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Parade of classes. Oldest Alumni was a 101 yr. old man here for his 80th reunion from class of 1925. Credit: Komal Soin

Every year, thousands of Penn students leave campus after graduating to pursue careers across the globe — but many never leave.

Along with Goldman Sachs and Teach For America, Penn has consistently ranked among the top employers of its own students for the past several years, according to employment data from career survey reports. Director of Career Services Patricia Rose said that this is not surprising, as working for Penn after graduation is a very attractive option.

"Jobs at Penn have excellent benefits. These involve tuition for taking up to two classes every semester, health and dental benefits, vacation, etc.," she said. "A lot of these students also have their close friends and connections here on campus. They might also have an apartment, and if they want to take a few years to prepare for graduate schools, Penn is a good place to start."

Rose mentioned that typical full-time positions at Penn can be found in research centers and laboratories, the Office of Investment, the Office of Admissions and the Athletic Department, among others. More than half of all the positions, however, fall under the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which includes the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the Penn Presbyterian Medical Center.

Pushkar Sohoni received his master's degree from the School of Design in 2002 and a doctorate in the History of Art from the School of Arts and Sciences in 2010. He is now working as the South Asian librarian in the Penn Libraries system and a lecturer in the South Asian Studies Department. 

Sohoni said he enjoys working in a familiar place. The Penn Libraries system, he said, has a great collection of South Asian artifacts and manuscripts that he loves to study through his work. He added that there are always new questions and challenges with the work he does.

"The University is much bigger than what is exposed to you as a student. You might unfold more and more interesting stuff as you go on to work for it," he said.

2010 College graduate David Lewis, unlike Sohoni, is about to finish his job at Penn. Soon after graduating as a health and societies major, Lewis returned to pursue a master's degree at the Perelman School of Medicine, as he wanted to prepare for dental school.

While taking classes, Lewis got a job as a research coordinator in the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine. This position not only helped him pay the tuition, but also gave him research experience to publish several papers. This eventually helped him gain acceptance into several top medical schools in the country.

Most students learn about full-time positions through work-study programs or acquaintanceships with professors and staff. Currently, there isn't a regular career fair for jobs at Penn. Rose said this is mainly because different offices usually hire at different times. "There isn't a fixed time for job openings like banks, so it's hard to coordinate," Rose said. 

Rose added that Penn is very happy to see alumni apply for jobs at the University and the school prefers hiring "our own people."

Lewis agreed. "I sometimes help with recruiting, and when I see a resume that says somebody is from Penn, that one gets my attention right away," he said. "I myself am a perfect example of this. We really want to hire someone who knows the system well."

Although Lewis was accepted to Penn's School of Dental Medicine, a school that he loved, he will pursue his dental degree in his home state of New York rather than stay at Penn for several more years. The State University of New York at Buffalo offered him a full-tuition scholarship, and Lewis wanted to be closer to home after almost nine years in Philadelphia. 

"It's a bittersweet feeling. I have great friends and connections here, but it's time to move on," Lewis said, adding that he was excited to enjoy his last Spring Fling at Penn.

Whether graduates want to find jobs right away or wait a few years, opportunities at Penn can fulfill their needs.

"Penn is a great employer. The fact is, [at] an institution this large, there are opportunities in finance, IT, everywhere," Rose said. "Students who want to stay in Philadelphia after graduation should definitely consider working at Penn."

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