Monday, November 10, 2008

Dispatches from the job front

Just a quickie to keep myself from falling out of habit for too long.

Last week I did two all-day conferences which were surprisingly tiresome - especially when smooshed into my pre-preg suits which barely contain my new physique. Wednesday found me puking on the side walk on my way home after a long IMG conference (depleted by endless hours of market prognostications) and dead to the world on the couch all evening. I am entering into hibernation mode.

Anyhow, there was a request to hear more about the job front (recruiting, the career office, how folks are dealing with the bad environment). So let's start there.

Recruiting (from a 2nd year perspective - not sure how the 1st years are faring but then it doesn't matter so much for them)

As I've mentioned before, it has everything to do with your industry of choice. Banking and investment management are completely devastated. Few employers are showing up on campus and some might not even hire at all after interviewing. The other industries seem to be holding up much better and I hear that general management is taking this moment to load up on folks who would have otherwise passed on these positions. So all hope is not lost ... if your main objective is to just be employed. But I imagine most of us hoped for a little more than that. I'm always shocked when I hear about folks securing positions - it's so bad in my industry I forgot that employment was even possible. So I have a particularly bad vantage point, as you can see, because people are getting offers.

Another thing I've been learning about lately is how hard this is on the international students. Apparently, very few employers will hire, or even interview, students without U.S. work authorization which is making an even bad situation much worse for my poor international classmates. It seems absurd and completely unfair and I feel really bad for them. Future international students, this is definitely something to investigate in your To MBA search.

Recruiting bottom line - it's not completely dead, people are accepting offers, but only the minority are coming out with their dream positions.

GSB Career Office

I don't interact much at all with the career office as a second year. During the first year there was a lot of programming and resume reviews, interview prep, etc. I feel like they try to keep us up to date on the recruiting status and cheer us up. Definitely seem ready and willing to help (to the extent possible) should one feel the need to call on them. I just haven't felt like there is much they can do for me, so have not taken them up on this. So not much new to add there, but definitely nothing negative.

Survival techniques

I think this is definitely a time when folks are working on plan B, C and D and pursuing options they were not considering coming into school. Many have accepted summer offers that they might have otherwise passed on. While many are actively chasing the on campus options this fall, some of us have decided not to worry about it until spring when hopefully there might be some more clarity on the world economic outlook and employers might be beginning to unthaw a bit. Networking and seeking out off campus opportunities, always a good game plan, is becoming all the more necessary. It feels a bit strange not to be actively looking, like I am missing out on something obvious, but there doesn't seem to be any point in trying to find a job right now in my case ... and for many others.

I assume it will all work out but it won't be easy. Do I think an MBA is still worth it in this environment? A qualified yes. I think that an MBA doesn't make sense for every career but generally the connections and opportunities (even if much slimmer these days) are never more valuable if not in the midst of a super crap economy.

Until next time.

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