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Lutgert College of Business in the News

This is the text of a story in the Fort Myers News-Press of December 13, 2010.

For one day, new FGCU grads totally without worry

By Chris Umpierre
December 13, 2010

Soon after walking across the stage and accepting his FGCU diploma, James Cook began thinking about the future.

"I've got to find a job," said Cook, a 23-year-old finance graduate. "The job market is very intimidating. I'm hoping I can find something, but there's not many finance jobs."

Business school dean Richard Pegnetter, who delivered Sunday's commencement speech, said FGCU's 900 fall graduates will need to adapt to constant change to survive in today's gloomy job market.

Lee County's unemployment rate is 12.9 percent, while the national jobless rate is 9.8 percent, a ccording to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

"When your parents entered the work force, the job model was to find a large, established company and enjoy that stability until retirement," Pegnetter said in his commencement address. "Any vestige of that world is now upside down."

Myriad national companies and local businesses have downsized or declared bankruptcy in the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

"The successful adaptation to change is going to be your most important life skill,"

Pegnetter told the graduates on Sunday. "Loyalty to your skills will be more important than identifying with one company.
Entrepreneurship opportunities might play a larger role. You might have to think in new directions and be prepared to take on reasonable risk."

Mark Carpenter, a business graduate, is already thinking along those lines. He plans to start up a business, but he's not sure what it will be.

"That's the real question," Carpenter said.

Carpenter said he might continue his education if his business ideas don't pan out. "I think most students should just go for their master's degrees because there are no jobs out there," Carpenter said.

FGCU graduate Ganan Sahagian, however, is hopeful he'll find a job.

"I'm looking to get into management for bigger corporations," said Sahagian, a management graduate.

Cook, the finance graduate, said he sent out a slew of resumes to companies in the Northern U.S. because he couldn't find any finance job opportunities in Fort Myers. "I'm hoping I'll find something," Cook said.

Pegnetter said college graduates have an advantage over high school graduates in securing jobs. The jobless rate for Americans with at least a bachelor's degree is 5.1 percent compared to 10.1 for high school graduates, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Pegnetter is confident the school's graduates will obtain jobs because they were exposed to curriculum outside their major while at FGCU.

"You have a much broader perspective of the world around you," Pegnetter said.

Student body president Kimberly Diaz, who earned an undergraduate degree in communication, agreed. She expects her classmates to excel in the job market.

"Go out into the world and make lots of money,"

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