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McPherson College Reports 95 Percent Placement for Class of 2020

In a year that stretched health care resources to their limits, McPherson College graduate Stefan Krsmanovic gained valuable job experience on the front lines as an intern with the McPherson County Health Department during his senior year. It is what eventually helped him secure a position with the Sedgwick County Health Department after graduation.

Krsmanovic is just one of many success stories from the McPherson College graduating class of 2020, according to Amy Beckman, executive director of career services. Since commencement in May, 95 percent of the class has secured employment or further education. Additionally, of those graduates with jobs or graduate school placements, 82 percent had at least one internship while at McPherson College.

“Despite an uncertain job market because of the pandemic, our students remained successful in securing their first job,” Beckman said. “Our placement numbers are very similar to previous years, which I think is remarkable considering all of the challenges this class faced. I think their success illustrates the value of a liberal arts education that produces graduates who can adapt to the job market.”

While many colleges report placement rates similar to McPherson College, President Michael Schneider says the college’s placement numbers are a true reflection of its graduates.

“We can account for nearly every graduate when we track our outcomes,” he said. “Most colleges can account for only 10 to 20 percent of any graduating class. When we report 95 percent of a class has secured employment or further education, we are talking about the entire class not just a portion of the class. When you add our strong placement rate to our efforts at reducing student debt through The Student Debt Project, McPherson College graduates are getting a head start at a successful future.”

The Student Debt Project, now in its second full year with nearly 200 students participating, combines financial literacy, mentorship, and matching funds to show students how they can reduce their college debt before graduation.

Kylee Martin, another 2020 graduate, was in the pilot group of the Student Debt Project. Although she was not able to participate in the project for her entire time at the college, by paying on her college account while in school, she has been able to graduate with a reduced amount of student debt allowing her to focus on starting a career as a marketing coordinator for Motion Products, Inc. in Neenah, Wisconsin.

“Participating in the Student Debt Project at McPherson College allowed me to focus on gaining real-life experience through internships and secure a full-time job before I graduated,” Martin said. “Knowing that I have paid a significant portion of my college debt has given me confidence in my financial situation. This wouldn’t have been possible for me without the Student Debt Project. The program gave me the opportunity to pay off as much debt as possible while in college and taught me financial knowledge that I will use throughout my entire life.”

Like Martin, many McPherson College students were able to secure employment or graduate school placements prior to their commencement. According to Beckman, half of the recent graduating class had outcomes prior to commencement.

“I am very proud of our students for accomplishing so much during this pandemic,” Beckman said. “Our graduates entered a variety of different job markets across the United States this year, and they were able to successfully find jobs or further their education. It is a significant feat in our current environment.”

McPherson College Announces New Director for Career Services

Amy BeckmanMcPherson College announces Amy Beckman will lead the Office of Career and Experiential Learning as its new executive director. Beckman brings a great deal of local experience to her role, which focuses on ensuring McPherson College graduates are placed in their field while broadening the level of student engagement across campus.

“McPherson College’s career placement and graduate school acceptance rates are some of the highest in the country,” President Michael Schneider said. “We continue elevating the scope and visibility of our career service efforts, giving our students opportunities to explore, experience, and engage in career development.”

Results from the college’s focus on career development are encouraging; 98 percent of McPherson College graduates are employed in their field within six months after graduating, and two-thirds of its graduates report having a job before graduation. The Career Services Office integrates a model for student engagement that encourages students to explore options in their field through research and conversations with industry professionals; experience the actual work through practicums, clinicals, and job shadowing; and engage in internships, projects, and jobs.

“There is a great energy around the career service efforts here,” Beckman said. “Everybody on campus, from faculty and staff to the students, are engaging and curious how to get involved in learning about becoming part of the working community. There is also great support from our community reaching out to the college about how we can partner and offer job opportunities and learning experiences for our students.”

Last year, the college added an online resource tool for student job search that connects students with job opportunities on campus, locally, and across the country. The online tool currently lists more than 400 jobs and has 400 more pending approval.

“It is significant that we have that kind of interest in hiring our students,” Beckman said.

Beckman explained there are many ways local employers can partner with the college, including giving company tours, offering mentorships, job shadowing, or internships. She encourages local employers to contact her at [email protected].

Prior to her new role at McPherson College, Beckman worked for 12 years at CHS Refinery in McPherson where she recruited and hired for various positions along with coordinating the internship program and assisting with performance management. For the past two years, she has been working in human resource management.

Two MC Students Selected for Equity Bank Management Program

Taylor Ellison

Taylor Ellison

Last year, two-thirds of McPherson College graduates had jobs waiting for them before they graduated. This year’s graduating class is already starting to receive job offers including two students who will join the management training program at Equity Bank.

Taylor Ellison of Tulsa, Oklahoma and Jesse Freeman of Castle Rock, Colorado will graduate on Sunday, May 19 at McPherson College and will begin work with Equity Bank in June. Both are students in the business program at the college. They were selected by faculty to interview with the bank in March. Both were contacted for a second round of interviews that include Equity Bank CEO Brad Elliott, a 1989 graduate of McPherson College. The two students will join several other alumni who work for Equity Bank and who are on its leadership team.

Ellison will graduate with degree in business administration with emphasis in finance and marketing. He was an executive member in the business club and played basketball for the Bulldogs for four years serving as senior captain. He also was a 2019 KCAC champion of character recipient. Freeman will also graduate with a degree in business administration with emphasis in accounting and finance. He was a member of the cross country and track teams and was a national qualifier in both in 2018.

Jesse Freeman

Jesse Freeman

Equity Bank is headquartered in Wichita and has branches throughout Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, and Oklahoma.

“McPherson College’s career placement rates are some of the highest in the country and we continue to elevate the scope and visibility of our career services efforts,” President Michael Schneider said. “So it is very exciting for us to have a strong partner like Equity Bank who can offer experiential and as well career opportunities for our students.”

McPherson College graduates are employed before graduation at a rate that is three times higher than the national average and six months out 98 percent of all graduates are employed.

McPherson College Student Selected For National Convention Internship

MC Student Cali Godwin

Cali Godwin selected as one of only six students who will serve as interns and multimedia journalists for the Broadcast Education Association’s (BEA) Annual Conference.

McPherson College student Cali Godwin has been selected as one of only six students who will serve as interns and multimedia journalists for the Broadcast Education Association’s (BEA) Annual Conference. More than 50 students from across the country, from both undergraduate and graduate programs, applied for the six internships positions. Godwin, of Wichita, is a communications major with an English minor.

“This is a very big deal,” said Julia Largent, assistant professor of communications at McPherson College. “Cali’s application competed against students from much larger universities. Some of the other interns are from schools like Washington State University and the University of Alabama.”

According to BEA, Godwin was selected based on her well-rounded skill sets, innovative ideas, and letter of recommendation. BEA is the premier conference for broadcast education and partners with the National Association of Broadcasters each April for its event in Las Vegas. Along with assisting with on-site conference logistics, Godwin will also be producing daily news stories about the conference for various web and digital platforms.

McPherson College Welcomes New Executive Director of Career and Experiential Learning

Kevin Mokhtarian, executive director Office of Career and Experiential LearningMcPherson College announces Kevin Mokhtarian will lead the Office of Career and Experiential Learning as executive director. The new position will focus on ensuring McPherson College graduates are placed in their field while broadening the level of student engagement across campus.

“McPherson College’s career placement and graduate school acceptance rates are some of the highest in the country,” President Michael Schneider said. “By elevating the scope and visibility of our career service efforts, our students will have even greater opportunities to explore, experience, and engage in career development.”

Among the McPherson College 2018 graduates, two-thirds reported having a job or graduate school placement before crossing the stage at commencement, which is three times the national average. Additionally, 100 percent of those who applied were accepted to graduate school programs.

Since 2017, McPherson College has been integrating a new way to council students on their career journey. The “Enterprising MC Student” model applies a process where students explore options in their field through research and conversations with industry professionals; experience the actual work through practicums, clinicals, and job shadowing; and engage in internships, projects, and jobs. In addition, areas like service learning, global travel, and entrepreneurship are being included to expand the scope of career development on campus.

“We want to engage more students in career preparation—from those who know specifically what they want to do after they graduate to those who have no idea,” said Schneider.

The new model is not a linear checklist of what you should accomplish given your classification, rather it is a cycle of discernment that refines a student’s career path. Student’s at McPherson College will spend their academic career cycling through the different elements of the model until they have a clear direction.

“It’s a privilege to help guide students as they explore their career interests and to offer resources that will assist them in achieving their objectives,” Mokhtarian said. “Obviously the college years are critical to personal and professional development. I believe we can expand the employer engagement opportunities and create even more options for career choices.”

Mokhtarian comes to McPherson College with excellent experience in career services as associate director of the career center at Kansas State University, and associate director for institutional effectiveness at MidAmerica Nazarene College where he led the career services department. In addition, he has 23 years of industry experience. His new role at McPherson College will begin on September 13.

McPherson College Graduates Find Jobs With Industry Leaders

A key question for most students and families when looking for a college is: Are graduates finding jobs? At McPherson College, the answer to that question is definitely, yes.

Tim Kortebein Mercedes Benz

Tim Kortebein ’18, was hired by Mercedes Benz after completing an internship there as a junior.

Not only are McPherson College students finding jobs, but they are finding jobs with leaders in industry. Tim Kortebein, a 2018 graduate, is working for Mercedes Benz, where he is part of the team that actively restores projects to preserve and maintain the integrity of the brand and offers support to dealers, individuals, and clubs around the world. He was hired as the company’s first regular full-time upholstery technician after completing an internship there as a junior.

“I was never too worried about finding job after graduation,” Kortebein said. “By the time I had decided to transfer to McPherson College, I had confidence that I would be able to find a position doing what I loved.”

Kortebein said that the school’s reputation and knowing that its graduates were working in their field helped him make his decision to leave the engineering program he was enrolled in at the University of Michigan.

“The liberal arts aspect of my education makes a big difference too,” he said. “Having the skills in writing and communicating opens other possibilities for me. It shows my boss that I am well-rounded and capable of more.”

Prior to commencement, the McPherson College career services office surveyed the class of 2018 and found some remarkable results. In the automotive restoration program, 96 percent of the students had jobs in their field before receiving a diploma. Additionally, two-thirds of the entire graduating class reported that they had jobs or graduate school placement before graduating.

“What is impressive is these numbers are not six months out after graduation. These are real jobs before graduation.” Michael Schneider, McPherson College president said. “When our students are securing jobs or graduate school placements at a rate three times better than the national average, that is proof McPherson College is a sound investment.”

Students are taking notice of McPherson College’s reputation for finding a job or entering graduate school. Parkes Wolters of Osborne, Kansas was recruited to McPherson College to play basketball, but decided to come because of the reputation the college’s natural science department had in getting students accepted into medical school programs.

Parkes Wolters in science lab

Biochemistry major Parkes Wolters ’19 has been accepted into KU School of Medicine.

“I’m more academically focused than athletically focused,” he said. “I picked McPherson College because of the strong science faculty here and because of the strong natural sciences program.”

Wolters, who will begin his senior year in the fall as a biochemistry major, was among an elite group of college students accepted into the Scholars in Rural Health program at the University of Kansas at the end of his sophomore year. Acceptance in the program assures him admission to the KU School of Medicine.

Others like incoming freshman Chloe Jones, who graduated from McPherson High School, are also recognizing that McPherson College graduates are getting ahead in the work force and looking at the college’s strong programs like communications. Jones plans to major in communications and will play in the band.

“I looked at other schools, but liked McPherson College,” Jones said. “I knew that I would be able to find a job in the major I was choosing.”

McPherson College Recognized by Money Magazine

MONEY Magazine Best Colleges 2017-2018McPherson College has been ranked among the “Best Colleges for Your Money” by Money Magazine. The college was the top-ranked small college in Kansas on the 2017 list and recognized by Money Magazine for its initiative that “helps liberal arts majors learn entrepreneurial skills that will help them post-graduation.”

Money Magazine evaluated nearly 2,500 colleges to come up with its list of 711 colleges that were ranked based on three categories:

  • Quality of education, which included factors such as graduation rates, and instructor quality;
  • Affordability, which included factors such as net prices, average student debt, loan repayment, and affordability for low-income students; and
  • Outcomes, which included factors such as graduate earnings, and job meaning that evaluates whether a student’s work makes a difference in the world.

“This is great news for the college and for our community to be recognized nationally,” President Michael Schneider said. “The ranking also supports one of the areas we will focus on this year as part of our strategic plan to help students reduce college debt.”

McPherson College recently implemented a new strategic plan called Community by Design. It is a new approach to planning that puts the entire campus community at the heart of the process taking aim at some of higher education’s largest challenges. One of the initiatives the plan will take on in 2017 is a debt-reduction pilot project to guarantee students leave McPherson College with half the national average of debt. The pilot project will focus on employment, mentorship, and financial planning to help students reduce the amount of college debt at graduation.

According to Money Magazine, “College is now the second-largest financial expenditure for many families, exceeded only by the purchase of a home. So it isn’t surprising that parents and students are taking a hard look at the costs and payoffs of any college they consider.”

“Our Community by Design plan has given us momentum to ensure our continued place as one of America’s great small colleges,” President Schneider said. “This ranking and other recent recognitions validate the work being done by our faculty and staff to ensure a quality education and excellent student experience.”

McPherson College was recognized again this year by the Chronicle of Higher Education on its “2017 Great Colleges to For.” It’s the second year in a row the college has been included on the list’s honor roll, an elite group of colleges that are outstanding within their enrollment size, and the third year overall that the college has been named to the list. Additionally, the college was one of only five institutions that earned top honors in 11 or more of the report’s 12 categories.

McPherson College, McPherson Museum Partner for Internship Opportunity

Building on decades of partnership and cooperation, the McPherson Museum and Arts Foundation and McPherson College have announced a new internship program designed to provide students the opportunity to real work experience in a variety of degree paths while helping the museum continue in its mission of preserving the history of McPherson.

McPherson College understands the value of combining classroom learn with real world application and prides itself on helping students to find opportunities and avenues for career exploration and professional development.

Michael Schneider, McPherson College president, said it was a great partnership.

“We value our relationship with the McPherson Museum,” he said. “The diverse experiences that they can provide our students will support our career-oriented focus.”

Anna Ruxlow, McPherson Museum and Arts Foundation director, said that the Museum and McPherson College have a long history together – more than a century long. McPherson College created the museum in Sharp Hall in the late 1890s, with a few fossils and artifacts housed in old Sharp Hall. The McPherson Museum is now caretaker for more than 10,000 McPherson College artifacts.

The new internship opportunities created in partnership with the McPherson Museum will allow students to apply academic principles while acquiring new skills sets and experiences that are invaluable to success following graduation.

Ruxlow said the museum will benefit from the program as well, as students can help the staff continue in its mission of sharing the history of McPherson.

“An internship program between the McPherson Museum and McPherson College will continue to foster the long-standing relationship,” Ruxlow said, “And provide educational opportunities for students beyond the classroom setting while they assist the museum with the research, restoration and exhibition of these wonderful pieces of McPherson College history.”

Internship opportunities will vary in responsibility and duration, but may include labeling and categorizing the museum’s archives, planning and running special events, leading tours, creating signs and graphics for exhibits and assisting the director with financial statements or tracking fundraising campaigns. Students selected for the program will be eligible to earn academic credit for their work and can apply for multiple positions during their time at McPherson College.

With the creation of the internship program, McPherson College not only continues its support of the McPherson Museum but also its dedication to career readiness and unique learning opportunities for students in all degree areas and professional paths.

McPherson College Graduate Career Placement Rate Achieves 98 Percent

Nearly all McPherson College graduates – 98 percent, to be exact – secure a full-time job within six months of receiving their degree.

Katie Sawyer, director of career services, said the high career placement numbers speaks to the value of liberal arts education and MC’s commitment to career opportunities and experiences.

“McPherson College prides itself on providing an education that prepares students for post-graduation success,” she said. “We are excited by these numbers and the success it represents for our recent graduates.”

According to the college’s recent survey of its 2015 graduating class, about three of every five 2015 graduates – 59 percent – had employment lined up even before graduation last May. For the six independent Kansas colleges who track career placement, the average was at 38.7 percent employment before graduation for the 2014-2015 academic year.

Sawyer said that 59 percent career placement rate before graduation – as well as the 98 percent career placement rate within six months of graduation – represent at least six-year highs for McPherson College. The placement rate within six months has been above 90 percent every year since the 2012 graduating class.

For 2013-2014 – the most recent survey available of five Kansas independent colleges – the average employment rate for 12 months after graduation was 83.9 percent. McPherson College’s six-month placement rate was 91 percent for the same graduating class.

Nationally, the employment rate in 2014 for adults 20-24 with a bachelor’s degree or higher was just 75 percent, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Proactively encouraging students to start their job search early was key in reaching 98 percent career placement at McPherson College, Sawyer said, as well as working hard to secure quality internships for MC students.

“The goal of our institution is not only to provide you a well-rounded education, but also ready you for a lifelong vocation,” Sawyer said. “We are preparing students for a career and for life after college.”

The college’s career services office works one-on-one with students to find opportunities for their specific needs and career goals. Starting their freshman year, career services encourages students to take advantage of opportunities to build their resumes. These may include shadowing a physician for medical school applications or working part-time with a local small business.

The college also encourages students at all levels to take advantage of internships and field experiences for professional development. In 2014-15, more than a quarter of all students completed at least one internship or field experience and 78 percent of those who graduated had completed at least one professional development opportunity.

Sawyer said these are experiences employers are looking for in recent graduates.

“Internships are a great way for our students to build skills, apply classroom learning and discover new employment opportunities,” she said. “We believe our emphasis on internships is part of what makes our students stand out and succeed in finding employment opportunities.”

In addition to the outstanding career placement figures, all of the MC students who applied to graduate schools in the class of 2015 were accepted, further demonstrating McPherson College’s commitment and success in helping students to reach their professional goals.

Sawyer works with students on developing their soft skills – such as creative thinking and problem solving – and ensuring that their résumé is complete. She said this has helped McPherson College graduates be competitive for jobs based on the merits of their abilities, even against colleges and universities that rely on name prestige.

“We’ve become mindful of that and tried to prepare students for that,” Sawyer said. “We sit down with every student and help them plan their career path.”