FSB associate VP offers advice to students concerned about job, internship prospects

Kirk Bogard talks with students durin

Kirk Bogard knows the feeling of being a student graduating during a time of turmoil. When the Farmer School associate vice president of development and external relations graduated from Miami with a finance degree in 1988, it was less than a year after Black Monday, the largest single-day stock market crash in U.S. history. “So I have some context for what you guys are going through right now, and that anxiety about trying to find a position and launch your careers.”

Bogard and FSB director of professional development Monique Frost held the first Career Chat on WebEx on Friday afternoon to address “questions and inquiries and discussions we were having with all of you and other students about the current state of our economy as it relates to jobs and internships.”

Talking with more than 40 students, Bogard said that FSB has not heard of many job offers being rescinded so far, but that many of the Fortune 500 companies that the school works with are adopting a wait-and-see attitude toward additional hiring. Some firms are also restructuring internships to be virtual, rather than in-person, he said.

For students concerned about finding a job or internship in the coming months, Bogard had some suggestions about things they could do now to help themselves in the future. The first was a reminder to continue to use Handshake to look for openings in their areas of interest.

The second thing students should be doing is “hypernetworking,” as Bogard put it. “I would encourage you to be reaching out to employers, reaching out to the executives who are in your network,” he said, noting that applies to the networks of your family members as well. “I can tell you that our alumni base is phenomenal and they want to help you, but you need to be proactive and take the initiative in reaching out to them. Keep in mind they probably don't know who you are, but that's OK.”

Bogard said the Farmer School faculty are still a tremendous resource, even working remotely. “They have a tremendous amount of depth in their particular field, especially for juniors and seniors,” he explained. “I would be engaging them in their office hours and talking about where you are in your career search, what you're interested in, and ask what ideas they may have.”

Bogard and Frost noted that FSB Career Services is still offering virtual consultations for students, and that Miami’s free Big Interview platform is available for students to practice their interviews and get experience in doing them remotely, something that is becoming a more likely possibility.

Finally, if that job offer or internship does fall through, Bogard said students should find something to do to show they aren’t sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring. “I'd encourage you to consider volunteering. There are an infinite number of ways in which you can help your communities these days. You could work for FEMA, you could work for the Red Cross, you could deliver Meals on Wheels. There are a lot of things that our society is going through right now and we are all part of it. And that gives an opportunity to demonstrate initiative,” he remarked.

“Because I guarantee you, it's going to come up in a job interview – ‘What did you do during that period of time?’ And being able to articulate, ‘I did some volunteer work, I helped take care of a family member, I did these three, these five things.’ That’s part of your story. You're helping society. And it may just make you a better person. I think that this is an opportunity, if we treat it as such, from which to elevate our contributions,” Bogard explained.

Friday’s chat was the first of several that will take place in the coming weeks to help Farmer School students work within the constraints and opportunities that the coronavirus crisis has created.

“We are all in this together. This is impacting everybody at Miami, whether you're a student, a faculty member or staff member. I can tell you that I've had countless phone calls in the last three weeks (with alumni,) and to a person they have offered to assist us, to support in whatever way they possibly can,” Bogard said. “So I would encourage you to demonstrate that Miami resolve and initiative. Now is the time that you need to get going, keep going, reach out for help, and know that we're here to help you.”