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Highlights from 2011 Best Places to Work for Recent Grads

It’s hard to believe that four years flew by and already the class of 2011 is gearing up for the day their name is called over the loudspeaker to shake the Dean’s hand and accept their diploma.

While 2011 college seniors are excited about closing the door on one part of their life, it’s common to feel pressure as it pertains to next steps. Some graduates may have already landed a job, but others may still not have a clue as to what the want to do, or where they want to start their career.

So where are the best places to work for those just graduating? Experience has done the research and compiled a list of the Top 20 Best Places to Work for Recent Grads. The companies on this list range from a wide variety of industries, and they’re hiring! In fact, these companies plan to hire nearly 20,000 recent graduates in the next year alone. This list is designed to showcase companies around the country who have great entry-level hiring practices, and also to educate recent grads on what to look for in a company.

First off, we’d like to take a moment to acknowledge DICK’s Sporting Goods, who made our list for the first time. Given their entrepreneurial and team-oriented nature, DICK’s seems to possess a unique atmosphere that truly caters to recent grads. Recognized as “Retail’s Rising Star”, this is a company whose training regiments and exclusive perks set them apart from the rest.

  • “We are so excited to make it on the list of the Best Places to Work for Recent Grads! It is very important for DICK’S Sporting Goods to recruit and retain new talent for the company. Gen Y employees in our organization are not afraid to challenge the status quo and push themselves to think outside of the box when problem solving. They are very tech savvy and thrive in our collaborative environment. Our new hires come into the company wanting to make a positive impact on day one!”
    - Freya C. | University Relations Recruiter
  • “Everything about Dick’s corporate atmosphere makes the company highly attractive to recent college graduates. A few ideas that stand out for Dick’s Sporting Goods are: a young and innovative corporate culture; the commitment and opportunity to live the brand; the exciting areas of career focus (e.g. sports!). The company boasts a young, thriving culture that is continually brainstorming and bringing fresh perspectives to work. Beyond that, the company supports an active lifestyle, providing ample opportunity to live the brand in and outside work through athletic and health-focused activities. Even further, the actual product to work with is relatable and extremely significant in today’s sports-driven culture, making it an exciting and dynamic category to work with.”
    - Jennifer R. | New hire and recent grad from Indiana University

A more familiar face on our list, Capital One Financial Corporation continues to impress us with their long list of benefits and their team-oriented approach. Unusual for a company of its size, Capital One Financial Corporation encourages recent graduates to contribute from day one. What separates this company from others is its unwavering support of the community, offering several outlets to volunteer.

  • “Recent graduates tell us they are most engaged when they are learning and making a difference. They want challenging and motivating work, and they want to leave a lasting mark at our company,” said Donna Schaar, Senior Director, Human Resources and Diversity, Capital One Financial Corp. “At Capital One, we want to create an environment where our associates can be great. Through Capital One University, our nationally recognized learning organization, associates can choose from more than 600 instructor-led courses, 100 instructor-led virtual classroom courses and 1,400 eLearning programs, giving young professionals a blend of learning options that fit a variety of needs.”
  • “After spending four years in a challenging academic environment, it was extremely important for me to join a company where I was challenged and inspired not only by the work, but also by the people around me. At Capital One, being smart, driven and collaborative is not reserved for the best-of-the-best; it’s the status quo.”
    - Amanda T. | Senior Financial Analyst, and 2009 graduate of Washington University in St. Louis

At Intel, what’s valued most is the employees. New hires create serious technology with a global impact, but don’t take themselves too seriously. Intel provides a variety of work/life programs, including flexible work options, personal and professional development opportunities, discounts, and wellness programs. Their “Great Place to Work team” plans social events for employees and families. Intel is also serious about giving back to their community. They even encourage employees to volunteer during working hours by offering ten dollars for every hour volunteered.

  • “At Intel, building a quality and diverse workforce is a top priority, and new graduates play a key role in our ability to develop technologies that will change the world. It is critical we attract and retain the best and brightest from top schools across the country. Achieving awards such as this further builds upon our reputation as being an Employer of Choice among students and hopefully conveys a message to future talent that Intel is a great place to launch your career!”
    -Tiffany Peery | Campus Recruiting Manager
  • “Intel really has been a great place to launch my career. Through my rotation program, I was able to establish a broad network that spans business groups and geographic locations, develop two mentorship relationships with high level managers, apply what learned in college into my everyday work, and develop a broad skill set. Moreover, I am proud to work for Intel because I like being part of a company that improves the lives of billions of people worldwide”
    - Shanna Cook | Marketing and Communications Specialist, and 2010 graduate of Stanford University

Methodology | How We Selected the Companies:
Experience’s 2011 Best Places to Work for Recent Grads was done in partnership with The survey ran from March to April 2011, and collected responses from 120 companies. From these responses, the team at Experience narrowed the list down to 20,based on their training programs, growth opportunities, organizational culture, and benefits. In early May, Experience corresponded with company representatives to verify the information collected from the survey.

Want More?
For more information on the employers above, as well as the rest of the impressive employers that wound up on our list this year – check out the full list of the 2011 Best Places to Work for Recent Grads at

Author: Kyle MacKenzie,