CONGRATULATIONS CLASS OF 2021 ECONOMICS MAJORS!  ENJOY YOUR DIGITAL CEREMONY!

Letter to ECO Alumni

LETTER TO ECO ALUMNI

Dear ECO Alumni and Friends,
 
I hope 2021 is off to a good start for you and your loved ones. I am writing today from UVA’s Economics Career Office (ECO)*. We are grateful for your past gifts of time and talent you’ve shared with our majors. I’d like to catch you up on what we have been doing to serve our majors during this challenging employment market due to Covid-19. At this link, you will find a video from our awesome student leadership, and here is a link to a survey so you may update your employment/contact information. Please know that we are continuing to offer guidance, support, and opportunities to our majors through partnerships with our alumni, parents, friends of the department, and employers. 
 
It’s no surprise that 2020 was a difficult year for so many of us. As you know, students were faced with much uncertainty when internships and externships were canceled, job start-dates were pushed-back, occasionally jobs were revoked, and students graduated into an evolving, and in most cases, shrinking job market. The ECO has been here to make the path easier for our students and we want to share what we’ve been doing.

 
SPRING SEMESTER, 2020

We started the 2020 year with our annual Economics Undergraduate Career Forum, which brings to Grounds professional alumni, who are leaders in their field, to discuss their career paths with our students, provide career advice, and present career development workshops. Twelve alumni guests visited Grounds in February. Our guests’ backgrounds included management consulting, public policy, major philanthropic foundations, top tier investment banks, and experts in macroeconomics. In fact, our keynote spoke about current US-China relations just before news of the pandemic hit the media. 
 
As UVA classes transitioned to virtual programming, so did the ECO, thanks to our UVA Career Center partners and the College. We continued our scheduled programming without a hitch and our Event Coordinator Josephine Chao and I worked creatively to supplement our programming in response to the pandemic. As in past recessions, we knew that graduate school would offer an alternative for those students whose jobs may have been rescinded. We held panels with grad school admissions counselors and alumni who had graduated during past recessions.

 
SUMMER, 2020

The summer was devoted to connecting students, alumni, and recent graduates through networking panels and programs, and individual advising.
When dozens of students’ internships were canceled in April and May, many of our alumni offered alternative opportunities such as micro-internships, research projects, short-term consulting work, career guidance, and other support for our majors. This type of participation has continued even through this winter break as friends of the department are hosting students virtually to work on projects from conservation and venture capital research to building social media campaigns. If projects like these sound appealing and viable for you, please let the ECO know by filling out our survey here. We will contact you to follow up.

 

FALL SEMESTER, 2020

This past fall we organized several events with alumni and upper-level majors to serve as coaches to prepare students for the internship and job search. We reframed our advising conversations to be even more intentional about long-term planning, self-assessment, and networking. We hosted alumni and employers whose organizations are currently hiring and seeing growth in their labor markets. We designed surveys to create a feedback loop assessing students’ progress in their internship and job searches. We partnered with Professor Marc Santugini’s Econ 3010 class to bring career planning opportunities to lower-level students and increased our weekly individual advising slots to accommodate demand. We are currently reviewing our 2020 First Destination Survey to better understand the outcomes of our Class of 2020.
 

NOW FOR THE NUMBERS! IN 2020 THE ECO:

1.    Introduced our majors to more than 75 alumni, the majority of whom have participated in programs and career panels.
2.    Held our first-ever Virtual Think Tank Trek with public policy institutes such as Brookings Institution, CATO Institute, and Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, engaging more than 175 students and partnering with the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy.
3.    Held More than 250 individual student advising appointments. 
4.    Presented our annual Economic and Litigation Consulting Night completely virtually with top-tier consulting firms moderated by Professor Ken Elzinga.
5.    Partnered with Deloitte Consulting to present professional development workshops. 
6.    Established a partnership with the UVA Economics Alumni and Friends group on LinkedIn to connect our majors to professional alumni interested in guiding and mentoring majors.
7.    Served overall more than 350 majors and more than 1200 UVA students.

 
While there is much work ahead of us, we have faced many of the challenges of the pandemic with creativity and determination. We’ve stayed on top of where the jobs are, connecting with alumni and recruiters in relevant fields, and are pushing out this information to our majors. 
Our work is possible in great part to the support from, and partnership with our alumni, employers, parents, faculty, and colleagues in other career offices on the Grounds. We are grateful to our Economics community. 
Thank you for taking the time to read this message. As promised, here is a link to our survey, where you can update your contact information and tell us what you’re up to. And now…our dedicated and enthusiastic student staff and volunteers have a few words to share with you through their video message
 
Best regards for the coming year and wishes of good health and safety to you and your loved ones. Please do stay in touch.

Jennifer Jones
Director, Economics Career Office


*WHAT IS THE ECONOMICS CAREER OFFICE?  
The Economics Career Office (ECO) was created in 2013 so graduates of one of the country’s top Economics departments could receive specialized career guidance as they apply their major toward today’s careers. The College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences graduates more than 400 Economics majors each year, and thanks to the generosity of 55 alumni, who understood the need for the ECO program, students have availed themselves of yearlong opportunities to build their networks and professional acumen.

AN INVALUABLE SERVICE 
The ECO provides fine-tuned individualized career guidance and coaching to Economics majors, while offering the whole department seminars and group events that showcase potential career paths. In addition, the ECO maintains a database and ongoing dialogue with former majors to pass on information, job leads, and other career-related opportunities such as micro-internships. Even in an ever-evolving job market, the ECO’s mission remains the same - to help majors optimize the opportunity to secure work and continuing education to match their skills, interests, and values. 

A UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY 
The Economics major at UVA is one of the largest majors and serves as many students as the McIntire School of Commerce. As a career office in an academic department, the ECO benefits from proximity to and integration with teaching and research faculty. Partnerships arise from this proximity, which include classroom to career programs, faculty moderating career panels, and faculty hosting alumni and employer visitors as part of ECO programming. Economics majors are referred by faculty to the ECO and by the ECO to faculty for resources and advising. Through this unique model, students recognize the department’s commitment to their next steps and applying their degree to the world of work.

For our 2019-2020 Impact Report, please write directly to Jennifer Jones at jlh7b@virginia.edu.