K-State education pays off: graduates first in statewide average starting salary

Will Radenberg, junior in chemical engineering and Chem II tutor with SAS, goes over a Chem II assignment with Natalie Timmons, freshman in animal science and industry, on Feb. 5, 2015 in Fiedler Library in the Engineering Complex. K-State has recently been ranked number one in average starting salary across Kansas because of K-State's strong academic programs. (File Photo by Parker Robb | The Collegian)

On average, K-State graduates start their careers with a $45,200 salary. This ranks K-State No. 1 statewide in average starting salary post-graduation, according to a recent study released by SmartAsset, a New York financial technology company.

“The recent findings by SmartAsset are very reassuring to our student body, as we know that our institution is the proven leader in the state when it comes to setting up students for success after we graduate,” Joe Tinker, senior in psychology and student body vice president, said in a email interview.

In order to determine the best value colleges and universities, SmartAsset evaluated five factors: tuition, student living costs, scholarship and grant offerings, retention rate and starting salary.

“As the top value in the state, we can also be confident knowing that we are getting the most out of our investment in higher education,” Tinker said. “While increasing tuition is a nationwide trend, K-State is committed to affordability and providing everybody with the opportunity to receive a quality education.”

K-State is committed to providing a quality education to students both in and out of the classroom.

“(Quality education is) part of the K-State tradition,” Kevin Gwinner, dean of the College of Business Administration, said. “I think one of the advantages is we provide a very applied education for students.”

Within the College of Business, Gwinner said students are encouraged to begin thinking about internships or study abroad programs as freshmen. The goal is to encourage students to think about and plan for these experiences early so they are prepared for them by junior year.

“We want to have the best-prepared business students in the country,” Gwinner said.

The College of Business focuses on preparing students for careers through an executive mentorship program, Professional Advantage Certification, and a recently launched a Career Coach program. All of these programs are intended to help students understand the career options they have and give them the skills needed in those careers.

“What our employers tell us is that our graduates, who come out of the sales program, are prepared to work from day one, and it saves the employers training time and money,” Gwinner said.

Gwinner said he thinks the commitment to providing opportunities to learn outside of the classroom is true across the board at K-State.

“Our faculty, academic advisers and student life professionals are great partners when preparing and then providing networking opportunities for students, such as summer jobs, internships and permanent employment,” Pat Bosco, vice president for student life and dean of students, said.

According to Bosco, companies want more K-State graduates to work for them because K-State alumni perform their jobs well and have a strong work ethic.

“Our students carry a brand that simply cannot be found anywhere else, an understanding of hard work, diversity, personal responsibility and ownership,” Bosco said. “Our graduates know their stuff, but are willing to learn, which is a tribute to our faculty and staff.”

K-State academic rankings give students a competitive advantage over students from other schools. Bosco, however, still has one piece of advice for K-State students.

“Even for K-Staters, (the job market) is more competitive than ever,” Bosco said. “Start early, keep an open mind and leave no stone unturned.”