Student loans, unemployment challenge young graduates

Struggling to find a job or even an internship in the current financial crisis, young graduates are worried about coping with meagre savings and paying back their student loans. Read more...


Struggling to find a job or an internship in the current financial crisis, young graduates across the globe are worried about how they will cope with their meagre savings and the paying back of student loans. Scroll down to read their stories.

"I sold my house to finance my MBA"

Matthew Beaubien is in his thirties and is from Canada. He lives in Barcelona where he just graduated from ESADE Business School. It was voted by the Financial Times in January 2009 to be Europe's seventh best MBA and 18th worldwide. In 2008, 60% of full-time MBA students found a job. But this year is another story. Like Matthew, a growing number of MBA graduates have found themselves unemployed and with massive debts.

I just graduated from Barcelona’s ESADE Business School with an MBA in Finance and am still looking for a job.

I am in contact with a small consulting company that hired me during my internship this summer, where I undertook a financial study on solar panels.

I'm going work to with them to update customers’ data just for a couple of days but there is no concrete offer on the table yet.

I studied Mechanical Engineering in Canada nearly ten years ago. Then I moved to Detroit and the automobile sector during four years. After that I went to France to work in a company which specialised in making pieces for cars, like Valeo. There I bought a house, which I converted into two flats. It cost me 310,000 euros and then I sold both apartments to finance my MBA in Barcelona, hoping I could find a job afterwards.

I still owe money to my parents and I have given myself three months to find a job…after that date, I don't know. I will probably go back to my parents' house.

A lot of my fellow graduates can hardly find job offers and find themselves in a very difficult financial situation. Some can't even leave Barcelona as they have nowhere else to go. Others had their MBAs paid by the employers and could go back to where they had been working.

Now that I have more free time with the end of classes, I am spending my time on a social website where ‘car enthusiasts’ or tuning fans can meet or share ideas. But I am still counting on finding a job soon.

“I offered to work for free”

Gareth Goodliffe, a 26-year-old South African graduate in industrial engineering, moved to Vienna, Austria, 14 months ago. Goodliffe has been looking for a job ever since and has received only rejection letters. Desperate for work, he even offered to work for free.


As a native English speaker living in Vienna with limited German skills, my job search has focused mainly on either English companies or large multinationals. Neither have been particularly successful.

In the 14 months I've been in Vienna I've had six interviews - only three of these were related to my field of expertise. Three interviews in 14 months - I have an engineering degree, can speak four languages and have international work experience.

I even offered to work for free. I sent an email to a company after eventually making contact with someone beyond the front desk, and pleaded with them to let me pitch some of my recovery ideas to them (for free!) only to be referred back to their career site.

My girlfriend and I live together. Between her mum, my parents and teaching English part-time, we just about make ends meet. When I say just about: if it wasn't for my parents and her mum, we'd be in a mess.

My move to Vienna and the first few months here were entirely financed by a property investment I made a few years ago in Johannesburg. However, after three or four months of job hunting with absolutely zero income, both of our savings were depleted.

My plan is to build a Google resume, so to speak. I would like to write pieces on whatever I can that demonstrate my knowledge in a variety of areas. I simply want to be visible to potential employers. I think it is no longer enough to simply provide an employer with a list of your qualifications - they would like to see how you think and your approach to solving problems.

"A nightmare"

Lesleyann Pedro, a 25-year-old resident of Seattle, USA, is a professional ballet dancer and a graduate in managerial economics. She has been looking for a job since October 2008 and is trying to figure out a way to pay back her $25,000 student loan.

My qualifications include a Bachelors of Arts in Dance and a Bachelor of Science in Managerial Economics.

I tried pursuing a career in professional dancing. I tried to juggle several odd jobs to help pay for dance lessons, car payments, petrol money, homework, and rehearsals. It was just too much and so I decided that dance would become more of a hobby rather than a profession.

While searching for other professional avenues, I decided take up international studies or business.

I graduated from Central Washington University in December 2008 after completing a Bachelors of Science degree in Managerial Economics (minor in Information Technology). I've been searching for a job and it's been a nightmare.

The economic downturn is worse than I could have ever imagined. I never thought with my qualifications in business and IT, I would ever have to worry about finding a job.

I have used almost every online database I could think of or gain access to. I even applied to retail clerk jobs at companies. They responded saying I was not qualified, which is ridiculous because I have worked at some of these companies during the summer in the past.

On the bright side, I have made some progress with staffing firms and temporary agencies where they are actively looking for work for me and call me to take extra tests or to let me know if there might be an interview.

My parents have been supportive and are paying for everything including health and car insurance, cell phone, food, and the list goes on. Every once in a while, I go out to lunch with my friend, and then feel really guilty for spending money.

Time is running out because my student loan payments kick in around June. My entire education at CWU was financed through student loans and my parents even took out about $10,000 in loans which started accumulating interest immediately. My student loans total about $25,000.

I haven't figured out what form to fill in saying that it will be difficult to pay them back since I cannot find a job.