Recent MU graduates find career success despite pandemic

Results of annual career outcomes survey show Mizzou grads are highly sought after.

March 15, 2021
Contact: Austin Fitzgerald, 573-882-6217, fitzgeraldac@missouri.edu

Today, the University of Missouri announced the results of its annual career outcomes survey, which showed that a record-breaking 93.5 percent of recent Mizzou graduates found successful career outcomes 6 months after spring graduation. Finding employment in industries as diverse as healthcare, finance, education, journalism, engineering and everything in between, Mizzou graduates have found success in a year that has posed challenges to the job market due to the effects of COVID-19.

The survey, conducted in partnership with the National Association of College Employers, included data on nearly 79% of graduates, a rate that compares favorably to other SEC and AAU public universities.

“This news is another example of the incredible skill and tenacity of our students and teachers, and it’s further proof that Mizzou graduates are prized in the job market,” said Mun Choi, president of the University of Missouri. “Employers know that a Mizzou education prepares our students for the workforce, whatever their chosen fields may be.”

New graduates reported working for 106 Fortune 500 companies nationwide and were dispersed across all 50 states and 56 countries. In addition, the top employers of recent Mizzou graduates included local, national and multinational companies.

“Mizzou students can take advantage of a wide range of opportunities for career preparation, whether through their schools and colleges or through the MU Career Center,” said Jim Spain, vice provost for undergraduate studies at Mizzou. “Mizzou provides an amazing array of enriching educational experiences that our students use to add value to their degree programs. Our faculty, staff and alumni have national and even global connections, creating a powerful network of opportunities for our students. The results of this survey are a powerful testament to the value of these resources.”

This is a picture of Nicole Cummings.

Nicole Cummings (left) with her mentor, Mary Beth Mars, in New York during the Tigers on Wall Street trip. Taken pre-COVID.

One of the many graduates to find a great job after finishing their degree, Nicole Cummings graduated in December 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Through Tigers on Wall Street, a program that sends standout students in the Trulaske College of Business to New York to visit Wall Street firms, Cummings made connections with her future employer: Blackstone, a prominent investment firm.

Cummings credits the Cornell Leadership Program (CLP), which helps high-performing business students develop leadership and business skills through opportunities like Tigers on Wall Street, with her early career success.

“Tigers on Wall Street was a one-of-a-kind experience that really set me up for my future successes and the career that I have today,” Cummings says. “CLP really allows you to make unique connections and get exposed to things you might not even think of as opportunities. It was a program that set me apart and contributed to my wonderful Mizzou experience. To be one of the first graduates to work at Blackstone from Mizzou — not only have I achieved my goals and more, but I’m so lucky to be where I am today.”

You can read more about Nicole’s story here.

Another recent graduate, Elizabeth Kimsey, had her dream job lined up before she graduated in December 2019. Kimsey, who received a bachelor’s degree from the Sinclair School of Nursing, now works as a nurse at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, where she has been tending to children diagnosed with COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic.

This is a picture of Elizabeth Kimsey.

Elizabeth Kimsey (left) with dean Sarah Thompson of the Sinclair School of Nursing (center) and instructor of nursing Sharon Platt. Taken pre-COVID.

“It’s been a wild ride but a great learning opportunity,” Kimsey said. “Some of my Mizzou classmates are also working here in different units. I think that’s a testament to the value that a top hospital like Mercy sees in Mizzou grads.”

Kimsey knew she wanted to be nurse early on — she had looked up to her grandmother, a former nurse, since childhood — but at Mizzou, her interest blossomed into a passion. Throughout her time at the university, she spent her summers working at a camp for pediatric cancer patients. She also spent two weeks in Ghana as part of the nursing school’s public health service project program, where she helped carry out health screenings, vaccinations and checkups, among other projects aimed at keeping communities healthy.

“We worked in one village where we created a clean water source and developed an elementary school education program,” Kimsey said. “It was a fantastic and enlightening experience. With programs like that, I feel like Mizzou’s nursing school puts an emphasis on preparing its students to go out into the world and do great things.”

Like Kimsey, Lily Grant had clinched a job before graduation. Grant graduated last spring with a degree in agricultural education, and having grown up in Columbia, she sought a job that was not too far from home. She now works as a high school agriculture teacher at Miller County R-III in Tuscumbia, Missouri.

This is a picture of Lily Grant.

Lily Grant during her first week as an ag teacher in Tuscumbia. Taken pre-COVID.

Grant’s Mizzou journey started before she enrolled. She attended the Mizzou Teach Ag Academy between her junior and senior years of high school, where she realized there was a perfect match between her desire to teach and her passion for agriculture — the latter fostered by growing up on a farm.

“I got to meet the staff and some of the students, and I really liked the program,” Grant said. “It opened my eyes to what it would be like to be in ag education, and that was when I decided to teach ag.”

Grant said the teaching position in rural Miller County is exactly what she had been looking for, with its small class sizes and practical animal science curriculum aligning perfectly with the values and knowledge she acquired from her upbringing in a farming family and at Mizzou. She credits her time at the university with helping her determine where her skills and interests would be best applied.

“I love animal science, and I really enjoyed going out in the field and dealing with livestock in my animal science classes,” Grant said. “There were times when I thought about switching my major to animal science. But the flexibility of the ag education program allowed me to keep taking those classes while getting an education degree. Now that I am a teacher, I can share the knowledge I gained from animal science with my students.”

More than 344,000 alumni currently live around the world, with more than half that number residing in the state of Missouri. For more information about the results of the career outcomes survey, click here.

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