Hiring for soon-to-graduate M.B.A. students is in high gear. Jackie Wilbur, senior director of the career development office at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology''s Sloan School of Management,
says it''s been a difficult year, but she has seen some improvement over last year.The M.B.A. Career Services Council recently reported that about 34% of schools said they had seen an increase in job postings in the fall. Only 48% saw a reduction of postings, compared with 70% that did last year.
In an interview, Ms. Wilbur spoke about the challenges and where students are finding jobs. Excerpts:
WSJ: How has the volume of on-campus recruiting changed? The Career Services Council recently reported that 79% of surveyed schools said on-campus recruiting last fall was down.
Ms. Wilbur: We still haven''t gotten back to 2008 levels, but we''re not done with recruiting until May. [Some] schools have a much more rigid process [for recruiting on-campus]. For example, we offer a free job listing and if the company wants us to gather all the resumes, we do it. Companies also can come to campus whenever they want for recruiting; [some] schools set aside a single week.
WSJ. What role do business schools play in helping students through this job market?
Ms. Wilbur: The last time there was [a crisis] like this, it was 1983 -- and that''s when many of our students were born. It''s the school''s job to navigate the job market for them; they just don''t have this perspective.
WSJ: With fewer openings, how are students coping with the state of the job market?
Ms. Wilbur: Our students are being very realistic about the state of the economy. It''s a better year than last year -- the crisis has come and gone -- but we''re certainly not seeing a huge rebound in the market either. One area that''s really grabbing students'' interest is consumer product companies, which include medical devices and clean energy technology, [which are growth areas].
WSJ: Are there new types of jobs students are pursuing?
Ms. Wilbur: In supply chain management, students have a lot of interest in project finance, which was popular in the ''80s and making a comeback. A larger number are interested in energy, particularly in the space of green technology -- there''s a lot of room for growth, particularly in introducing new technologies in an emerging market.
WSJ: What are some areas that aren''t offering opportunities?
Ms. Wilbur: Hiring is recovering in financial services, but it''s still down. And we''ve noticed that asset management firms haven''t recovered the same way as the banks.
WSJ: How are you advising students to stand out in such a competitive market?
Ms. Wilbur: Students have to map out their biggest strengths and be able to articulate how they can contribute to their target company. The best candidate will connect their skills with the company''s needs. And visiting companies and completing job treks are becoming much more important in the job search.
WSJ: Where are students finding jobs?
Ms. Wilbur: We [tell them to] pick their target industry, then their ideal companies and have to start talking to people who work there. The best part about being a student is that you can get face time with people. Most practitioners love being approached by a student, and it''s really effective.
(Source:THE WALL STREET JOURNAL)