campuses today are, to some extent, environments of fear. Students are living in an eggshell world, one so fragile that strong opinions, contrarian thoughts, and heated debate are treated as the sharp-edged pebbles that would shatter it entirely, and so are never to be picked up. And it’s an atmosphere that is being created by both the universities and the students themselves – out of earnestness, passion, a desire to protect and be protected, it’s not clear. It’s hard to pinpoint the why of it precisely. What’s far easier is seeing its effects.
The defeat of ideological exploration. College is supposed to be an intellectual safe space in that you can try on different ideas or philosophies, without commitment, and see how they suit you. In fact, it’s the perfect time to do it: in many programs, students are required to read a wide range of provocative thinkers, consider their merits, and tease out their arguments. Doing so is literally a grade requirement. But today’s atmosphere forces students to be too considered, too bland, too polite, ultimately encouraging a too-swift adoption of the easiest ideologies to digest and regurgitate. It’s far better – if messier, if sometimes even potentially hurtful – to go through the process of the tough conversations, the passionate back and forth, that helps people figure out what’s truly meaningful to them.
The chilling effect on speech. Intellectual bravery is bold, even brazen. When I push my students on this, they feel relieved to have the room to talk frankly about controversial legal, social and business ideas – and they have seized the opportunity to speak brilliantly and openly about these concepts. But too often, too many other students feel the opposite of emboldened. They’re shut down and shut out of conversations.
Of course, there are types of speech that should not be tolerated – bigotry, hate speech, etc. But the environment today seems to encourage us to feel outrage, to feel disrespected, if someone raises their voice in passion, if someone comes back at us with an argument we feel is wrong. A blanket labeling of people as hateful, for example – in cases where they’re merely offering a point of view that runs contrary to our own – is the fastest way to shut down dialogue. When we do that, we infantilize our young leaders. We’re failing to normalize the natural push-pull, the jostling of ideas, that is part and parcel of a university environment. We’re sending a message that certain types of disagreement are wrong and consequently, we’re encouraging the oppression of nuanced speech.
The ability to confront the real world. Trigger warnings, protests, and the like have their place. But they are not appropriate or wise all the time. It’s one thing – and a good thing – to protest a university’s poor handling of sexual assault by carrying a mattress as a silent, evocative symbol. It’s another to go after a college’s cafeteria because the General Tso’s chicken is culturally inappropriate. When we spend so much time looking for reasons to feel disenfranchised, we can no longer clearly discern when real disempowerment is taking place. As a result, we may fail to put our energies where they’re really needed.
The world outside the confines of campus is a big one. Not every idea encountered there will be gentle. Not every person blandly accepting or apologetic. Universities are readying students for the real world. That is an urgent part of their charter. But the wrap-you-in-cotton-wool approach to hard subjects is failing students greatly, inhibiting their ability to navigate such tricky waters in ways that are intellectually and morally honest.
Every teacher deserves the chance to be phenomenal.
It’s easy to say, and I don’t know anyone who would disagree with the sentiment. But in the history of American education, this vision has proven hard to deliver on. Whenever I talk to teachers, one of their biggest concerns is that they don’t have the tools they need to do their best work. We see the same results in polls of teachers.
I’m optimistic that all of us who are passionate about education can solve this problem. One of the main reasons I’m so hopeful is that advances in technology will make it easier to give teachers the support they deserve. For example, teachers will be able to upload videos of themselves and get advice from their peers, watch the best teachers in the world at work, and get real-time feedback from their students. Software will also help identify which students are having trouble and adjust for their own learning style, leaving teachers more time to focus on the kids who need extra personal attention. (I wrote in more detail about how software will improve education worldwide in last year’s Annual Letter.)
Developers will play a key role in making these advances. I recently had a chance to talk with a number of the leading companies doing this work when I spoke at the ASU GSV Summit, an education-technology conference in San Diego, California. I encouraged them to work more closely with teachers to understand their needs, and to make sure their products deliver measurable results in the classroom. Technology can revolutionize the way teachers and students work together—but only if we base our approaches on evidence about what works.
Below you can read the transcript of my onstage Q&A. I also gave a speech. There’s a lot of exciting work going on in this field, and I definitely left San Diego feeling better than ever about the potential for technology to support teachers and students in a big way.
ASU GSV Q&A
You have concerns about the pace of change and about whether we’re making adequate impact quickly enough and I’m just curious if you have advice for the entrepreneurs out there as they think about it. How do we accelerate this pace and have bigger impact on the students?
Well, in the K-12 area, the way the products are selected, the way money is budgeted for those, over time, that’s really got to change. We’ve got to free up more of the professional development money. We’ve got to get some example products that are clearly so successful that it really opens peoples’ minds to what the role of technology here is. I’d say we’re pretty early in that process.
There are a lot of teachers who are willing to be the pioneers in this area—that’s where we’ve gotten the adoptions so far. There are a lot of cases where we try and go beyond and get a district-wide adoption. We really have to look at why the uptake by the actual usage isn’t quite there, because then that creates something that other people hear about and they’re very, very reluctant.
We do have the benefit though—the digital tools now with the combination of PC, tablet, and cell phone. The three of those we’re close to universality. The idea that the connection was holding things back or access to a device is holding things back—those haven’t gone away, but particularly if some of the experience can be done on a small screen—then even when you get outside the United States the access levels are starting to be a lot higher.
There’s a very positive framework. There’s a sense of need, you know, as people look at those college residence numbers, they look at those completion numbers, and the whole cost equation, higher education is really staring at a tough set of constraints. So that should serve to drive the demand.
It feels to me like we’re hitting a proverbial tipping point in the embrace of personalization and a better understanding of what adapted means, personalized means. What do you see over the next five years? What’s your prognosis both in K-12 and for higher ed actually?
Well, personalized learning is a fairly clear definition. But I think there are different things that come under that umbrella.
Math is the most straightforward because the idea of assessing knowledge very efficiently and saying, “OK, if you really can answer those questions, then we’ll move on to the other area.” That’s far more concrete than say, writing or history.
I was pretty amazed in my last visit to Summit to see how they have taken all the different areas and really given the students a sense of some degree of choice in what they’re doing and a real sense of what they need to get done.
The idea of an agency—where the student knows how much they have to get done, they’re making some selections there that really creates a different relationship between the student and teacher. So I’m hopeful that for math, we can get a very broad rollout of that within the next five years.
It does require the schools to be open-minded because when you go to those new classrooms’ locations, they’re not just in a typical classroom. They’ve been allowed to remodel some of that space. So the kids are moving around and it’s quite amazing. But there was an upfront investment there and a decision to get all the teachers engaged in that new model.
It’s a lot easier if you can do the current physical classroom teacher by teacher. Some stuff fits into that. But the biggest impact is where you can make changes in those things as well—it’s a school-wide way of doing things.
As you get up into higher-ed, it’s a lot more straightforward because then there’s an assumption that, largely, the student is motivated. The student knows what they’re doing. And it is there (in higher-ed), the interactivity, the personalization—particularly in the remedial courses where we’ve gone the furthest—that we’ve seen a dramatic payback in.
We have a section called “Tomorrowland” at the Summit this year. Do you think the embrace of these new technologies—virtual reality, augmented reality—are going to accelerate the adoption of personalized learning?
Yes, I think virtual reality can make things more engaging. And there are certain things where you have more of a sense—even if you can’t, say, build a car in the virtual world, you can sit there and put the pieces together and almost feel like you’re doing far more than would be practical in the real world.
There’s a lot of pedagogy about understanding the science and the math (principles) that really won’t change much just because we put it in a virtual reality framework.
School is always about motivation. The material has been in the textbooks for a long time. In some subject areas, it hasn’t even changed that much. If we can use it to draw people in, then that’s incredibly valuable.
I’m just starting this for some of the videos I do—like where I go out to a refugee camp or to a developing country, to actually make a virtual reality movie. So people actually have a sense so they can see what it was like and look around and feel it.
And yes, we see it as we’re creating those early stage things. We see a lot of engagement. And so combining that with the underlying concepts and not just having it be a distraction.
In learning science, there are a lot of things about—you make things too animated, too colorful, things like that—it often distracts from what you’re really trying to get done, which is the attention to a few basic concepts. So I’m sure we’ll be able to abuse virtual reality as well as we have ANY new technology that’s out there.
I do think in terms of design, lots of engineering things, there’s lots of places where it will play a practical role and hopefully draw people in.
And the cost—particularly where you’re just taking the cellphone and repurposing that—we won’t have to wait a whole decade before the accessibility is there for the lower-end versions of this. The higher-end versions—having an environment where you spend the $500-$1,000 and have it as a shared device—we should have that in a lot of locations as well.
One of the things I most admire about you and Melinda are that you’re proactive. You’re avid visitors. You visit schools. You’ve talked about some of them a number of times already. You visit schools. You visit universities. What’s the key takeaway you’ve seen in the most recent period in terms of your visits? What are you hearing from educators on the ground that you’re incorporating into your work?
Well, it’s been very interesting to learn about who online (learning) is working for. And so far, a lot of the people who are engaged online are more of these adult students who are tougher because their scheduling is more difficult, but they’re easier because they come back for a reason. That is, they’re self-selected that, “OK I want to become a nurse.” “I want to get this engineering degree.”
And so, online, because it fits into that time flexibility and because they’re willing to persevere—that’s been the initial audience that that’s worked well for.
But there are people now, including ASU, who are using it for other cohorts. And they’re taking the very latest, which is far more engaging content than we’ve had in the past, and trying to make it work for everyone.
I think in education, there’s two types of visits you can do. When you get discouraged and don’t think that anything can happen—then you’ve got to go visit KIPP or Green Dot, or High Tech High, or Summit, and see classrooms—or Rocket Ship, which actually is doing some very interesting things.
Go to one where it all really came together: great teachers, a new approach, and you get reminded, “Wow—if we could do this for every student this would be phenomenal!” Then if you ever think, “Oh boy! This is great.” Then go and visit a college that has a 19 percent completion rate or go to an inner-city high school and get a sense of the disengagement that’s there and the amount of resources that’s just going to make sure that the environment is secure.
And so we have plenty of opportunity to see both of those. I do more visits to the ones that are doing well, because those are the best practices we want to spread.
My most recent trip this fall was to Appalachia and I thought that would be a mix. But because Kentucky has invested in their schools over the last 10 years, what we saw was mostly uplifting. These are public schools, very low-income kids, and the way those communities have come together around some of the new curriculum, better professional development, was really inspiring. So that gives you maybe a year or two of motivation you need to do it even more.
There was an interview with Ford CEO Mark Fields on Vox.com last week regarding the techno-driven existential threat to the auto industry. You’ll know it has happened when your Uber ride arrives at your door without a driver.
I contend there’s a similar existential threat to the recruiting industry. It will affect every recruiter, hiring manager, HR leader and those technology vendors who continue to espouse 20th century ideas in the 21st century. Job seekers should rejoice.
First, here are my five big bang reasons why a disruption is likely:
- Current tools including job boards don’t improve quality of hire; they just allow people to change jobs more easily.
- Despite a recent one-time pickup, employee dissatisfaction has been a dismal 70% for the past 20 years due in large part to the ease of changing jobs.
- A surplus of talent model designed to weed out the weak will not work when a surplus of talent doesn’t exist.
- Depending on function and demand, 80-90% of all candidates are not looking to change jobs. Regardless, companies spend more time trying to hire the other 10-20% more efficiently.
- Corporate recruiters are handling too many requisitions preventing them from sourcing and recruiting the best passive candidates.
Given the need for disruption, here’s one approach to completing this makeover.
Ten Disruptive Hiring and Recruiting Ideas for Improving Quality of Hire and Job Satisfaction
- Define jobs as a series of challenges, tasks and learning opportunities. By rethinking how work is defined as a series of tasks and performance-based building blocks it will be easier to overcome the current approach of pigeon-holing people into jobs based on their level of skills, compensation and need for another job.
- Individual job postings are not needed. Since jobs will be grouped by function with a series of interchangeable challenges and tasks, there will be no need or ability for a candidate to search for jobs. A candidate interested in a new job will just push a button and be offered a prioritized list of best career moves.
- Jobs will be customized in real time. By mixing and matching different tasks it will be easier to modify the job to fit the person’s needs rather than force fit a person into some poorly defined lateral transfer.
- Target the entire talent market. Whether a person is active or passive, it won’t matter. For those opting in, a person’s career progress will be tracked and when job satisfaction declines, the person will be given the chance to explore other situations pushed to him or her based on career needs and risk orientation.
- The emergence of the hiring manager do-it-themselves model. There’s no reason all this matching can’t take place directly between the hiring manager and the candidate. The high-volume transactional recruiting model of the past will be replaced by the driverless recruiter of the future.
- Automatic networking will emerge. Job seekers won’t need to be networking all-stars to get better jobs. As part of pushing the best jobs to people when they’re needed, a person’s strong (direct) and weak connections(2nd degree) will be searched in order to introduce candidates to intermediaries with open opportunities. This will be a high-tech means to ensure a high-touch consultative experience.
- Hiring managers will be offered a short-list of high potential candidates to fill open jobs coming up over the next year. Whether the people are active or passive won’t matter. The matching will be based on the upcoming opportunities meeting the short- and long-term career needs of those identified. By extending the timeline, a long-term evaluation can take place without the pressure to hire for today.
- The job boards that remain will only be used to fill rank-and-file jobs for short-term needs. This is actually what’s currently happening but soon people will publicly admit the obvious.
- Career planning will become the rule rather than the exception. Too much of today’s job switching is based on meeting some short-term economic need rather than part of a formal long-term career plan.
- The role of the recruiter will change. Regardless of the actual future role it will definitely be less transactional and more advisory.
Whether these ideas are good or bad, there is no technical reason preventing these disruptors from actually being implemented in the next few years. By optimizing individual growth, learning and job satisfaction the benefits far outweigh the costs. However, those now managing these processes or selling these services will resist. At best, they’re more interested in micro-evolutionary changes rather than the big bang approach suggested. Regardless, some revolutionaries are now implementing these ideas to gain a competitive advantage. Not surprisingly, when viewed from an historical perspective, that’s how all revolutions begin.
Lou Adler (@LouA) is the CEO of The Adler Group, a consulting and training firm helping companies implement Performance-based Hiring. He’s also a regular columnist for Inc. Magazine, SHRM and BusinessInsider. His new Performance-based Hiring micro-course is now available on Lynda.com. His latest book, The Essential Guide for Hiring & Getting Hired (Workbench, 2013), provides hands-on advice for job-seekers, hiring managers and recruiters on how to find the best job and hire the best people. Contact Lou directly if you’d like to disrupt the hiring process at your company.
In May of 1994, a couple of weeks after I finished my junior year of college, I packed up my parents’ Honda Accord and moved to Washington, D.C. for the summer. I lived in a dorm at American University with dozens of other college students from around the country who had all come to the nation’s capital for what was seen as a rite of passage on our way to a bachelor’s degree: the summer internship.
The jobs were mostly menial and many didn’t pay, but each day we hopped on the Metro to head off to prestigious sounding addresses from congressional offices on Capitol Hill to the Smithsonian Institution. I spent the summer at U.S. News & World Report as a reporter working on its annual college rankings issue.
But unlike students of today, we didn’t see our internships as another box to check in our journey through college or an extended tryout for a full-time job down the road. We had applied for our internships a few months earlier, and we were happy to spend the summer in Washington with a job that didn’t involve showing up in a uniform or flipping burgers for minimum wage. Sure, the internships provided a much-needed line on what were fairly blank résumés to that point, but few of us really knew what we wanted to do with our lives, and those summer positions were not crucial to landing a job after college.
Over the course of the next decade the rules about hiring changed, as the war for talent began to move at alarming speed. These days, perhaps nothing illustrates the massive shift in how college graduates launch a career as much as the role the internship now plays—an experience taken for granted twenty years ago.
Internships are now a critical cog in the recruiting wheel for Fortune 500 companies and many smaller companies, too. Today employers hire as full-time workers around 50 percent of the interns who had worked for them before they graduated, according to the Collegiate Employment Research Institute at Michigan State University. At large companies (more than 10,000 employees) and in some industries (construction, consulting, accounting, and scientific services) the share of interns who get full-time offers is growing every year, and closer to 75 percent at several of them.
I saw this shift in how companies recruit first-hand over the two years I spent reporting my book There Is Life After College, visiting campus job fairs, interviewing career advisors and corporate recruiters, as well as talking to more than one hundred emerging adults from all socioeconomic backgrounds and all kinds of colleges and universities. One of the things that struck me was much students’ outside-the-classroom experiential learning opportunities contributed to their success after college—everything from project-based learning and undergraduate research to study abroad, and especially internships.
Indeed, a poll commissioned for the book found that twenty-somethings launch into their third decade of their life in one of three ways today—they are eitherSprinters who jump right into their career or on a path to a successful launch after completing additional education; Wanderers who take their time—about half of their twenties—to get their start in a career; or Stragglers who press pause and spend most of their twenties trying to get their start in a career. How they transition into their twenties depends greatly on the value of their internships. So it’s not wonder why students are exploring less in college and trying to get a leg up on the internship almost as soon as they arrive on campus.
On an early November night in 2014, the Inn at Penn, a hotel on the edge of the University of Pennsylvania’s campus in West Philadelphia, was buzzing with activity. Although a few employers were still interviewing seniors for full-time jobs, several firms were now focused on hiring interns—for the next summer.
The main event was a presentation by Goldman Sachs, the Wall Street investment bank. About 150 students streamed into a second-floor large ballroom, most of them clad in dark suits with Under Armour and North Face backpacks slung over their shoulders. Placed on each chair across the room was a one-page description of Goldman’s intern recruiting events with the deadlines to apply and the dates for interviews. It was already too late if you wanted a technology internship; most of the other interviews would come in January. Goldman Sachs holds events like this on about sixteen university campuses nationwide, sending a clear but unstated message that if you don’t go to one of those schools, you probably won’t intern at Goldman Sachs.
Lauren Goldberg, a recruiter from Goldman Sachs, jumped up on stage to welcome the group. Since very few gathered here had a chance of getting an offer (about 59,000 students apply for 2,900 intern positions each year), her good cheer was helpful. She talked about the various players in the recruiting process, from university relation managers (that’s her) to campus ambassadors to school team captains. She encouraged students to come to as many recruiting events as possible to network.
“Try to connect with as many people as you can,” Goldberg said. “But don’t email too much.”
When Goldberg encouraged those attending to download the company’s recruiting app called “Make an Impact,” nearly everyone around me immediately pulled out their smartphones. I downloaded it, too. The welcome screen popped up: This app is designed to prepare you for the recruiting process. This is your impact dashboard.
All of this—just for a summer internship.
After forty-five minutes, the presentation ended. A small group of students huddled around a table at the back of the ballroom, snacking on leftover food. As I talked with them, I discovered they were sophomores who had come to gather intelligence and get a head start for next year. They were barely a quarter of the way through their college years, yet they were already trying to figure out how to jump through the next hoop. They knew as sophomores that a good job after graduation largely depended on first getting the right internships in college.
No one wants to be the first full-time employer anymore of new college graduates who haven’t worked or interned anywhere. As a result, the race to lock up the best interns early in their undergraduate career for full-time employment later is commonplace among employers of all sizes and in all industries. The peak recruitment time for internships is February and March.
This new emphasis on the internship has upended the traditional recruiting calendar on campuses nationwide, and not only at the elite universities. With more companies hiring from their intern pools, recruiters have shifted their attention from hiring soon-to-graduate seniors as full-timers to scoping out juniors, even as early as the fall term to be interns the next summer.
“There was a time when fifty employers came to recruit for interns,” Patricia Rose, director of Penn’s career center, told me. “Now we have 180. They want to wrap up talent before anyone else.”
Nowhere is that more evident than in California’s Silicon Valley. Each summer, thousands of college students descend on the technology mecca to work as interns at a mix of startups and Fortune 100 companies. During those three months, these companies are looking for the best students in their intern pools—as well as those at other firms—and putting a full-court press on them to commit to permanent jobs after they graduate.
On almost any given day, in places from San Francisco to San Jose, companies host intern events that range from simple networking discussions to lavish parties. Facebook sponsors the most popular one of the summer—a carnival just for interns. Such perks, once reserved for second-year law- and business-school internships, have now filtered down to undergraduates in fields where there is a shortage of talent.
Before Adam Ward headed up recruiting at Pinterest, the online scrapbooking service, he worked at Facebook. That’s where he first noticed that companies were hiring more of their interns for full-time jobs. Facebook had scoured data on its employees’ performance and reached the surprising conclusion that how well they did on the job had nothing to do with where they went to college. The common trait among the company’s best performers? They had all interned at Facebook. That led the social-networking giant to start hiring more of its own interns, and now the company turns more than half of each year’s intern class into full-time employees.
Ward has a similar goal at Pinterest, where about one-third of interns are hired in permanent jobs. “It’s a really smart way to recruit,” he told me. “It’s all about trying before you buy.”
When LinkedIn analyzed the online profiles of its 300 million members to determine how which fields were more likely than others to hire their former interns into full-time jobs, it found wide discrepancies between occupations. Nearly 60 percent of accounting interns were hired for full-time jobs at the same company within a year of their internship, while only 25 percent did the same in apparel and fashion.
Internships are increasingly the only way for new applicants to get in the door at some companies. Postings for internships now make up a significant proportion of the overall entry-level job openings in several industries, including engineering, graphic design, communications, marketing, and information technology.
“You can’t spend your first couple of summers in college lifeguarding or working as a camp counselor anymore if you have a specific job in mind after graduation,” said Matt Sigelman, the CEO of Burning Glass Technologies, the company that provides real-time labor market data and has studied internship postings. “Those typical summer jobs are not going to position you for work after graduation.”
Traditionally the summer intern fetched coffee and made photocopies, but not anymore. In many companies, interns perform real work, and employers are expecting interns to come with specific skills already in hand. Students with technology internships are expected to know programming languages like SQL and Java; design interns need to be proficient in Photoshop and InDesign; and every intern basically needs to know how to manipulate a spreadsheet in Excel.
“A job posting is flagging a set of expectations, and they tell us that even internships are asking for really technical skills,” Sigelman told me. “It puts a lot of pressure on students to learn on their own outside their core academic program.”
But the work experience of the internship alone is not what makes graduates stand out on the job market. The most successful graduates I found in researching the book were those who could translate what they learned in one context (the classroom, for instance) to another that is far different from where they originally learned the concept (a project at work). Educators call this transfer learning—the ability to generalize core principles and apply them in many different places.
The concept sounds simple enough, but today’s students, facing the constant pressure to prepare for standardized tests, rarely have the chance to learn through problem solving or to be involved in the kind of projects that reinforce skills that can be used in multiple settings. Our ability to drive almost any car on the market without reading its manual is an example of knowledge transfer, as is our ability to solve math equations involving any number once we learn the basic formula.
Knowledge transfer is what gets you hired – because it’s the ability to show in job interviews what you cannot easily display on your résumé or in an application. College students find the concept particularly difficult to grasp because for most of their schooling, their learning was directed by someone else, parents and teachers, who spelled out exactly how to transfer knowledge between disparate ideas. Learning in the workplace, however, is mostly self-directed.
U.S. colleges and universities today continue to have a strong bias against combining education with relevant work experience. The two approaches have long competed for attention on college campuses. There is nothing wrong with going to college to learn for learning’s sake, but you need to resist the pull of schools that want you to focus your undergraduate years solely on the pursuits of the mind, if you want to find a good job after graduation. The best college education is a two-pronged approach that exercises both the mind and the hands.
This post has been adapted and excerpted from Jeffrey J. Selingo’s new book,“There Is Life After College: What Parents and Students Should Know About Navigating School to Prepare for the Jobs of Tomorrow,” on sale now from William Morrow/HarperCollins. He is also the author of “College (Un)Bound: The Future of Higher Education and What It Means for Students.”
Imagine you have a couple of tickets spare for the Super Bowl. You’ve got an important business trip, and your boss won’t let you skip it. As a result, there’s no way you can make it to the game.
So what do you do? You’ve got to sell your tickets right? It’s no big deal – just put the tickets on resale and sell to the highest bidder. Money talks, right? And you may as we’ll make as much cash from the sale as possible, after all you know that a pair of tickets to the Super Bowl is a pretty valuable commodity.
So is higher education. It is an incredibly valuable commodity. So perhaps it is no surprise that when universities are able to charge higher fees to some students than they do to others, people start to worry that those higher value students will become more attractive when handing out places.
In the UK, students from outside the European Union pay higher fees than those from within it. The result? People worry that students from places like India and China, which send thousands of people to study in the UK each year, might be given a place at the expense of a British, French or Dutch student.
International student numbers have risen by nearly 70 per cent over the past decade in England, increasing from 31,000 first-degree entrants in 2003-04 to 51,000 in 2013-14.
In the US, institutions charge students from outside their own state more than they do local residents, and there are concerns that a trend for institutions recruiting more out-of-state applicants might be more about cash than it is about fairness.
Here’s a graph from this Los Angeles Times article illustrating the growth in out-of-state students at the University of California.
It looks like the number of admissions rose roughly in line with the number of applications from out-of-state, and that those figures started to increase pretty rapidly in around 2011, after fairly steady growth in the previous six years.
As it happens, 2011 was the year the University of California adopted a policy of admitting more out-of-state students. Since 2011, the number of in-state students admitted to the state’s system has plateaued somewhat.
And California isn’t the only place it’s happening. This excellent analysis on The Atlantic gives lots of examples: The University of Nebraska—Lincoln last year increased its percentage of out-of-state students by 5.2 percent; out-of-state enrollment at the University of South Carolina more than doubled since 2000 (now at 45 per cent). Out-of-state students pay almost double ($32,762) for tuition and room and board than in-state students, the article points out.
However, I’m not here to analyse the figures – that’s already been done, in California at least. A 116-page state audit of admissions, released at the end of last month accused the University of California of “hurting local students by admitting too many out-of-state applicants to its campuses”.
“The university has undermined its commitment to residents in an effort to increase its revenue by recruiting and enrolling nonresidents,” the audit said.
It suggests there should be more focus on recruiting Californians — particularly African Americans, Latinos and other underrepresented minorities (this issue of increasing diversity is something I focused on in another LinkedIn blog, so I won’t go into it here).
For the record, the University of California President Janet Napolitano denounced the audit’s conclusions as “disappointingly pre-baked” and “unfair and unwarranted”, but it still raises some questions.
It speaks to two very emotive issues: profit and fairness. I know they are sensitive debates – an article I wrote earlier this year on how universities with large endowments might better share their wealth was read nearly 25,000 times, with 600 plus either commenting or “liking” it.
The thing is, although many universities do have plenty of money in the bank, many do not. And while in the UK the burden of funding higher education has been somewhat shifted from the state to the student via a series of tuition fee hikes since 1998, the US is still waiting for state higher education funding to return to pre-recession levels (despite some encouraging signs this year).
In short, institutions want to maintain their income levels, and one of the most obvious way to do this is to take on the most profitable students. This is pretty straight forward when you are looking at a profit and loss assessment, but becomes far more sensitive when you are dealing with human ability.
What happens when the more profitable student is marginally less qualified than the one who will bring in less cash, for example? Might universities decide to recruit the former?
It is hard to pin down clear examples of where this is happening, since the assessment of ability is such a difficult beast. How do you compare, for example, the ability of an affluent, privately-educated freshman to that of someone with a less advantaged background?
I wrote an article for Times Higher Education last year that illustrates some of the concerns that lecturers have with overseas students (most notably language proficiency), and there is some logic in the argument that when a state university system increase the number of out-of-state students, there will be fewer places for local kids.
The solution is, arguably, quite easy to write down, but virtually impossible to implement. Universities should of course seek to admit in-state students, particularly those who might not be able to afford to go out of state but who have the talent and ability to study at a higher level. This will require bursaries and grants for the less well-off, funded by…well there’s the tricky bit. Higher fees for the rich? More cash from the government (state or national)? Savings made elsewhere in the universities? Who knows.
One thing is for sure: international students and out-of-state students bring money to universities (and much more besides – read this excellent post by the head of one of the UK’s top universities, where 46 per cent of teaching income comes from international students).
Might it be possible to find a balance whereby the money brought in by students from further afield can be used to ensure that local students get a fair crack of the whip too? Many institutions would argue that they are already doing this, but perhaps it could be done more effectively.
Now, back to your spare Super Bowl tickets. Would you give them to your football-mad neighbour free of charge and wish her a good day out, rather than netting a quick buck (or thousand bucks) elsewhere?
It’s just possible that if you have a big house to maintain, the money you have coming in from other sources is being squeezed, and there’s a buyer with plenty of money in the bank ready to do a deal, you might think twice. Even if it means souring your relationship with your neighbour.
There’s no question that the pay gap costs women and their families thousands of dollars every single year. It devalues the work women do — from minimum-wage workers to chief executives to the best athletes in the world. And it holds our economy back.
And yet we know that not everyone is convinced. There’s still a lot of misinformation out there — so let’s dispel the myths.
Myth #1: The gender pay gap doesn’t exist.
Some people believe there isn’t really a gender pay gap. That’s just wrong. The typical woman working full time in 2014 was paid 79 percent of what men were paid. Black women earned just 60 percent of what white men made, and Latinas earned just 55 percent. Last I checked, there’s no discount for being a woman. Groceries don’t cost us less. Rent doesn’t cost us less. And raising a family isn’t any less expensive. So why should women be paid less?
Myth #2: This is a women’s issue and men don’t need to worry about it.
Wrong again. If you’re a man married to a woman, this is your problem. When your wife isn’t paid fairly, your family loses out. If you’re the father to a young woman, or the son of a working mom, this is your problem, too. Plus, plenty of decent men care about this issue because they believe in fairness, and they know this isn’t right. It’s as simple as that.
Myth #3: Gender pay discrimination is already illegal and therefore not a problem.
Some may wonder why we’re still talking about this. It’s because it still takes place everyday. I’ll never forget the young man I met in New Hampshire who got a job working as a cashier right next to his mother. They were so excited — then he brought home his first paycheck. They opened it together and discovered that, after one week on the job, he was making a dollar an hour more than his mom. She had worked there for four years.
Yes, it still happens today. In 2016.
That’s why organizations like Glassdoor that promote transparency are important for helping women negotiate equal pay. It’s why we need legislation like the Paycheck Fairness Act, so people won’t be fired or retaliated against for asking what their co-workers make. And it’s why we need to build on President Obama’s pay transparency rules that require companies to report their pay data. If you’re scared of people having more information, it’s a good sign you’re doing something wrong.
We know there are a lot of other reasons why women end up earning so much less over the course of their lifetimes. And if we’re serious about supporting women, we’ve got to take all of these issues on.
For starters, we’ve got to raise the minimum wage. Women make up nearly two-thirds of minimum wage workers and two-thirds of workers in tipped jobs. These jobs are hard, they’re often insecure, and they don’t pay nearly enough. New York is leading the way on this issue, and it’s time for the rest of the country to catch up. Women all over America deserve a raise.
We also have to encourage more women to enter higher-paying fields, like science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. These were boys’ clubs for a long time, but today more and more women are venturing in. They’re contributing every day as innovators, inventors, tinkerers, coders, builders, and discoverers. And those good jobs mean better pay.
And we have to do more to support working parents, moms and dads alike, so they can stay on the job and keep more of their paychecks. It shouldn’t be punishingly expensive for new parents to take time off to care for babies. It shouldn’t be impossible for working parents to arrange their workdays so they can be there when the kids get home from school. And it shouldn’t cost so much for parents to afford quality childcare or for daughters or sons to be there when their aging parents need them.
Perhaps the biggest myth of all is that we can’t solve these problems. We absolutely can — if we summon the political will.
These aren’t just women’s issues. These are economic issues. Other countries are making it easier for women to be mothers and have careers — not out of altruism, but because they know that it’s foolish to let half the population’s talent and energy go unused. If America wants to compete and win in the global economy, we’ve got to make it possible for everyone to contribute to the fullest extent possible.
Here’s the bottom line. All people — men and women — should be able to dream big dreams and then follow them wherever they lead.
So this Equal Pay Day, let’s recommit to doing our part to make America a more equitable place.
Parents, teachers: Encourage our girls.
Bosses: Treat women fairly, and go the distance to support employees with family responsibilities.
Congress: Pass the Paycheck Fairness Act. Support paid family leave—New York and California have done it, and it’s time to make it the law of the land.
And I would urge everyone to keep these issues in mind when at the polls: Anyone asking for your vote should have a plan to address them. I’ve been fighting for these issues my whole life, and I’m not stopping now. This is too important, for too many people.
So let’s keep fighting — on Equal Pay Day, and every day — for girls, for women, and for families.
While attending CGI University last weekend for the first time as president of the Clinton Foundation, rather than a university president, I found it hard not to constantly remind students to study, get some sleep and keep their dorm rooms clean. But I know my worries are mostly unfounded — relative to other generations, today’s young people are all right.
In fact, what’s so inspiring to me as an educator is that Generation Y is more concerned about whether others are all right. They are doing things like earning money while distributing solar lights in remote towns in Nicaragua, providing zero-interest loans to low-income fish farmers in Nepal and building apps for LGBTQ asylum seekers in the United States. We’re in the midst of a social entrepreneurship boom that’s being led by millennials, many of whom have yet to graduate.
But students can’t go it alone. Colleges and universities have an exciting opportunity — and a responsibility — to help prepare young people for the reality of starting up. And schools should act now, because next to arrive is Gen Z, reportedly the most entrepreneurial generation yet.
There are many ways colleges and universities can keep pushing themselves to become bigger and better incubators for ideas, innovation, and inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs. Here are a few ways for schools to position themselves as an influential force in this age of social startups.
1. Support the legitimacy of student ventures.
I’m a big fan of treating young people like they are the next startup CEO on the brink of changing the world—because with the right support, they very well can be.
Schools have an opportunity to convert the unparalleled optimism of the millennial generation into tangible social impact early on. For example, CGI U, which convened last week at U.C. Berkeley, brings together more than 1,000 college students each year to address some of the most pressing social and environmental challenges of their time. Established social entrepreneurs such as Jessica Matthews, the inventor of Soccket, and Ashifi Gogo, the founder ofSproxil, were able to develop ideas at CGI U during their college years because the platform takes student ventures seriously.
“Schools have an opportunity to convert the unparalleled optimism of the millennial generation into tangible social impact.”
In addition to external opportunities, schools can explore ways to provide practical experience on campus. While I was president of the University of Miami,The Launch Pad set up shop beyond the confines of the business school to incubate ideas and provide student entrepreneurs with resources such as mentorship. Upon signing up, participating students — who are treated as clients — fill out both a venture assessment form and a non-disclosure agreement.
I’ve found that students of all majors, genders and backgrounds appreciate the opportunity to explore entrepreneurship as a legitimate career. Since it first began, The Launch Pad has become wildly popular, and other schools have replicated it.
2. Embrace strategic partnerships
Incubating the ideas of student entrepreneurs is a big step, and I wouldn’t recommend any institution do it alone. Many of those at the vanguard of bringing social innovation to higher education are achieving impact by working together.
Babson College has established itself as a preeminent force in entrepreneurship education in part by joining forces with foundations, businesses and governments. Likewise, CGI U has seen success by extending the groundbreaking, partnership-based model of the Clinton Global Initiative to students and schools around the world.
“Many of those at the vanguard of bringing social innovation to higher education are achieving impact by working together.”
Collaboration can also help traditional colleges and universities stay relevant as they face competition from MOOCs, digital badges and other educational alternatives, which promise shorter time commitments and lower price tags. Schools such as U.C. Berkeley and Northwestern are staying ahead of the curve by teaming up with education startups to deliver free online courses that focus on 21st-century skills.
3. Consider seed funding
Social enterprises won’t get off the ground based on good intentions alone. Schools can prepare students for startup life by educating and empowering them to secure financial backing.
Many forward-looking institutions are now stepping up to invest in student ideas. U.C. Berkeley provides $5,000 grants to early-stage enterprises involving undergraduate or MBA students at the Haas School of Business. And this year, $900,000 in funding will be available to select CGI U 2016 students to help them turn their ideas into action.
There are promising examples of student seed funding at work. Sixto Cancel, an undergrad at Virginia Commonwealth University, is raising funds for a foster care hackathon to explore opportunities for tech innovation in the U.S. foster care system.
Sixto reports that he has raised more than $300,000 for his foster youth-focused organization Think of Us since its inception, which has allowed him to pay six employees and hire another 10 for college credit.
4. Make room for failure
All the mentorship and seed funding in the world can’t change the ubiquity of failure. Few people get entrepreneurship right on their first try — or even their third. It’s the responsibility of educators to prepare students for the harsh reality that 90% of all startups fail.
Failure sharpens leaders, fosters resilience and leads to smarter risks. We must challenge the stigma around failure that persists in academia. Shaming imperfection only stifles the innovation that colleges and universities can achieve. By creating a safe space for aspiring startup leaders to work out the kinks, schools can catalyze social entrepreneurship and maintain their competitive edge.
Social entrepreneurship is one of the most promising developments of the 21st century—and like the Millennial generation, the sector is still taking shape. I’m excited to witness higher education continue to evolve along with it.
This post originally appeared in Mashable. Watch the clip below for more of my thoughts on how college students can find their passion and affect positive change.