by Jess Hoogendoorn
The record for the number of students accepted into the Johnson & Johnson Financial/Sales and Marketing Leadership Development Program has been shattered this year as seven students received job offers from the company.
Two years ago, there was only one student accepted into the program, and last year, there were fewer than five, according to Anne Mandel, associate director of Career Services. This year, however, there are six seniors and one graduate who were welcomed into the Johnson & Johnson family after working for the company as part of a co-op. Finance majors Jennifer Arnell, Matt Cardia, Kevin Mazzella and Kevin Orlofski and accounting majors Mike Dill and Jeanny Le all have jobs waiting for them when they graduate. Russell Mareno, who graduated with a degree in marketing last year, is already working at Johnson & Johnson.
“Our Rider students have the highest retention rate compared to all the other schools,” Mandel said. “We have a 92 percent retention rate and that’s why [Johnson & Johnson] is really focusing their recruitment here. We can perform very well; we have very sharp students.”
Over a two-year period, the students will rotate through different areas of the company where they will receive hands-on experience. Each student will have his or her own mentor to supply him or her with feedback.
“[The students] go through an eight-month rotation to see different [aspects] of J&J,” Mandel said. “The purpose of this is to [help] candidates, full-time leadership participants, to understand J&J as a whole so you aren’t just functioning in one sector, you get to work in different locations and different types of function in the company.”
The student participants are not only excited about gaining more hands-on experience, but also about the fact that they don’t have to worry about searching for a job any longer.
“You don’t feel that pressure of having to go to the career fairs or going to job interviews,” Cardia said.
Le said it is nice not having to go through the interview process like everyone else. Mazzella found out he had a job in July and took comfort in knowing that he has something waiting for him when he graduates. Dill is mainly excited about having the chance to visit Italy and Greece when he begins his job.
“I always wanted to travel and this is giving me the opportunity to do that,” he said.
Cardia was offered a job by Lehman Brothers before it went bankrupt and then was re-offered a job by the company that bought it out. However, he decided to stick with Johnson & Johnson.
“I wound up choosing J&J for obvious security reasons, but I [also] thought I could get a broader experience at J&J and I could develop myself more,” Cardia said. “What it came down to was where I felt myself developing the most and getting the most out of [it] personally.”
Mandel stressed that the co-ops are what helped the students secure their jobs at Johnson & Johnson.
“[J&J] used the co-op as a pipeline for their leadership program,” she said. “When they’re observing [candidates] on jobs for six months, that’s their long-term interview and all of them obviously performed very well.”
There were 12 to 13 Rider students who worked 40-plus hours a week for Johnson & Johnson. Out of those students, seven were chosen to be in the leadership program.
The candidates that were chosen learned a lot from their co-op experience and found the business world to be slightly different than they anticipated.
Le said she thought it would be “all work and no play,” but the atmosphere was very casual. Mazzella agreed that the culture was not as serious as he expected.
Arnell worked with other businessmen and women who were overseas in Belgium, China and Switzerland.
“I got to work with various people and different personalities and it was amazing seeing a bunch of things come together when you’re not all in the same location,” she said.