Take well-known U.S. universities such as Carnegie Mellon and Purdue. In each case, LinkedIn has data on the career paths of more than 60,000 graduates. That’s a data set big enough to allow for some fascinating fine-grained distinctions. Type in MIT, and you quickly learn that graduates are unusually likely to land jobs at Google, IBM, and Oracle. Plug in Purdue, and employers such as Lilly, Cummins, and Boeing predominate.
Such information is a gold mine for high-school juniors and seniors, says Purvi Modi, a college advisor in Cupertino, California, since most high-school students have only a hazy idea of what careers are out there. By using LinkedIn’s tool, students interested in specialties such as solar energy, screenwriting, or making medical devices can pinpoint schools with the best track records of sending graduates into those fields. Modi, who advises about 300 students a year, says about 40 percent of them now cruise through this part of LinkedIn’s database, known as University Pages, to get insights. That’s impressive, given that the data-combing service has been fully available only since August 2013.