Data Feature — 10 Years Later: Where are They Now?
Many of the differences between the senior survey data from 2009, which represented students’ plans for post-graduation but not for the long-term, and the current occupations of ex-athletes can be attributed to the decade-long gap. 12 percent of ‘09 seniors reported accepting a job in consulting, a popular short-term post-graduation occupation but not necessarily a long-term one.
10 years later, 5.6 percent of Crimson athletes work in consulting, placing the profession in the middle of the pack. A similar phenomenon can be seen in education, which also accounts for 5.6 percent of Harvard athletes, down from the 16 percent of ‘09 seniors who reported taking a job in education after graduation. Meanwhile, the proportion of athletes in communication, business outside of financial services, and information technology is right in line with the 2009 senior survey data.
As may have been expected, the biggest discrepancy in job plans between the Class of 2009 and ‘08-09 athletes is in the sports, hospitality, and recreation industries. Just one percent of seniors reported having accepted a job in that category, while 5.3 percent of ex-Crimson athletes now work in the industry in a variety of roles in the sector, from coaching and fitness training to work in sports or hotel management.
There are not as many former athletes working for a non-profit agency or NGO as would have been predicted by the 2009 senior class survey. Just three men (less than one percent) and nine women (2.7 percent) are recorded as currently working for a non-profit, down from five percent of seniors who reported that they were taking a job with a non-profit out of college. Those in education or government/military professions were accounted for separately.
Financial services is the most popular industry for male athletes, accounting for 27 percent of men’s players. Next is work for a technology and/or start-up company in a non-technical role, which makes up another 11.1 percent.
For women, meanwhile, financial services and technology rank just third and tied for fourth respectively among current job categories. A plurality of 17 percent of women’s athletes now work in health or medicine, which when including the men’s numbers is the second most popular career. A further 12.8 percent are pursuing degrees in graduate or professional school.
In an interview last October, OCS Director Robin Mount said that “about 83 percent of our students will go back to graduate or professional school.” Between seven and 10 years on from graduation, just 49.4 percent of athletes have obtained or are currently obtaining a post-college degree. While that number is likely to tick up in future years, it appears that — if Mount’s numbers are correct — athletes are less likely to go on to receive a degree in higher education than the average student.
The job preferences of athletes can be further broken down by sport. Financial services and health or medicine combine to be the most popular sectors of occupation for 24 of the 39 teams. Financial services is the only profession to make up not just a plurality but a majority of jobs for any single sport, and it does so three times: for men’s tennis (54.5 percent), men’s hockey (53.8 percent), and men’s lacrosse (52.9 percent). In those three sports, a combined 25.4 percent of players have obtained or are currently obtaining a postgraduate degree, slightly over half the percentage of the overall group of athletes.
While a significant number of ‘08-09 Crimson athletes had at least brief careers as professional athletes, just 11 — slightly over one percent — still are. Headlining that list are men’s basketball’s Jeremy Lin ‘10, who currently plays for the Toronto Raptors; men’s hockey’s Alex Killorn ‘12, a strong performer for the Tampa Bay Lightning; women’s hockey’s Randi Griffin ‘10, who scored the first goal for the historic Unified Korea women’s national team in the 2018 Winter Olympics; and baseball’s Brent Suter ‘12, a pitcher for the Milwaukee Brewers who became the fourth-ever ex-Harvard pitcher to reach 200 career Major League innings and the second since 1908.
— Staff writer Lev Cohen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Staff writer Henry Zhu can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @Zhuhen88.