Matthew Johnson’s attitudes about college and careers were shaped in part by the Great Recession. A Manning School of Business student, Johnson entered the university in the aftermath of the global financial crisis and wanted to graduate with strong educational credentials and relevant job skills.
“The uncertainty with the job market definitely impacted what I wanted to do at college,” he says. “It really makes you prepare.”
To get professional experience, he enrolled in the co-op program. Introduced in the Manning School in 2011, the program includes professional development seminars, intensive job prep and three or six-month professional placements. So far, he has had two co-op jobs: the first with Sal’s Pizza, working on marketing and social media plans and then with Enterprise Bank in Lowell helping with digital marketing.
As a result of his co-op positions and his track record working part-time jobs since high school, Johnson feels well-prepared for the workforce and upbeat about his career prospects. If his co-op program experience is an indicator of the future, he has every right to feel confident. When he was interviewing for his most recent position, he got multiple offers.
“That felt fantastic,” he says.
Outside the classroom and work, Johnson was a member of the university’s marching band since freshman year, playing the sousaphone. Attending UMass Lowell runs in his family: His twin sister, Julianne, earned her bachelor’s degree from the Manning School in May 2013 and both his parents attended the university and were also members of the marching band. His grandfather attended Lowell Technological Institute, a predecessor institution of UMass Lowell.
Looking ahead, he’d like to start his career in a leadership development program with a great company. He wants to work for a business that values its customers and employees. He feels ready to contribute.
“The university has been growing through all the economic uncertainty. Hopefully I’ll be in a good position to carry that momentum forward,” he says.