A recent article in Time described the worsening job prospects for business school students in light of the economic downturn. At schools that just a year ago were begging their students to honor their job interview commitments, some second-year students are now worried if they’ll receive any job offers by the time they graduate next spring.
Heads of career services offices at many top schools all describe the same attitude among employers: “Wait and see.” Many companies have instituted headcount freezes, and even at ones that haven’t, hiring managers are being given fewer offers to make. Today they’re much more afraid of hiring too many MBA grads than hiring too few — they know that they’ll always be able to go back to campus in early 2009 and pick up a few more new hires if they need to.
What can business school students do? Proactive job seekers are looking beyond the on-campus recruiting process to find opportunities on their own. And they’re also widening their job search to consider careers outside of banking ans consulting. Joining a smaller firm may come back into fashion as some companies that normally couldn’t make much impact at a top school find that many grads now eagerly attend their information sessions.
The worst time to be in school is right when the economy takes a turn for the worse — there’s nothing like having a job offer rescinded. For people who apply to business school this year, though, the question is: What will the economy look like in two or three years? That’s anyone’s guess, but here’s hoping that the worst of the unpleasant surprises are behind us.