So you've graduated. Now what?

Gareth Evans with graduates

It could be said that choosing the right program of tertiary study is the most important decision in your career. It can certainly give you the knowledge, skills and personal development to set you well on your way in life. It can also give you the kudos of a degree from an internationally renowned institution. But what you decide to do with those benefits is also critical. Over the following pages we talk to some of our graduating class of 2013 who shed some light on their decisions, both before and after their university education. By Stephen Green

In a recent global survey by French consulting group, RH Emerging, ANU ranked number 20 in the world and well ahead of its Australian counterparts for the ‘employability’ of its students. Employability covers a plethora of factors, and will undoubtedly vary widely across different sectors and within different organisations. However, there does seem to be a consensus about the key ingredients.
The overall academic reputation of a university certainly cuts ice with most employers, many of them alive to it at a global level.
Generic skills such as the ability to communicate well, to work in a team, to handle pressure and to adapt to new challenges also continue to be key considerations. Therefore, Universities that give students the best environment to develop personally, as well as discipline-specific learning, will be preparing a better candidate for the workplace.
Whilst many companies also yearn for an ideal graduate capable of translating their theoretical knowledge into the real world, the number one consideration for a large proportion of employers is 'personality'. Difficult as this slippery concept may be to quantify, employers recognise the kinds of personality likely to succeed, and will certainly take note of where their successful employees have been educated and look there again in the future.
Understanding the needs of business, indeed understanding how business works, is essential to providing companies with good young graduates. At the same time, it is providing students with their best preparation for, and head start in to their future careers. This is no more important than across the specific business disciplines in which the ANU College of Business and Economics specialises.
So what do we know about our graduates?
The Annual Australian Graduate Survey (AGS) is a national census which captures information about the employment status of newly qualified graduates. With an average response rate amongst Australian graduates of between 60 and 65 per cent, it provides a very useful picture of the employment landscape for graduates and can help to define what ‘employability’ really means.
The 2012 survey reveals a variety of results that attest to the range of employment options available to our graduates and their success in securing employment quickly. Of the Australian undergraduate students from the College 82 per cent were in full-time employment within four months of completing their degrees.
It is difficult to compare these figures with the national average because of the variation in different institutions’ offerings. However, for the individual disciplines reported (accounting, business studies and economics) the College is firmly above the national average. For economics the picture is particularly rosy, with 95 per cent of graduates in full-time employment within four months, against a national average of just under 77 per cent.
So where are all our graduates actually going?
The survey reveals an extensive list of different employers, and different roles which speaks volumes for the breadth of opportunity. Unsurprisingly, a large proportion of graduates move into either professional and technical services (which would include accounting firms and consultancies amongst other things), or into the public service (federal and state government departments are well represented). Significant numbers also find work in financial organisations, including major banks, insurance companies and other auxiliary services. Interestingly, a substantial number of graduates find employment in tertiary education.
Another serious option for graduates is further study. 27 per cent of the students from the College who completed the 2012 survey reported that they were engaged in either full or part-time education.
But enough of the statistics. Over the following pages, some of our December graduands tell their stories and explain why ANU was the right decision for them, and how ANU helped them to decide what next.

The Global Employability Survey is available at: emerging.fr/rank_en.html
The full 2012 Graduate Destination Report for the ANU College of Business and Economics can be viewed at:
unistats.anu.edu.au/surveys/gds/GDS-CBE-2012.pdf

Updated:   5 June 2014 / Responsible Officer:  CBE Communications and Outreach / Page Contact:  College Web Team