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Class of 2014 Begins Quest for World Domination

By Randall S. Barton on March 09, 2015 04:43 PM

Snapshot of the class of 2014 six months after graduation, based on a study by the Center for Life Beyond Reed. The knowledge rate for the survey is 85%; in other words, the destinations of 15% of the class remain unknown.

Like wildflower seeds on the wind, the class of 2014 has dispersed to the far reaches of the globe in search of work and opportunity.

According to a survey conducted by the Center for Life Beyond Reed (CLBR) six months after graduation, of those who responded that finding a job was their primary destination, 76% had found full-time or part-time employment, 10% were in grad school, and 4% were doing service work such as AmeriCorps.

Their activities span everything from monitoring human rights in Mexico, to working in the district attorney’s office in Portland, to promoting sustainable textiles in Tibet. More than 30 are doing research of one kind or another and about two dozen are teaching or tutoring.

Physics major Prakher Bajpai ’14 is now employed as a first-year analyst in the risk department at Pacific Alternative Asset Management Company (PAAMCO) in Irvine, California, and is tickled to have landed a rewarding first job.

Prakher’s job is no coincidence. An international student from Nepal, he was hell-bent on going to graduate school in physics. But in his sophomore year he began to question whether he might be more suited to a career in finance or engineering. A career counselor at CLBR encouraged him to reach out to alumni.

One of the people he reached out to was Reed trustee Jane Buchan, CEO and managing director of PAAMCO, which specializes in constructing diversified portfolios of hedge funds for large institutional investors.

“Jane was instrumental in turning me towards finance,” Prakher says. “At the time I was trying to decide between being a physics major or an econ major. I really liked physics and she said that if I enjoyed it, to keep on doing it. She mentioned a few books I could read on finance and economics, which I did. That actually sold me on the field.”

During his junior year, Prakher was one of eight students who traveled to New York City on a Financial Services Fellowship arranged and sponsored by Buchan. Students met with financial journalists, sales and trading analysts, hedge fund managers, and other industry professionals.

“It was so beneficial,” he says. “We had not realized how big the field of finance was.”

CLBR gathers information from a variety of sources, including surveys of graduates, social media, and professors. Information—known as a “knowledge rate”—was collected on 85% of the class of ’14.

Reed’s knowledge rate compares well to the average of 66.5% for the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) for graduates with a bachelor’s degree. That data is based on 85 bachelor’s degrees institutions and 64,624 students. Nationally, 66.5% are employed or pursuing a postgraduate internship or fellowship, 16.8% are continuing their education, and 18.7% are still seeking a situation.

Prakher believes that connecting with alumni in the Reed Alumni Career Network helps graduates to position themselves in the best light with potential employers. “It all sounds so professional and formal, but it doesn’t have to be,” he says. “Networking is as simple as meeting up with someone and getting to know what they do on a day-to-day basis, and how they got to where they are. It can be a very casual conversation.”

Whether they start their careers as snowboarding instructors, radio reporters, or motorcycle salespeople, we look forward to watching them take root—and blossom.