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Alumni connections bring employers to campus

By Bradley West '13
December 26, 2012

Nicole Radil '12 is one of many St. Olaf College alumni who return to campus looking for talented and driven students to join their company.

When Nicole Radil '12 was a senior at St. Olaf College, the Piper Center for Vocation and Career pointed her toward opportunities at OptumInsight, a health care analytics and consulting firm. After meeting with recruiters at a job fair and going through several interviews, Radil landed a position with the firm.

This fall Radil returned to the Hill to recruit other Oles to work for OptumInsight, making her one of many alumni who return to St. Olaf looking for talented and driven students.

This year alumni and parents who work for prominent companies like Google, General Mills, and Target have set up on-campus recruiting trips and information sessions.

For example, representatives from Google traveled to St. Olaf this year because Ken Shrum, the father of a current student, works as a software engineer for the Internet giant. Likewise, recruiters from McKinsey & Company, a highly prestigious management consulting firm, took the time to meet with Oles because several alumni — brothers Isaac Townsend '03 and Eli Townsend '05, as well as Nate Black '09 and Ishanaa Rambachan '08 — have positions at the firm.

Thanks to their efforts, students hoping to land a job right out of college don't have to travel far to find great opportunities.

St. Olaf College's Piper Center for Vocation and Career organizes the on-campus recruiting program.

"Oles help Oles," says Kirsten Cahoon '98, senior associate director of the Piper Center. "There is a distinct culture among St. Olaf alumni and parents to 'pay it forward' for current Oles seeking opportunities."

OptumInsight was looking for more students from local liberal arts colleges, so they sent Radil to recruit Oles for the Leadership Acceleration Program, a developmental consulting program for recent college graduates. Radil was confident that St. Olaf students would succeed at OptumInsight.

"Consulting is a very unique industry that requires an immense sense of flexibility and adaptability across all roles," Radil says. "In my experience, the ability to adapt to any given situation — a skill I honed at St. Olaf — has been one of my greatest strengths and has helped me succeed thus far in my career."

About 250 St. Olaf students took part in on-campus recruiting this fall, either by attending information sessions or submitting applications for job and internship opportunities. More recruiting opportunities will be available again in the spring semester.

Contact Kari VanDerVeen at 507-786-3970 or