MBA Admissions News Round Up

  • A Daily Pennsylvanian article, “New Wharton initiative to focus on consumer analytics” discusses the Wharton’s new data-driven customer-oriented research center. The groundbreaking Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative “helps companies analyze data about customer preferences in order to maximize profits.” The initiative will be integrated into Wharton’s undergraduate curriculum; consumer analytics will appeal to students who like “crunching numbers” and will give them options beyond the traditional finance major.
  • Starting with the MBA class of 2011, Berkeley Haas graduates will be offered free executive education programs through the school’s Center for Executive Education. This applies to graduates from Berkeley’s full-time program, Evening & Weekend program, and the Berkeley-Columbia Executive MBA program, and includes two days of free executive training to be used within five years of graduating. The initiative stays faithful to the school’s focus on being “Students Always,” one of four defining principles of the top business school. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work more closely with our alumni,” says Whitney Hischier, MBA 01, assistant dean for executive learning at Haas. “MBA graduation is literally just the beginning of our relationship with the student—we expect to connect with alumni throughout the course of their professional career.” (Source: “Future MBA Alumni to Receive Free Exec Ed Course,” Haas School Newsroom)
  • The Bay Area has become an MBA program hot spot, reports a San Francisco Business Times article. Babson College, Hult International Business School, and Cornell-Queens have recently opened part-time professional and executive degree programs in or around San Francisco. These programs join the ranks of other area EMBA programs, including Berkeley-Columbia.
  • Business schools are working to strengthen ties with recruiters, reports a Wall Street Journal article, “Schools solicit advice from employers.” For example, career service departments are taking recruiter feedback more seriously, especially feedback that focuses on graduates’ shortcomings. In response to such criticism, schools are adjusting their courses so that students are better prepared for the sort of work and real-life challenges that these recruiters demand. “We’ve had to be more sensitive to companies’ needs,” says Rich Lyons, dean of the University of California-Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. “Because of the horrific job downturn and competition for positions, we’ve had to work even harder to get our graduates in front of employers.” The thinking is that the more proactive a school is at implementing change based on recruiting companies’ feedback, the better chances that school’s graduates will have at landing jobs in the tough job market. 

More Happy MBA Hiring News

Last week we posted a round up of optimistic MBA hiring news, and today we’re going to supplement that with another positive update.

Today’s good news comes from a BusinessWeek article titled “Better Days Ahead for MBA Job Seekers,” in which author Erin Zlomek assures MBAs that “evidence of a rebound is everywhere.” Bringing data from a recent GMAC study, she concludes that class of 2011 MBAs are likely to have an easier time finding a job than did their peers who graduated last year and the year before.

In terms of pay, the GMAC study suggests that there probably won’t be much of a change between starting salaries for this year’s class as opposed to last year’s.

According to the MBA Career Services Council (CSC), 65% of schools surveyed reported an increase in campus recruiting by consulting firms; 60% said that financial services recruiting was also up. JPMorgan Chase plans on recruiting at 20-25 schools, an improvement over last year’s 15.

It should be noted, however, that job openings in the area of investment banking are still somewhat hard to come by, and many students are shifting their focuses away from that field toward private equity or other areas within financial services.

The positive tech market is also helping the poor investment banking market easier to swallow. At MIT Sloan, an almost equal number of grads entered the investment banking and tech fields (15% and 19% respectively), in 2008; in 2010, that gap had widened to 11.5% to investment banking and 20% to tech fields.

In general, notes J.J. Cutler, deputy vice dean for MBA admissions at Wharton, there has been a surge in interest in nontraditional MBA fields. “We’re seeing more companies coming to campus in industries such as clean tech and new media, industries that haven’t had a history of coming to MBA schools as a place to get talent,” he says.

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Stanford’s eHarmony-Style Job Search Offers Large Payoff

 

John Byrne offers a window into Stanford GSB‘s career services office with his article, “Creating An eHarmony Model for MBA Careers.” He starts by reminding readers that graduates from Stanford GSB report the highest median base salaries—about $120,000/year compared to Harvard and Wharton’s $110,000, Dartmouth and Kellogg’s $105,000, and Columbia’s $100,000. Furthermore, he states, nearly twice as many Stanford grads receive other guaranteed compensation as do HBS graduates.

Such numbers could be attributed to Stanford’s small class size (about 385 a year compared to 910 at Harvard), to its location in the Silicon Valley, and/or to its phenomenal Career Management Center.

It is this latter consideration that Byrne focuses on in his article. The GSB’s Career Management Center is headed by Pulin Sanghvi who is modeling the career match process to a system similar to that of eHarmony, a popular dating website.

Bryne sums up Sanghvi’s understanding of the changing face of MBA recruiting as such:

“MBA recruiting is changing from the old recruiters-visit-campus model to one that is far more customized and targeted to individual student desires and goals. Roughly 80% of the companies that recruit at the school now hire only a single Stanford grad a year. For many of these recruiters, it makes little sense to come to campus and interview dozens to hundreds of students. Half of Stanford’s graduates now do self-directed job searches, forgoing the prestigious yet more traditional MBA jobs with McKinsey, BCG, Goldman and Morgan Stanley. Instead, they’re searching for positions with smaller companies in biotech, healthcare, private equity, or venture capital. They’re looking at small hedge funds along with Internet and technology startups.”

To accommodate this change, Sanghvi is relying more on online resources to connect students with unique career opportunities. Similar to eHarmony’s personalized matching system, Sanghvi is crafting custom support for individual students to connect them with jobs that best match their objectives and skills.

Stanford’s career management staff uses an innovative software program to match student-updated online profiles to available career opportunities and to create customized support and mentorship between students and career advisors. The process is not automated, but more “an outcome of…high touch service” (15 full-time people in the career management center for 385 students). Such personalized matchmaking is realistic only when you’re dealing with a student body the size of Stanford’s.

“As we capture information online, we are using it to inform our one-on-one interactions with them,” says Sanghvi. “What we can bring every student is deeply customized support. Instead of focusing on generic topics, we’ll find out that there are ten students who want to know how to network in the clean tech industry. So then we can do customized programming for them, gathering best practices for that industry and bringing in alums from clean tech to speak with them.”

As a result of Sanghvi’s program’s success, many Stanford students are choosing not to participate in the fall recruiting cycle; the school has adopted a year-round recruiting schedule instead, recognizing that sometimes the longer you stay in the market, the greater the opportunities you may encounter.

Here are some statistics included in Byrne’s article on how MBAs of Stanford’s class of 2010 found their high-paying jobs:

SCHOOL-FACILITATED ACTIVITIES:
On-Campus Recruiting: 27%
Other (GSB-facilitated): 4%
Alumni: 4%
Job Boards: 6%
Resume Book: 2%
Career Fair: 1%
Faculty: 1%
GSB Class/Project: 1%
Student Club/Club Event: 1%

GRADUATE-FACILITATED ACTIVITIES:
Pre-MBA Employer: 23%
Family/Friend: 11%
Business Contact: 11%
Other (student-facilitated): 5%
Company Website: 2%
Executive Search Firm: 1%
Undergraduate Network: 1%

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MBA Hiring Round Up: Happy Days are Here Again!

  • A Wall Street Journal article, “Hiring Prospects Improve for M.B.A. Grads in 2011,” discusses the upward hiring trend expected in 2011. A recent GMAC study indicates that 64% of surveyed managers, executives, and recruiters plan on hiring MBA grads in 2011, compared to 60% in 2010. 69% expect salaries to remain flat; 26% forecast an increase and 4% expect a decrease. “As the economy recovers, the demand for management grows, and the M.B.A. market is one of the easiest targets to go after,” says Dave Wilson, GMAC CEO. “Nowadays, companies can get a well-trained asset at a reasonable price.”
  • A BusinessWeek article, “2011 MBA Job Outlook Bright,” offers another positive look at the expanding MBA job market. This article focuses on summer internship hiring and the fact that 81% of b-school career officers surveyed said that they expected hiring to improve—that’s compared to 60% in 2009. Further research shows that on-campus recruitment is up, as are full-time job postings. 63% of schools reported an increase in recruiting; 70% saw a spike in job postings. One reason for the encouraging hiring picture, explains Nicole Hall, president of the MBA Career Services Council at Pepperdine Graziadio, is that business schools are changing their tactics to help their students secure employment. “B-schools have adapted to help students secure jobs,” she says. “The practice of aggressively promoting graduates to fill current openings at target companies is certain to continue even when the economy fully recovers as employers benefit through streamlined placements and students gain from connections to companies of interest.”
  • Yet another article, Poets & Quant‘s “MBA Jobs: From the Dark Days to a Happy Present,” celebrates the improved MBA job market. It traces the recent history from “those dark days at the heights of the Great Recession [when] people began to again debate the value of the MBA and whether the market would ever come back,” through the recovery, to the present, when MBA graduates are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. “We are seeing an extremely sharp uptick from virtually every sector that recruits our MBAs,” says director of Stanford’s Career Management Center, Pulin Sanghvi. “Most employers are coming back with sharply higher hiring numbers. There are parts of the economy right now that are really booming, particularly in tech, and that boom is creating even more jobs from the ecosystems around these companies.” The article provides survey data that suggests that on-campus recruiting and hiring is on the rise with significant increases from last year to this year. The last section of the article, “Harvard Now Teaches MBAs How to Fish and Doesn’t Fish for Them,” is particularly interesting—it focuses on the steps HBS has taken to equip its students with job-searching skills and resources. The job market may be improving, but the days of taking job offers for granted are long over

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February College News Round Up

See what the month of February brought to the college admissions news table!

  1. To assist in the job search during this challenging economic time, the University of Pennsylvania Career Services department is running full steam ahead to employ Penn graduates. Penn is now offering hundreds of job opportunities to graduates who are willing to stay on campus, says Patricia Rose, Career Services Director. Positions range from administration to finance to dentistry, veterinary, and more diverse fields, making these options appropriate for graduates of each of Penn’s four undergraduate colleges. These jobs come fully equipped with a wealth of employee benefits. (The Daily Pennsylvanian)
  2. How much work are college applicants expected to do? Tufts University now accepts YouTube videos as optional application material—that’s in addition to optional essays and, of course, Tufts famous “create something out of a sheet of paper” option. This year, about 1,000 out of 15,000 applicants created admissions videos. The New York Timescompares Tufts University to the University of Chicago in terms of their “quirky applications.” We particularly like Michael Klinker’s video about the flying elephant, Jumbo. Lee Coffin, director of undergraduate admissions at Tufts says, “At heart, this is all about a conversation between a kid and an admissions officer. You see their floppy hair and their messy bedrooms, and you get a sense of who they are. We have a lot of information about applicants, but the videos let them share their voice.”

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