Thursday, October 20, 2011

Advice for Recent Grads

Life as a recent grad isn’t as easy as it used to be—although NYU offers world-class support to our alumni, we realize that, in this harsh economic climate, finding your first post-graduate position is easier said than done. In fact, according to job placement firm Adecco in CNNMoney, “[this year] about 60% of recent graduates have not been able to find a full-time job in their chosen profession.”

We recognize the difficulty our recent grads may be experiencing in the job market— despite all of their remarkable accomplishments while earning their degree at NYU. So we decided to publish a blog-post addressing the issue. Last week, you might have noticed our Facebook posts and Twitter tweets asking to speak with you about your post-grad experiences searching for a job. Well, we spoke to several individuals, and we would like to take this opportunity to highlight the stories and advice of three exceptional graduates who chose the road less traveled and took different approaches to the job search. Over the next few days, we will be posting a three-part blog entry that will offer advice and encouragement to our recent alums:

Part I: Entrepreneurship
Part II: Beyond the USA
Part III: Finding Employment as an Expatriate

Part I: Entrepreneurship

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Alexander Pogrebinsky is a 28 year-old 2011 graduate of the Russian and Slavic Studies Masters program at the Graduate School of Arts and Science. He is COO at Pogrebinsky Group Inc., whose first venture (a high-end restaurant in Long Island City) will be opening in mid-November.

While studying at NYU, Pogrebinsky was thankful to be part of an atmosphere that encourages critical thinking—an academic environment that he states, “resulted in disciplined and highly competitive graduates.” While it is true that NYU graduates are certainly distinguished among grads of many other American universities, the job market can still prove to be an unforgiving and frustrating place. And with a little guts, some connections and a good attitude, you might want to consider spending your downtime planning a new venture.

At graduation, Mr. Progrebinsky felt proud of his fellow graduates and his University, and he was inspired by President Bill Clinton’s commencement speech. But upon graduating, his mind was already made up—he had chosen to go in his own direction: “Long before my graduation, I was thinking about which way I will go. I considered several options, both in the private sector and in government… I came to the conclusion that at this point, regardless of how risky it is to start your own business, it was more of a risk not to start my business.”

Networking: for anyone interested in becoming an entrepreneur, networking is critical. Of course, networking is also imperative throughout any typical job searching process, but the strategy for generating useful contacts can be quite different for an entrepreneur. Maintenance of strong relationships will help you to strengthen your new business and provides more opportunities for collaboration. Progrebinsky reflects on this process: “Creating your own business involves much more research, time and critical and analytical thinking. You are often networking with a broad spectrum of professionals for a variety of very different reasons—which you may not need to do while looking for your first job. [When you network] you look at your business as a child that needs to grow, be protected and be successful.”

Lastly, we asked Mr. Progrebinsky what single piece of advice he would give to a recent NYU graduate who is struggling to find work or start her or his own business in this harsh economic climate. He replied, “Keep an open mind and be open to all business opportunities, not always necessarily in your specific field. There are many unknown and unexpected paths to our professional goals, we cannot expect that each path will be the same for everybody. The main thing I would say is be open, persistent, and do not be afraid to take calculated risks. We don’t always know which path will lead us to our success.”

Progrebinsky Group Inc’s first venture will be “BEAR,” a high-end restaurant and bar in the developing neighborhood of Long Island City. Be sure to check it out when it opens next month, in mid-November 2011. But in the meantime, visit their website:

BEAR | 12-14 31st Avenue | Long Island City, NY 11106 | phone:917-396-4939


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