2013 Student Advisory Report: Alumni and Faculty Weigh In

Communication Skills Rank Highest Among Employers

School of Business and Information Technology Employer Survey

School of Business and Information Technology Alumni Weigh in on What it Takes to Succeed in the Second Kaplan University “If I Were You” Student Advisory Report

The second in an ongoing series of “If I Were You” Student Advisory Reports has been released. The report leveraged the collective expertise of a diverse group of alumni to identify the traits to help students get ahead, industries that offer the greatest opportunity, and personal advice to inspire and guide graduates’ careers. In June, the College announced the first “If I Were You” report results based on a faculty survey.

Polled Kaplan University business and information technology (IT) alumni value the higher education they received. Sixty four percent of respondents expect to be in a higher position or have their own business within 5 years. This was just one of many discoveries made through the Kaplan University School of Business and Information Technology’s “If I Were You” Student Advisory Report. The report uncovers many of the challenges business and information technology graduates face to compete and succeed in today’s demanding job market. 

Kaplan University School of Business and Information Technology graduates, from an alumni database of approximately 10,000 members, participated in the survey that contributed to the report.

Our Expert Sources

Who are the Kaplan University alumni who contributed to the report?

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  • They come from all over the country, representing 37 different states
  • 64 percent expect to be in a higher position or have their own business in 5 years
  • The average age of the respondents is 46 years old
  • 63 percent of respondents participated in Kaplan University’s business degree programs, while 37 percent of respondents participated in Kaplan University’s IT degree programs

Who are the 227 Kaplan University faculty who contributed to the report?

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  • 93 percent have more than 6 years of educator experience
  • An average of 25 years of professional experience 
  • A range of business and IT backgrounds are represented, including accounting, finance, management, real estate, risk management, marketing, wealth management, human resources, information security, mobile computing and application development, information systems management, Web development, network administration, and database management

What You Need to Know

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The advisory report offers insight and information on a range of career planning and advancement issues. Specifically, the report provides detailed review of:

          • Industries with the greatest opportunity and growth potential such as information security and forensics and accounting
          • Skills that could help students get ahead in their careers 
          • Qualities that employers are seeking, like critical thinking and strong written communication

The report also includes a collection of personal advice to inspire and guide graduates through the transition from student to employee.

Featured Faculty Quotes—Words to the Wise

Below you will find Kaplan University’s business and information technology faculty “Words to the Wise”—advice for all students considering a business or IT career from the inaugural “If I Were You” Student Advisory Report in June.

“Be prepared to work hard, constantly network, and continue your learning process.” Jerry Kreuze

“Communications is critical in business and becoming a good listener and communicator is essential.” Magery Mayer

“Develop a strong work ethic, make lasting impressions and constantly seek to develop new skills/strengths.” Michelle Reinhardt

“Develop an integrated life where education, experience, and reflection come together to fine-tune a sense of optimism toward future opportunities both obvious and subtle.” Desiree Depriest

“Do not rest on your laurels—you have to keep educating yourself and adding skills to your portfolio.” Robert Howell

“Gain a strong understanding of top management issues; arrange informational meeting with key leaders; take on tough projects; learn to use available resources.” Ray Kalinski

“If you are seeking to move outside your area of expertise, be willing to accept an entry level position to get your foot in the door.” Jack Deem

“Immerse yourself in the profession through local and national organizations as this helps you to be up to date and creates networking opportunities.” Rebecca Herman

“Technology becomes obsolete quite rapidly; good communication skills remain with you throughout your working life.” Lynn Williams

“Keep your chin up and never give up. Patience, persistence, and perseverance will serve you well.” Carol Locker

“Learn to network and maintain professional relationships with everyone you meet—that becomes a strength and a value that you can take with you anywhere you go.” Suzanne Ness

“Learn to work with people and treat them with respect, regardless of their IT knowledge level.” Stephen Chandler

“Network through professional organizations; continue to constantly improve your technical skills, education, and training; function as a valuable team member’ and love the career you have chosen (or find a new one!).” Elaine King

“Nothing beats knowledge—don't focus on the grades, focus on understanding what you're taught so you can take it into the workplace with you.” Elizabeth Maddrey

“Participate . . . fully engage your career, volunteer at your company for everything . . . be visible, be polished, communicate OFTEN and effectively.” Jerry Taylor

“Present yourself as a professional with a positive attitude and work ethic.” Peg Terrell

“Read and learn everything you can about your industry and professional field of study.” Kerry Dobson

“Remain flexible—always challenge yourself to achieve more by demonstrating a willingness to adapt.” Stanley Self

“Stay motivated to excel and develop good decision-making techniques and problem-solving methods.” Ernest Norris

“Take the initiative and work hard. Employers recognize the employees who do more than their usual job responsibilities.” Vaness Paskaitis

“Understand how the technology supports business objectives and how to make all technology recommendations tie back to the executive level strategies and objectives.” Susan Ferebee

“Work on your transferable skills. Skills that you can use in any specialty such as oral and written communication, organization, critical thinking, networking, time management, confidence, office productivity software, presentation, attention to detail, etc. These skills can be used in all business arenas.” Carolyn Edwards

“Be willing to learn new things within the workplace. Work as a team player.” Lovie Kabongo

“Your reputation can follow you throughout your career. Your relationships can last the life of your career and beyond.” Katherine Parparian

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