May 09, 2024
networking night
Thanks to preparation from Busch School of Business staff, students are ready to take on the challenges of finding a job that fits them. (Catholic University/Jennifer Morris)

As seniors across the nation prepare mentally and emotionally for their university commencement ceremonies, their eyes are on the careers they want to pursue. 

For those graduating from The Busch School of Business at the Catholic University of America on Saturday, it's the next step in a multi-year journey marked by personal attention and mentorship by the school's leadership. 

Marie Ryan, ‘23, serves as a Marketing and Outreach Coordinator for the Busch School. As a recent graduate, she was transformed by the career development experience before she received her degree.

“They don't just like to swoop in your senior year to get the placement rate stuff,” Ryan said. “They really do help you from freshman year.  I was someone who didn't know if I wanted to work at a big company or startup, and I got to work at both to kind of see what I wanted.”

Ryan said she earned her first job out of college primarily through networking at the Busch School. However, she returned to the school professionally because of how much she learned from the Busch School’s Career Strategy and Development staff.

The results have been spectacular for students this year.

As of late April, 85 of 131 seniors in the Busch program had been placed into jobs with a current salary average of  $75,653 and an average sign-on bonus of $4,900. 

Bernard’s career development staff is playing a critical role in this success. Nearly 100% of graduates are expected to have a job within six months of Commencement.

Busch students have to take mandatory classes on career strategy and discerning their God-given gifts. Career preparation emphasis is placed on resume review, job search, and maximizing presence on the LinkedIn social media network among other focuses. 

Last fall, each Busch school senior was assigned a staff member who served as a professional career coach. It was a debut initiative that is already paying dividends.

“This is the year we've had the highest knowledge rate ever of the graduating class,” said Caroline Bernard,  the school’s director of Career Strategy and Development. “There are only three students who we don't know where they are with their job search.”

The process doesn’t end on Saturday when the students receive their degrees. Busch staff will maintain close contact with graduates, tracking their career happiness and adding that to their data analysis. Students are, Ryan and Bernard said, encouraged not just to accept their first job offer, but the right one.

Bernard said the questions posed to students as undergraduates will continue to provoke and guide them wherever they go: “What makes you feel alive? What energizes you? Where is God's voice speaking to you and your gifts?”