Recent Grads Report Hiring on With Top Employers
Companies Include Microsoft, Research in Motion, Other Industry Leaders

Despite the slack economy, plenty of recent UT Dallas graduates have snagged jobs at the likes of Microsoft, Sabre Holdings and Research In Motion, the maker of Blackberry.

Poornima Hanumara, who received her bachelor’s in telecommunications engineering, credits undergraduate research opportunities with helping her get a well-rounded education and land a great job. She conducted eight months of research in the University’s Open Networking Advanced Research Lab, she had two summer research internships (one in Ireland, the other in Germany), and she interned at Cisco Systems during her senior year.

“During my four years of engineering education, I realized engineering is not just math and physics,” she said. “It involves thinking out of the box, good decision making and teamwork. Class projects, especially Senior Design class, helped me gain these soft skills.”

She’s joined Microsoft as one of the small number of high-achieving entry-level employees the software maker hires as program managers.

“I think several factors contribute to our students’ success in the job market, including the real-world experience they get through our internship program,” said Mark W. Spong, Lars Magnus Ericsson Chair and dean of the University’s Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science. “Equally important is the fact that so many of our faculty have industry experience, which means their instruction is grounded in the practical application of theory.”

But it’s not just about engineering grads. Jessica Dallas graduated from the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences with a master of science degree in communication disorders, training through the University’s Callier Center for Communication Disorders. She started work last month at Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation, working as a speech-language pathologist clinical fellow in inpatient rehabilitation.

“Within a month of graduation I had three different job offers,” she said. “I definitely feel that my time at Callier prepared me to be able to find a job upon graduation.”

Like a number of others, Marcelo Somers landed a job with the company where he interned while working on his degree. With a bachelor’s in finance, he’s now a media product manager responsible for media advertising placement at Sabre Holdings. He’s also working on an MBA at the UT Dallas School of Management.

Academia has also been hiring. Jonathan Caudill recently earned his PhD in criminology from the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences  and is now on the faculty at California’s Chico State.

“There were a lot of applicants in the pool this past year,” he said. “If anything, speculation suggests that universities were very cautious in expanding their obligations. I applied to nine schools, interviewed at three and received two offers.”

Cody Eilrich, who received his bachelor’s in computer engineering, interned at the wireless networking company Enfora Inc. for two years before accepting ajob as a software engineer there. His first internship position was as a tester, but things really took off after he acquired the skills to move into development.

“It has been a blast ever since,” he said. “I learned so much from my internship, and I’m really excited about my full-time job.”

Statistics from 2008-2009, the latest numbers available, indicate nearly 83 percent of UT Dallas engineering and computer science bachelor’s degree recipients have jobs within a short time of graduation, a statistic that compares favorably with other universities, according to Michael Doty, director of the UT Dallas Career Center. And the University’s other schools have a success rate that’s nearly as high.

Gurnoor Kang, who received her bachelor’s in computer science, interned at AT&T and at Microsoft while still in school. Her intern experience taught her a lot about real-world problem solving, complementing her classes.

“The most important things I learned at the Jonsson School concerned creative and critical thinking,” she said, “especially the importance of considering multiple available choices and checking the pros and cons of all available options.”

Microsoft has hired her as a software development engineer.

Finally there’s Nikunj Khankhanwala, who received his master’s in electrical engineering in the spring and is now a radio-frequency (RF) design engineer at Research In Motion. He interned at ThingMagic Inc. in 2009 and 2010, where he was exposed to industrial design concepts and systematic ways of debugging problems, but his education is what really paid off.

“I had no knowledge of RF design engineering when I first enrolled at UT Dallas, and at the end of two years it is now my bread and butter,” he said.

Poornima Hanumara, who conducted  research in the University’s Open Networking Advanced Research Lab, is now at Microsoft.Cody Eilrich interned at the wireless networking company Enfora Inc. before accepting a job as a software engineer there.Gurnoor Kang says her intern experience taught her a lot about real-world problem solving.Nikunj Khankhanwala, who received his master's in electrical engineering, is now a radio-frequency design engineer at Research In Motion.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].