If you ask students, faculty, staff, and employers, It's no surprise that WPI ranked at the top in all three career categories of the Princeton Review’s The Best 382 Colleges, 2018 Edition.
“It is the first time, as far as we know, that has happened. WPI is the only school that ranked in all three categories this year,” says Steve Koppi, executive director of WPI’s Career Development Center. "Some ranked in one or two, but all three is a differentiator.”
The CDC hit the trifecta, ranking as follows: No. 5 for best career services and No. 15 for best career placement out of the top 20 schools that ranked; and No. 25 out of 25 for best schools for internships. Some 382 schools were included in the survey.
The rankings are considered a mark of distinction for WPI, setting it apart from other great schools, highlighting the impact of curriculum, the attention of faculty and staff, a healthy career culture on campus, and WPI’s individualized approach to working with students.
“We’re connecting students with the resources that best speak to their needs,” Koppi explains. “It is very customized. We work with all students, and most of our students endorse our services and the experience they’re gaining through WPI and the CDC. Every student benefits from excellent career coaching.”
He says the high marks given by WPI students on the survey have a lot to do with the individual career coaching the CDC does with each student.
“We are a well-utilized resource on campus,” he explains. “Eighty percent of all undergraduates interact with the CDC every year. We have a high rate of student engagement, and with many graduate students as well.”
The CDC works with students from orientation through graduation and beyond, he says, helping students discover what majors and careers are right for them, and tailoring workshops for them. The CDC works with a wide range of companies, from startups to fast-growing companies like iBoss and Hubspot to Fortune 500 giants like ExxonMobil, United Technologies, and General Electric.
"Often, what we’re doing is consulting and advising companies how best to recruit WPI talent. All the companies are competing with each other to hire our students. We don’t do placement,” he points out. “We’re helping create a genuine marketplace where students and employers find each other. It is not us making that match.”
"We’re connecting students with the resources that best speak to their needs. We work with all students, and most of our students endorse our services and the experience they’re gaining through WPI and the CDC." -Steve Koppi
Muhammad Ali Shah, a WPI mechanical engineering major and peer advisor at the CDC, says the CDC has helped make him more confident about his abilities to transition his knowledge from the classroom to a professional workplace.
With services like resume critiquing and conducting mock interviews, the CDC provides a platform for students to better present themselves to potential employers, Shah says. “One of the biggest takeaways from CDC events is the ton of networking opportunities in the form of career fairs and informational panels, which allow students to meet professionals working in their field of study, and get a preview on their career path,” he says. “I was personally able to get help, even with deciding my major, early on at WPI by participating in the discovering majors and careers class and networking with alumni and seniors who had experience in my major.”
The CDC was also “extremely helpful” with his internship search over the summer, Shah says, guiding him toward utilizing Handshake—WPI’s job portal—and honing strategies that he could use to efficiently search and apply for internships.
- By Paula Owen