College grads, take heart: You’re entering best job market in years

Dallas Morning News

Originally Posted: May 24, 2016

On a recent Tuesday afternoon, the denizens of Southern Methodist University’s campus seemed to move at a leisurely pace.

A few cyclists clicked along the pathways and the stately brick buildings, with their bright white colonnades, were quiet. Commencement had taken place a few days earlier.

But for Regina James, the busy season was getting into full swing.

“There are still students who are in transition. They’re either waiting to hear back about offers — there’s a little anxiousness there — or they’re students that maybe just didn’t get around to the search, so they’re starting to reach out and say, ‘I don’t have anything yet,’” she said. “Those students, we’ll be helping throughout the summer.”

James is the associate director for employer relations at SMU’s Hegi career center.

Experts say newly-minted college graduates in the Dallas area are entering one of the best job markets they’ve seen. But James said that’s no excuse to slack off in the hunt.

“We encourage students to have multiple internships for a number of reasons,” she said. “You’ve got to think about it as, not only are you competing against your peers here, you’re competing against peers from other institutions in the area, you’re competing against institutions nationally [whose students] may desire to live in the Dallas area.”

According to a report by the firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas, 1.8 million Americans with four-year degrees are expected to enter the workforce this year, where they’ll be greeted by the best job market for college graduates in several years.

The report cites the fact that the nation has seen almost 70 months of job gains, meaning that 14 million workers have been added to payrolls across the country. Meanwhile, Baby Boomers are retiring.

A National Association of Colleges and Employers survey found that companies are slated to hire 5.2 percent more new graduates than a year ago.

And, the report says, 59 metro areas have unemployment rates below 4.0 percent.

All of those factors add up to a demand for workers who are ready to start their careers.

In Dallas-Fort Worth — one of those metro areas with a low unemployment rate — there’s extra momentum, said Bud Weinstein, an economist and associate director of the Maguire Energy Institute at SMU’s Cox School of Business.

The region’s economy is more diverse than it’s ever been. And more companies are relocating or expanding in North Texas — in part because they’re attracted by the area’s talent pool.

“Dallas-Fort Worth probably has the strongest job market in the nation among large metropolitan areas — maybe not in absolute numbers, but certainly in percentage terms,” Weinstein said. “I think the job market has never looked better, particularly for college graduates.”

Michael Carroll, director of UNT’s Economics Research Group, added that although energy and manufacturing jobs across the state are hurting, “we’re fairly insulated from that” in North Texas.

A flood of migration into the state, Carroll said, has also helped keep wages at a manageable level and competition for workers from scaring off new jobs.

“I think it’s a real positive with all the companies moving in,” he said.

Higher education institutions around the region say they’re bullish on the possibilities for their graduates — whether they’re armed with a bachelor’s degree or trade certification.

“I cannot even tell you — we’re tripping over jobs,” said Dawn Gomez, career services coordinator at the Dallas County Community College District’s Northlake College in Irving.

The hard part, she said, is connecting students with the right employer in an age when job hunters have countless online resources.

“Soft skills, communication, critical thinking, teamwork — employers want those that can pull it all together in a composed, succinct package,” Gomez said.

For Morgan Slottje, who graduated from SMU in December, settling on a career path wasn’t easy.

As an undergraduate, she said with a chuckle, she changed majors “at least 10 times.”

Throughout college, she also test drove various jobs through internships: She worked on Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, she worked in marketing.

When the time came to focus on the job search, Slottje, 23, applied to “hundreds” of jobs she said sounded interesting, from advertising to financial analysis. She considered getting a master’s degree in statistics.

In the end, Slottje said she went to a Deloitte presentation and felt a strong sense that its values aligned with hers: An emphasis on continuing to learn and grow.

“I picked a company where their values really align with mine,” she said. “That’s important with the job search — I want a career. I want to love what I’m doing.”

And although Slottje said she was open to moving to another city, she preferred to stay in Dallas, close to her parents and where living costs are more manageable than in New York, where she went to school for 2 and a half years before switching to SMU.

“I’d rather be in a city like Dallas when I’m starting a career,” she said. “I’m versed in tech, but when I was interviewing [with a company in the] Bay Area, I was thinking, ‘No matter what I’m getting paid, I’m going to be so poor.’”

She’ll be starting a job here, in business technology consulting at Deloitte in July.

Reggie Davis, a 21-year-old University of North Texas logistics student, won’t graduate until next year.

He said he’s optimistic about his job prospects, particularly in logistics. In D-FW, information technology and other “knowledge” jobs that require college degrees are in high demand, particularly given the breadth of the region’s transportation industry.

His father, too, works in logistics, meaning he’s had exposure to the jobs for years.

Nevertheless, Davis said he’s not cruising to graduation day.

For one thing, UNT’s logistics program requires that students intern before they graduate, so he’ll be working at Schneider Logistics this summer.

Davis is also participating in the school’s professional leadership program, which aims to prep students for business leadership with access to mentors and professional development opportunities.

He said that although he’s been around supply chain and logistics work — it’s what his dad does, too — he sees the internship as both a way to get an edge and to test out which specific type of job he might like best.

“If I end up doing well in the internship and enjoying it, I would be glad to consider a full-time position or transition to being a full-time employee,” he said. “But I don’t want to put all my eggs in one basket.” READ MORE

Seven Dedman College students awarded prestigious national fellowships and awards for the 2015-16 academic year

SMU News

Originally Posted: May 17, 2016

Congratulations to the Dedman College students recently awarded prestigious national fellowships and awards for the 2015-16 academic year, including Fulbright Grants and a fellowship to the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress.

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Hena Rafiq, graduated May 14 with degrees in human rights and political science and has earned a Fulbright Award to teach English in Kosovo. READ MORE

scholar-nate-whiteSenior Nate White has received a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Award to teach next year in Spain. He is graduating this spring with a Bachelor’s degree in economics, as well as a minor in Spanish, from Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. He also is earning a Bachelor’s degree in education from Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development.

scholar-joseph-DiPaneJunior Joseph Di Pane, a biological sciences and history major, was named a 2016-17 Barry Goldwater Scholar, one of 252 sophomores and junior college students selected nationwide to receive the honor. READ MORE

Junior Patricia Nance, a chemistry and mathematics major, was awarded the 2016-17 Barry Goldwaterscholar-patricia-nance Scholarship. Nance plans to earn a Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry and pursue a university teaching and research career. READ MORE

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Senior Nicole Michelle Hartman, a recipient of The National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP), will graduate with majors in physics and mathematics from Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, and a minor in electrical engineering from the Lyle School of Engineering. READ MORE

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Margaret Sala, doctoral student in clinical psychology, has been awarded a three-year Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation. READ MORE

scholar-ryan-crossSophomore Ryan Cross has been named a Presidential Fellow to the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress in Washington, D.C. Cross is majoring in political science and international studies with minors in Spanish and history. He is a member of the Tower Scholars program, and has been selected for an internship at the Library of Congress as part of the Junior Fellows Summer Internship Program. READ MORE

For a full list of SMU students who received prestigious national fellowships and awards for the 2015-16 academic year, CLICK HERE.

Celebrating Dedman College Faculty Books

  • View a slideshow of the event photos here.
  • For more information on Dedman College faculty books, click here.

Graduating entrepreneur ready to take Biolum mobile asthma management device to next level

SMU News

Originally Posted: May 12, 2016

DALLAS (SMU) – Edward Allegra started his SMU journey as a biology major, thinking he wanted to become a physician. But during his sophomore year, when he began attending meetings of the SMU Entrepreneurship Club, everything changed.

Edward Allegra won the first annual Global Student Entrepreneur Award.
Medical school is no longer in the picture, but Allegra will be graduating from SMU May 14 with degrees in biology and economics, already hard at work marketing a mobile health device for asthma diagnosis and management he developed with a team of SMU students. The imaging system can signal the presence and severity of an asthma attack by detecting and quantifying the disease biomarkers in exhaled breath. The BioLum Sciences (Allegra’s company) app allows users to test their symptoms, monitor daily progress, and understand the cause of their asthma. READ MORE

SMU Students Propose Innovation Community For Ex-Fraternity House

Innovate

Originally Posted: May 4, 2016

COMMUNITY WOULD FOCUS ON SPURRING IDEAS

Ingenuity is not limited to the hours of 9 to 5.

Providing a space where students can live and cultivate new ideas at any time of day is the driving force behind a pilot project being proposed by a group of students at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

The living and learning community, dubbed Innovation House or iHouse, would welcome students across all academic disciplines and offer a platform to foster new products and businesses.

“The idea is we want to get people that have this raw passion or have a raw desire, and they’re driven enough to create projects and create their own designs,” said Momin Irfan, a freshman finance, computer science, and mathematics major at SMU. READ MORE

May Commencement Weekend

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Congratulations to all the Dedman College graduates. Looking for the latest schedule of events? Read More 

SMU’s May 14 Commencement celebrates academic achievement

SMU News

Originally Posted: May 3, 2016

SMU will celebrate the academic accomplishments of more than 2,500 students at its 101st annual Commencement ceremony at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 14, in Moody Coliseum.

Guests are urged to arrive early as seating in the coliseum is limited to four guests per student. Additional seating will be available for a simulcast of the event at Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports, Crum Auditorium and McFarlin Auditorium. The ceremony also will be broadcast outside Moody Coliseum on Bolin Plaza, and there will be a live webcast of the ceremony at http://www.smu.edu/live.

READ MORE

The Department of Economics will host conference April 29 and 30 in honor of Professor Shlomo Weber

 

Shlomo Weber, Dedman Economics Faculty
Shlomo Weber, Dedman Economics Faculty

The Department of Economics will host a conference in honor of Professor Shlomo Weber to recognize his contributions to economics research and to the lives of the many collaborators and colleagues he has worked with throughout his academic career. The one and a half day conference will begin at 1:30pm on Friday, April 29th and concluding at 5pm on Saturday, April 30th.

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During the conference, the 2007 Nobel Laureate, Eric Stark Maskin from Harvard University will speak about “Elections and Strategic Voting: Condorcet and Borda.” Professor Maskin is an American economist recognized with Leonid Hurwicz and Roger Myerson “for having laid the foundations of mechanism design theory.” Maskin’s lecture will be on Saturday, April 30 from 10:30-11:30 in Dedman Life Sciences Building, room 131.

In addition to Professor Maskin, the following is the list of distinguished invited speakers for the conference:

  • Michael Alexeev (Indiana University)
  • Alberto Bisin (New York University)
  • Rajat Deb (Southern Methodist University)
  • Klaus Desmet (Southern Methodist University)
  • Paul Dower (Florida International University)
  • Joan Esteban (Institut d’Analisi Economica (CSIC) and Barcelona GSE)
  • Piero Gottardi (University of Venice and European University Institute)
  • Hideo Konishi (Boston College), Eric Maskin (Harvard University)
  • Michel Le Breton (Toulouse School of Economics)
  • Juan D. Moreno-Ternero (Universidad Pablo de Olavide)
  • Ignacio Ortuno-Ortin (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)
  • Hans Wiesmeth (Technische Universität Dresden)
  • Eyal Winter (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

Detailed information about this conference can be found on http://faculty.smu.edu/bochen/Conference.htm.