Listening to recent news reports, you would think new college graduates might as well hang up their mortar boards in despair and reconcile themselves to a life of unemployment in their parents’ basements.
Nothing could be farther from the truth for Minnesota School of Business–St. Cloud (MSB) June graduates, many of whom are already employed prior to their commencement ceremony.
Veterinary technology student Heidi Steinke is a case in point. Steinke’s internship experience at Animals, Inc., in the Kimball and Maple Lake clinics, led to a job offer before her June graduation date, and Steinke is thrilled.
“I only knew a little about large animals,” she said, “but was interested in them. I’ve learned so much! We’ve done a lot of c-sections,” she added. “It’s been cool and interesting, and a lot of hands on [work.] Exactly what we went to school for.”
When Dr. Carl Larson was approached about taking on Steinke as an intern, his response was an immediate, “Absolutely!” Two weeks later, he also advocated for her to be hired.
Larson was the resident veterinarian at MSB-St. Cloud from 2012 –2013 and remembered Steinke as a good student and hard worker.
“It’s such a huge relief,” Steinke admitted after learning she had the job. “It’s nice not to have to stress before you graduate, looking and searching in a tough job market.”
Cathryn Uphoff, a massage therapy student graduating in June, also secured her first job through an internship experience.
Uphoff interned with Dr. Jenna Fore at Fore Chiropractic and Wellness in Mora, Minnesota, and found the experience to be both interesting and authentic.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect,” Uphoff said, “but if felt like a real-life experience, almost like you were on your own.”
Uphoff also learned there is a great advantage to getting to know clients on a regular basis and establish relationships with them. And Dr. Fore helped promote her intern’s expertise by offering introductory specials and discounts.
Fore hired Uphoff to start immediately, the day after her college graduation ceremony.
“It feels great,” exclaimed Uphoff. “I was nervous [about finding a job.] Mora is a small town with not that many prospects in the area. It’s a huge weight off my shoulders.”
Paralegal student Erin Stocker agrees that getting hired prior to graduation is a terrific feeling, but unlike Uphoff and Steinke, Stocker was employed by a company other than her internship site.
“I interned with the St. Cloud City Attorney’s office and it was wonderful,” she said. “There is the city attorney, Matt Staeling, and six others, and every single one of them was willing to show me documents and take me to court. What I prepared was actually used.”
Although she was told her work was exceptional, Stocker was also informed that there is currently no paralegal position open in the office to fill. Fortunately, she had a back-up plan.
Last fall Stocker attended a career fair on campus and was introduced to Encore Capital Group.
“They interviewed me on the spot and would have hired me right then and there, but I told them I had to finish school,” she remembers.
The team leader then promised to be in touch.
Partway through her internship, Encore contacted Stocker again and asked if she was still interested in the company. “Because we are still interested in you,” she was told.
After a series of interviews, Stocker was hired to be a full-time Legal Specialist at Encore, reading, drafting and notarizing documents for the company. She begins on graduation day.
“My emotions are running wild,” Stocker said of the news. “I’m excited, scared, thrilled, nervous and ready to go!”
All three of these successful grads have valuable tips to share for students just starting out in college.
- “What made me successful was joining SCNAVTA,” (the Student Chapter of the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America) says Steinke. “You get to know your teachers and your peers. It’s good bonding. The teachers are willing to help you out, and study group with other vet techs works.”
- Similarly, Steinke advises, “Talk to your teachers about those in the vet tech field. They know people who know people. They will put in a good word for you if you are a good worker.
- Regarding securing a job right away, Uphoff tells students to work closely with Career Services and not be afraid to ask questions.
- Stocker is adamant, “Take all the advice from your instructors. They work in the field. Take everything [Paralegal Chair] Mr. Bazan says to heart.”
- Finally, Steinke recommends, “If you have the option to work at a clinic while in school: take it! You learn on the job.”
As these soon-to-be graduates and full-time employees have discovered, “on the job” is a sweet place to be.