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Class of 2014 Finding Success After Graduation

Most graduates engaged in professional pursuits within six months

  • Study shows average starting salary of more than $52,000
  • More than 60 percent employed full time or engaged in paid public service
  • Many more in graduate or professional school
  • Career advising, alumni networking, leadership opportunities key to success

EVANSTON, Ill. --- More than 90 percent of Northwestern University’s Class of 2014 graduates were engaged in professional pursuits six months after graduation, according to a University study.

As members of the Class of 2015 prepare for commencement, they can be encouraged that more than 60 percent of last year’s graduates were employed full time with an average starting salary of more than $52,000.

Many of the remaining members of the Class of 2014 were in graduate school, professional school or participating in some other educational activity, the study found. Only 2 percent were actively searching for a job.

The study, “First Destination: Six Months After Graduation,” was conducted by Northwestern Career Advancement (NCA) and Student Affairs Assessment. Data was compiled from a variety of sources to gain information on 80 percent of the undergraduate members of the Class of 2014.

“The University plays a critical role in providing opportunities for students to develop career interests and prepare for life beyond Northwestern,” said NCA Executive Director Mark Presnell. “It begins as early as the first year through a combination of academics, experiential learning, campus involvement and professional opportunities.”

Students seem to be taking advantage of career-related opportunities offered to them as undergraduates. The study indicated almost 90 percent of those surveyed had engaged in an experiential learning opportunity, with nearly 70 percent participating in at least one internship and 56 percent participating in a research experience.

On-campus involvement also was important to the success of members of the Class of 2014. Ninety-one percent who responded reported that they were deeply involved in one or more student organizations during their time at Northwestern, with 89 percent having held a leadership position. Additionally, 48 percent of the respondents said they were deeply involved in community service projects, and 45 percent held a significant on-campus work position.

As a result of their involvement in student groups, undergraduate students reported having substantial opportunities to develop skills and abilities that include functioning effectively as a member of a team, building confidence and planning and executing complex projects,” Presnell said.

Bolstered by strong support from the Northwestern Alumni Association (NAA) and NCA through career advising, mock interviews and other networking events, members of the undergraduate Class of 2014 have left Evanston to pursue careers in communications, consulting, finance, education, government, information technology, engineering and many other fields. They’ve found jobs at Allstate, Deloitte, Aldi, Accenture, CBS News, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Goldman Sachs, McKinsey, Procter and Gamble, IBM, Leo Burnett, Morningstar, National Public Radio and the U.S. Senate, among other employers.

“We continue to watch and admire the great things Northwestern’s Class of 2014 is accomplishing,” Presnell said. “We have no doubt that the Class of 2015 will follow suit when we conduct a similar study this fall.”

For a complete look at the professional pursuits, locations and average salaries of the undergraduate Class of 2014, see the full report.

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