AIG CEO tells college graduates facing economic uncertainty: 'Don’t cry about it. Deal with it.'

Published: Monday, May 20 2013 2:42 p.m. MDT

AIG CEO Robert AIG CEO Robert Benmosche is interviewed by Neil Cavuto on the Fox Business in New York, Tuesday, March 19, 2013. Benmosche provided some blunt advice to college graduates searching for work.

Richard Drew, AP

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In a recent interview with Bloomberg, Robert Benmosche, the CEO of American International Group, provided some blunt advice to college graduates searching for work.

“You have to accept the hand that’s been dealt you in life,” Benmosche said. “Don’t cry about it. Deal with it.”

Benmosche, who is 68, knows something about making his own way in the world. According to Bloomberg, Benmosche’s career path included working as a truck driver delivering Coca-Cola products to pay his way through school and serving as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army Signals Corps before entering the financial services sector.

Benmosche's advice comes as the employment situation for college graduates continues to look bleak. As the Bloomberg article noted, a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that in October 2011, 12.6 percent of college graduates ages 20-29 were unemployed.

The outlook for new graduates does not look much better. CNBC reports that a survey of 500 hiring managers by recruitment firm Adecco found that 66 percent believe new college graduates are not prepared for the workforce after leaving college. Fifty-eight percent said they were not planning to hire entry-level graduates this year.

The class of 2013 will also likely earn less over the next 10-15 years than it would have before the recession, according to a study from the Economic Policy Institute cited by CNBC.

Still, Benmosche told Bloomberg that college graduates need to seize the opportunities that do become available to them, even if their options are limited.

“They want me to talk to the students and give them a sense of encouragement, especially with the high unemployment,” said Benmosche. “My advice will be, 'Whatever opportunity comes your way, take it. Take it and treat it as if it’s the only one that’s coming your way, because that actually may be the truth.'”

EMAIL: dmerling@deseretnews.com

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