Aug

31

SEAS Alum Tells It Like It Is

Written by

arr matey
arr matey

If only that key existed

No matter what your experience has been with CCE, we’re sure that at least once in your illustrious career here, you’ve complained about it.  Shudipto Rahman, SEAS’13, found Columbia’s Center for Career Education much less than helpful.  When they sent him a follow-up email this summer, asking to fill out a Graduating Student Survey, Shu sent a helluva response back, begging CCE to work harder with current undergrads:

Hi Laura,

I understand that you like to keep tabs on your students in their careers after graduation, but considering how unhelpful I found CCE to be in finding positions relating to my actual field of study (ie. not Finance, Consulting, or CompSci) I really would appreciate if you stopped sending me emails.

Focus on your current undergrads instead. There are so many Civil Engineering firms and municipal departments in the City that need engineers that Columbia students have no idea about. For example, the NYC Department of Environmental Protection had about 8 full-time entry level positions in the Spring that were open to Civil/Environmental Engineers and I didn’t know until the application date for the the Civil Service examination (necessary to pass in order to be considered as an applicant) had already passed. This is despite having a Professor who works directly for the DEP.

Don’t worry about my situation. I found out the hard way about the limitations of our Career Services Center and I’ve learned from the job search process how to hustle on my own. But a new crop of naive and inexperienced students just showed up at your door and it would be a true failing of such a well-endowed, well-respected, and well-connected school to allow more students to stumble into my shoes.

Sincerely,

Shudipto Rahman
Columbia University ’13
Civil Engineering

From CCE:

Hello!

In our Graduating Student Survey you let us know that you had begun to apply for jobs, but were still waiting to secure full time employment. I am writing to follow-up and see if you are still searching or if you have found an opportunity. Please let us know where you are in your search and if there is anything we can do to support you – remember, our services are available to you at any stage of your career!

If, since originally completing the survey, you have accepted an employment opportunity, we would very much appreciate if you would update your response to the Graduating Student Survey with this information.  Just sign into the survey using your UNI and update any fields that may have changed.

First draft of the response via Shutterstock

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25 Comments

  1. Well...

    Maybe the DEP should have posted to LionShare? Perhaps the fault lies with those in charge of recruiting/HR.

  2. jasper

    i think the DEP could have posted to lionshare (assuming they didn't), and the Civ E department here probably should have had someone looking out for these opportunities and relaying them to students (art history department does a good job of finding and emailing job/internship postings to students), but it doesn't change the fact that if you aren't looking to work in finance, consulting, or tech, CCE is fairly useless.

    • yup

      To be fair, 80% of Columbia students want jobs that pay well, which means tech, finance, and consulting. The CCE can't hunt down every single available employer in the world and ask them to post on Lionshare. I agree that the CivE department should be more useful in this case, since they presumably have some connections already.

      • jasper

        oh certainly, and cce is utilitarian in that respect. but for the 20% of us (and actually, i'd swing the estimates a bit more evenly than 80/20, maybe 70/30 or even closer) who would take mediocre/low paying jobs that are directly related to our fields of study, there isn't the same level of accessibility. whenever i got a cce email i would skim through it and look for anything that wasn't finance/consulting/tech; i ended up just archiving most of them anyway b/c they weren't that relevant to my occupational interests or goals

        i think it'd be helpful if cce worked more closely with the different major departments, maybe had a liaison for different major clusters who would hunt for jobs/companies related to different fields. For instance, someone from cce would have "art history, dance, film, music, etc" as part of his/her cluster and would keep tabs on major galleries/museums/businesses/performance venues/etc. that were hiring; maybe have a few contacts in the industry as well. Then every 2 weeks or so, they would relay that to the departments. The departments could give the liaison a basic idea of how the industry works in their field; maybe where they worked before teaching, or how the job market is, or if a disproportionately high percent of students in that department are more likely to go to grad school that work in the field immediately.

        btw for all i know, cce and the academic departments could already do all of this; i have no idea, just throwing some ideas out there in case they haven't been considered before.

  3. Dog  

    Bark bark bark! Woof woof!

  4. Battina

    Shu, you are da man. You make battina proud.

  5. Anonymous

    Good work shupeedo!

  6. Unemployed CC '13

    preach, brotha

  7. CC '14  

    True story: once I replied to one of Niamh's email blasts asking to be taken off the list. And she said, "I'm sorry, Dave, I can't do that."

    Ok not really with the 2001 quote, but she did actually refuse to take me off the list.

  8. Jae, if u r reading dis

    please fix [email protected].... please.... where else can i be edgy........

    • Anonymous  

      twitter

      or freshmen's dry erase boards

    • broken_symlink

      [email protected] has been down too ;_;

    • Anonymous

      Was [email protected] attacked by the Syrian Electronic Army or something?

  9. Anonymous

    Probably they prefer alumni in finance/ consulting positions. Not actively shilling, just Adam Smith's invisible hand at work. Gotta get those alumni $$$...

  10. starbucks barista

    ... or you could have just majored in art history and sociology. I found a job lickety-split.

  11. Anonymous

    Connect with and stay in touch with alums

  12. Jaded EAEE 2013

    "relating to my actual field of study (ie. not Finance, Consulting, or CompSci)"

    Fucking TRUTH man. That is the only thing that CCE cares about and because there is a significant population of Columbians in these fields, it means that a "good number of students" are happy. But what about everyone else? Networking can only get you so far -- without good career services for engineers, it's a tough road ahead for all of us. FUCK YOU CCE.

  13. ken

    CCE was pretty useless when I asked for help applying for federal government jobs. For instance, the CCE people I met seemed to be completely unaware that federal government employers expect a completely different type of resume that will usually be several pages long. I ended up getting a fed job, but through my own research.

    CCE tends to give one-size fits all advice that just won't cut it in this economy. For instance, they don't seem to stress the importance of targeting your resume towards the job for which you're applying.

    In the end, CCE gives some useful and basic advice, but if you're serious about getting a job, you need to look for additional sources of help

  14. do your research  

    NYC DEP has been at multiple career fairs and recruit on campus every year.

  15. Will.I.Am  

    OMG where are all teh steve jobz??

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