College of Business - Real Life. Real Business.

Real Life. Real Business

March 2009

Chuck WilliamsDear Alumni and Friends,

Yes, it's early spring in central Indiana. As I look out my home office window, our yellow daffodils are blooming, the smaller shrubs have tiny green leaves which you can see if you look closely (it still counts!), and we're on our way to five more days of temperatures in the low- to mid-60s. With nine days left to go in March, we can be thankful for the warm weather and the abundance of green and spring colors that we're soon to enjoy. Unfortunately, with headlines like, College Graduates Facing Toughest Job Market in Memory, and employers expecting to hire 22% fewer graduates than last year, the job outlook for this year's college graduates feels more like fall headed into winter.
With unemployment near 8 percent nationally and in Indiana, we're certainly not immune from these pressures. We know, however, that our graduates head into today's challenging job market with advantages that other college students only wish they had, such as two required internships for credit, one in the junior year and one as a senior. Because of those required internships, which our undergraduates have been completing for nearly 25 years, our students are much more likely to get a job, especially in the Indianapolis area. Indeed, while one-half of our undergraduate students come from outside Indiana, over 70 percent of our business alumni live in the greater Indianapolis. That's directly attributable to the job opportunities afforded by those internships.

Over the last five years, however, we've extended the foundation provided by the two required internships into a four-year, structured, career development program for undergraduates. In this month's letter, I'll be providing an overview of the program, which has a new name, as well as the outstanding results it has achieved for our graduates.

Despite the challenging job market, it's still an excellent time to be graduating from Butler's College of Business. 

The L. Ben Lytle Professional and Career Development Program

If you haven't already heard the news, I am pleased to tell you that our undergraduate career development program was recently named The L. Ben Lytle Professional and Career Development Program. Hugh Lytle '96 MBA graduate and operating executive with Genstar Capital, named the program through a generous gift to the College in honor of his father, Ben Lytle. 

Ben Lytle is Chairman Emeritus of Wellpoint, Inc. (formerly known as Anthem, Inc.), where he was Chairman and CEO. Mr. Lytle currently serves as the Chairman and CEO of AXIA Health Management, LLC, a provider of prevention and wellness services. We are honored to have Ben Lytle's name on this hallmark program within the college.

What makes this gift unique, however, is that Ben Lytle will visit campus twice a year to contribute directly to the personal and professional development of our students. One of those two visits is for the L. Ben Lytle Junior Forum, where Ben will offer advice to our juniors who are about to enter the professional world for their first internships. The inaugural Lytle Junior Forum was held two weeks ago and Ben shared his career experience with our students and offered personal career and life advice.

It was a unique learning experience for our students, and an incredible opportunity to learn from such a recognized and highly regarded business executive. I want to extend my personal thanks to both Ben and Hugh Lytle for their generosity and time. As a result, our students enter the real world better prepared. 

Highlights of the four-year Career Development Program

I'd like to highlight some of the key aspects of the career development program for you. The program is broken down into four years, with each year providing a different career building block for business students.

In the freshman year, students learn about themselves by taking the Myers-Briggs Type Inventory and DISC Profile, and participating in community service and campus activities. In the sophomore year, students focus on career exploration by participating in networking workshops and job shadows. In the junior year, the focus is on job search skills and includes internships. Unlike most business schools, Butler requires business students to complete two internships prior to graduation. In the senior year, students build on their junior-year work experience to finalize their job searches.

Career mentors guide students through the entire process. In addition to an academic advisor, each freshman is assigned a career mentor from our Executive-in-Residence program. These business executives formerly worked at companies such as Cummins, General Motors and IBM. As students move through the career development process, their career mentors help them clarify their business interests, pick a major, and then follow them into their internships to gather feedback from students' bosses and co-workers.

The two internships are a formal part of the curriculum for academic credit, with students' grades determined by employer evaluations and the students' reports on their projects. We have a full-time staff that helps students find job opportunities; however, students must apply, seek interviews and otherwise pursue the internship on their own. We have a remarkable network of internship companies that expands every year. For example, we are one of the top three colleges from which Johnson & Johnson recruits interns for its Financial Development Leadership Program.

Internships give students an advantage over the competition when it comes to looking for full-time employment upon graduation. As I indicated earlier, many internships lead to full-time employment - and they help our students graduate with more ink on their resume. Imagine going to an interview as a college student and discussing two prior internship experiences, being a business owner (through the Real Business Experience class as a sophomore), and the variety of real world projects that you worked on for local companies in a variety of courses. Now that's a competitive advantage! As you can see, we work hard to prepare our students for a successful career in business.

Outstanding Results from Our Career Development Program

Our undergraduate job placement numbers demonstrate that success. For 2007 business graduates, the placement rate six months after graduation was 97 percent. For accounting majors, it was 100 percent! Preliminary results for 2008 (we're still awaiting results for December graduates) reflect the slowdown in the economy, but are still very high at 94 percent. The average starting salary for graduates, however, rose from $41,290 in 2007 to near $45,000 in 2008. 

Getting Involved with Internships and Job Placement

While our career development program gives students tremendous advantages in today's always changing, competitive job market, you can also make a difference by contacting the College of Business to learn how to hire student interns or to set up recruiting visits and interviews for permanent positions.

If you would like to know more about the benefits of hiring a Butler student for an internship or full-time employment - or would like to get involved through mentoring, job shadowing or mock interviews - please email me. I look forward to hearing from you! 

Chuck Williams, Dean
College of Business

P.S. If you're interested in finding ways to get involved with the College of Business, please download the document, How to Partner and Get Involved, and review the 20 options available to individuals and their organizations. Specific contact information is available for each option.