President Struppa poses next to a Chapman alumnus who is a Target corporate employee.
Austin Gray '19 turned an internship with Target into a position in human resources after his graduation. The retailer is among the top employers of Chapman alumni, as President Daniele Struppa noted in February during his State of the University address.

Chapman Redoubles Commitment to Career Development

The employment landscape is in flux. But that only enhances the critical link between Chapman and the employers who repeatedly find value in hiring the university’s alumni.

As an undergrad, Austin Gray ’19 was recruited for an internship at Target. Now, a year after graduation, he works as a human resource manager for the same company.

He, along with recruiters, alumni leaders and executives representing businesses from across the state, were welcomed to Chapman University with vigorous applause during the 2020 State of the University address in February. Now, given the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, the employment landscape is in flux. But that only enhances the critical link between Chapman and the employers who repeatedly find value in hiring the university’s alumni.

“The hiring process and how we connect are rapidly evolving,” says Jo Etta Bandy, vice president of career and professional development at Chapman. “For each of us, and for each organization, those changes look different. We continue to seek opportunities to connect Chapman talent to companies and professionals who are ready to step up and Think Chapman First in this time of need.”

Top employers, including Apple, CHOC Children’s, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, Ingram Micro, KPMG, Microsoft and Nordstrom, continue to lead the way and have already welcomed to their teams members of the Class of 2020. Others actively recruiting Chapman talent are ListReports, Northrop Grumman, Kaiser Permanente, the County of Orange, City of Hope, Bank of America, Los Angeles and Santa Ana Unified School Districts, Target and Amazon.

Not every employer is in a position to hire, but companies with hiring freezes and furloughed professionals have continued to Think Chapman First by conducting mock and informational interviews, participating in alumni career panels and serving as subject matter experts during virtual career workshops. Recently a team of Chapman alumni led a Disney Alumni Career Panel. It was a timely learning, networking and professional development opportunity for the 100+ students and alumni who tuned in to learn about the company’s culture and the professional journeys of Disney-Chapman alumni.

“For Chapman students aiming to gain experiential knowledge via internships, alumni facing layoffs or furlough, and especially for the Class of 2020 entering the workforce, the stakes have never been higher,” Bandy said. “In March, our team pivoted to focus on connecting Chapman students and alumni with remote and COVID-19-friendly jobs and internships. We also rapidly transformed events into virtual experiences, provided alternative internship learning activities and sought to enhance resources to meet new needs. This summer, we’re on track to provide more career programming than any summer before.

“We make a promise to be every Panther’s ‘Career Connection for Life’ – and that includes times of job market uncertainty and global crisis.”

To ensure that graduates get all the assistance they need to find a job, the Office of Career and Professional Development is planning to call each Class of 2020 graduate. The goal is to connect these new alumni with their school-specific career advisor. In addition, Chapman is committed to building industry partnerships that are mutually beneficial, by engaging in programs that encourage job training and targeted education, so that students are better prepared to take on the kinds of jobs partners need filled, Bandy said.

Jessica Bergin, a corporate recruiter for Monster Beverage Company in Corona, has appreciated the opportunity to develop great talent among Chapman students and alumni.

“They speak for themselves,” Bergin says. “They present themselves well. They ask great questions. Overall, Chapman students are prepared for the workforce, they’re driven and innovative, and they’re collaborative. That’s what we’re looking for at Monster.”

If you’d like to Think Chapman First by hiring a Chapman graduate, visit the Office of Career and Professional Development.