In what ways has being a UVa alumnus benefited you? – Anonymous
Great question, Anonymous. From the perspective of career and employment, here are three benefits that you gain from your UVA degree:
UVA, with its decently-sized student body, long history (by U.S. standards), and variety of educational offerings, has built an alumni network in a wide range of fields and geographies. The university has also invested in technologies that enable alumni to connect with each other and hire one another. Alumni Hall provides a physical space for alumni to gather, and its staff run dozens of programs that connect alumni to each other and back to the university. These include UVA Clubs in cities where there is a meaningful alumni presence and alumni affinity groups such as (shameless plug alert!) AAPAAN.
The university’s dedication to alumni relations means that alumni can draw upon a deep pool of resources to enrich their lives, whether it’s furthering a career, moving to a new city, accessing discounted financial services, or having unique travel experiences.
Personally, I have been to several UVA Club events, where I have connected with people who helped me find my feet when I moved to NYC and then to Boston. I like receiving the weekly alumni job openings email because I can keep an eye out for potential opportunities. I also enjoy my involvement with AAPAAN, which has been fun and fulfilling.
Many Asian parents, for better or worse, dedicate their lives to getting their children into a top-ranked university. If you’ve read the headlines in recent months, you know that Asian parents aren’t the only ones; even celebrity parents think this is a top priority. When it comes to career, these parents have a point.
I came to appreciate the strength of the UVA brand when I changed careers. Even though I was also enrolled in a graduate program to help smooth the way, I did not have any experience in my target industry, and I did not want to undo five years as a working adult by accepting an entry-level role.
As someone who now screens resumes for my team’s hiring managers, I know that I would not have gotten nearly as many interview opportunities as I would have, had I not had the UVA diploma backing me up. People did not know me, but they knew UVA, and that familiarity helped me get my foot in the door.
Based on personal experience, I have noticed that graduates of more well-known universities tend to have a higher base of knowledge and a higher probability of obtaining the continuing education needed to take their careers to the next level.
This may mean that they are more likely to be enrolled in better-known professional programs, such as medical school, law school, or business school, or that they have higher pass rates on professional licenses such as the CPA or CFA in the accounting and finance industries.
Beyond being book smart, they are able to think critically and independently. They also know how to learn, and therefore are easier to teach. When I am training them, they know the right questions to ask, and I rarely have to repeat myself.
No statistics on any of this, just personal observation. But these observations certainly influence how I hire.