At the end of the academic year, all the departments in my university are required to compile data of what are the senior graduating majors going to do after they finish. We need to highlight the "success stories". Definitions of "success story" varies among different departments, of course. While I do not necessarily agree, my department presents as a "success" story anybody who will not be unemployed the following August. In a sense, it's a pointless exercise, but since it's required, we all do it. Whether the student has been admitted to a top 10 PhD program in hir field, has been accepted to participate in Teach for America, will work for $12K at a religious-based social services organization, or will be teaching English abroad, it doesn't matter. They all count as "success stories". My objections are twofold: a) you need to prioritize, and b) to be meaningful, one should have a more long term perspective (say 5 years) to talk about "success story" (but that is beyond what we, as a department, can do).
I am reminded of this because today I will be meeting to have a few drinks with a "success" story, though an unexpected one in more than one sense. He graduated with a BA in Spanish only (most of our majors are double majors), had no idea what to do with his life but got a well paid, mid-level administrative job at Toyota (with excellent benefits) because of his Spanish speaking skills. He was told that they weren't concerned that he lacked business classes in school or any kind of business-related experience. He could learn those skills while on the job. They were looking for somebody who could communicate with other branches in Latin America flawlessly. And that is why his BA in Spanish gave him an advantage over other candidates. In that sense, he is a "success" story because he got hired for his language skills, he probably makes the most money of all our recent graduates, and he is quite happy with his job. Of course, these are all relative terms, but for the department and the administration, it's excellent advertising.
In your department, what counts as a "success" story for your recent majors? How well or not do they fare after they graduate? What do you think is a "success" story?