BusinessWeek reported some good news for business school students in the article, “MBA Internship Hiring Shows Signs of Life.” MBA internships, which have been harder to come by in recent years due to the recession, are perking back up to their pre-recession vitality.
Some MBA programs are seeing increases in summer internships of 10% or more “as companies seek to refill talent pipelines neglected during the economic downturn.”
A number of top business schools have reported significant increases in their internship hiring, including Northwestern Kellogg, CMU Tepper, Cornell Johnson, and Minnesota Carlson. Carlson reported one of the largest increases, from 35% last year to 57% this year. The only school to report a decline in internship hiring was Georgia Tech’s College of Management, and that was only down one percentage point (from 58% to 57%).
The article, which starts on an optimistic note, stresses that this optimism is of the “cautious variety.” While MBA hiring may be up since the recession hit in 2008, salaries, and especially year-over-year advances, are still not at pre-recession levels.
According to Jim Dixey, director of graduate business career services at Texas A&M’s Mays Business School, “Three years ago, one student with little experience was offered a position with a $129,000 annual salary, while another student, who considered the same position a year later, was offered $20,000 less. Although there is some money available to MBAs, there are fewer opportunities than before.”
Furthermore, recruiters are having trouble committing to hiring because of all the uncertainty in the world. An upcoming presidential election, Middle East uprisings, and the nuclear crisis in Japan, just to name a few, are forcing companies to refrain from heavy hiring.
On the upside, this uncertainty is causing employers to offer full-time positions and internships year-round, rather than in the fall and spring cycles exclusively. It is also encouraging students to play a more proactive role in their job searches. Networking, connecting with career services departments, and adjusting their priorities are all essential steps current MBA students must take if they want to secure jobs or internships.
Fred Staudmyer, Cornell Johnson’s assistant dean for career management, explains, “We have had to teach students to be more aggressive and better promote themselves in the market.”
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