Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Medill on mediabistro

mediabistro.com's forums have hosted a couple of fairly interesting discussions in the past few weeks regarding j-school (Medill in particular), life after j-school, and is it even worth it? Here's a forum topic entitled "Life After Medill?", and some excerpts:
I graduated from Medill about five years ago, and at that time, quite a few people did get full-time jobs. Of course, the economy was much better then. Some people went on to work at trade magazines, a few got EA positions at glossy consumer mags, and others took reporting jobs at community newspapers or small dailies. I think it is unrealistic to expect a job at a big daily, though. Going to j-school can sometimes help you start a little bit above the bottom rung of the ladder, but not much.

Also, the school has lots of job contacts in the Chicago area and the Midwest, but not so many in other parts of the country. I wanted to return to California and I ultimately found a job there, but I did all the legwork myself--the career counseling office didn't help at all. Still, I had a great experience at Medill, mainly because I went into it expecting to learn about the industry, not necessarily expecting to use it as a launching pad to a fabulous career.
That 99 percent placement line is -- unfortunately -- nothing more than a marketing tool. Yes, I'm sure close to all Medill of Master's grads have some kind of a job (journalism related or not) about six months after they graduate, but after graduating last summer, I'm quite sure that is more representative of the hard work and intelligence of Medill grads, NOT the placement office. After I told the woman in charge of the office multiple times that I was interested in working at a glossy consumer magazine (I had worked at two in NYC before going to Medill), she suggested I interview with a trade magazine dedicated to the meat industry. No, thanks.
It took me three mos. to find a job (pretty standard for my classmates), and I did it all on my own.
That being said, I loved my time at Medill and learned a ton. It made me a much better journalist, and that did help me get a job. But there certainly wasn't a line of people trying to hire me when I was done with school.
Heartening, no?

Another post on Medill admissions, and Medill vs. other grad schools, was posted here a few weeks ago.