How Students from Small Colleges Land Big Corporate Jobs

How Students from Small Colleges Land Big Corporate Jobs

Michigan Colleges Alliance by Michigan Colleges Alliance

As the vice president of human resources for Ford Motor Credit Company, Gale Halsey has the capacity to launch a search for employees and interns anywhere.

Halsey, however, makes a point of staying close to home after experiencing the success she’s had with the Concierge Career Connection program created by the Michigan Colleges Alliance (MCA), a 14-member group of the top private colleges and universities in the state.

The program pulls together students from MCA schools and places them in front of some of the best corporate recruiters in the nation. The alliance launched the career connection in 2010, and it has since expanded to more than 30 companies and a wide array of professional opportunities.

“It’s truly one-stop shopping,” said Halsey. “We’re getting qualified candidates, and there’s power in having trust in the students we’re going to interview. MCA has built a relationship, and we know we will be talking to the best of the best.”

While it may seem that Ford and other large employers would stick to bigger universities for dedicated recruiting events, Michigan Colleges Alliance President Dr. Robert Bartlett points out that collectively the partnership of schools is the third-largest group of students in the state. This is another example of how MCA schools work together to provide education and career opportunities for students.

“The diversity of talent in our colleges and universities is second-to-none, and companies covet the students that we have because they are getting young professionals who are ready to achieve,” Bartlett said. “The concierge program is unique. There’s nothing like it in the country. Every campus is involved and connected, so if you’re a student attending one of our schools, you’ve got your school behind you and MCA helping to advance your career.

“You will get a great education, and you’ll be ahead of the game in terms of opportunity and connections to leading employers in Michigan and beyond.”

Beyond Ford, examples of corporate recruiters who have worked with the MCA as part of the career concierge program include:

  • Amway
  • Delta Dental
  • Enterprise
  • Fiat Chrysler
  • General Motors
  • Gordon Food Service
  • La-Z-Boy
  • McKinsey & Company
  • Meijer
  • Perrigo
  • Spectrum Health
  • Stryker
  • Willis Towers Watson
  • Whirlpool Corporation

The alliance is able to match students’ credentials to positions that are open and coordinate pre-arranged on-site interviews and career fairs. The MCA has a personalized recruiting process that often is hard to navigate at massive universities.

Mark Alafita, Ford’s human resources business opportunities manager, said his team performs an annual evaluation of college campuses from which the company draws interns and employees. The team looks at demographics, business school rankings and other data that predicts where they’re likely to find successful candidates.

“With MCA, I can get a wide range of backgrounds in terms of people and what they have studied,” he said. “I don’t need everybody with the same teaching and mindset. We want different ideas to help us generate our success.

“MCA really hit a sweet spot for us.”

Alafita said Ford Credit strives to find candidates who see Michigan as a career destination.

“We want people who want to be where our core business is,” he said.

Halsey, meanwhile, said executives at Ford Motor Credit Company have taken notice of MCA.

“They’ve made me look good,” she said. “We’ve had great success with these candidates. They’ve been prepared for positions through their schools and the alliance.”

The smaller, private school environments allow students to engage with their instructors and emerge as thought-leaders, Bartlett said. Students have greater access to faculty members and mentoring.

“Independent colleges and universities are a place where students can truly flourish on their own terms,” Bartlett said. “They’re not just a body in a large lecture hall. They are part of student-centered learning environments. They grow as individuals in the classroom and beyond. That’s meaningful when you’re ready to take the next step in your professional life.”

Learn more about Michigan’s top 14 independent colleges by visiting the Michigan Colleges Alliance website.

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