How You Should Spend Your First Summer After College

Study on the BeachOkay, so you’ve just finished up your first year of college. It was (hopefully) awesome and you (hopefully) learned a lot, but now it’s time for summer. Glorious summer! Throughout middle and high school, summer vacation was always the peak of the year – a time to relax and enjoy the company of old friends without the incessant demands of school.

Now that you’re a college student, though, things can seem a little different. All of a sudden, you might feel pressure from your family, friends, or classmates to use your summer in a certain way. This often manifests itself in the form of pressure to further your career prospects via an internship, fellowship, or job shadowing.

While doing this may be important, it is not the only worthwhile way you can spend your first summer out of college. It is important to remember that it is your summer – not anyone else’s – so what you choose to do with it should be a reflection of the values that are important to you.

When you don’t let any narrative or stereotype limit what you feel you are “supposed” to do with your first summer, you will be more free to make the best choice available to you. There are 3 main ways that you can use this first summer, each of which have merits and drawbacks that I’ll explore below:

1) Summer Job
One classic way to pass the long summer hours is with a summer job. This can take many forms, such as scooping ice cream, being a camp counselor, working as a cashier, and much more. Businesses are always looking for young people to fill positions, so it’s likely that you’ll be able to find some form of work.

These jobs may not pay high wages, but they can be a great source of income, both to chip away at outrageous college debts or to just have some fun money to spend during the summer. They will also add work experience to your resume, and give you real-world skills that can be valuable outside of just that specific job.

2) Internship
Even though the pressure to find elite internships is often excessive, internships can be a valuable use of your time in the summer. Internships can connect you with career opportunities, help you learn what jobs are of interest to you, and give you skills that might be valuable down the road. However, internships are often unpaid, meaning that doing one is likely a long-term, rather than a short-term, investment in yourself. There are some paid internships out there (Go get one if you can!), but these are a rarity.

If possible, combining an internship with a part-time summer job can be a good way to have the best of both worlds – gain career skills while also raising money – but this can sometimes take too much time out of your summer, a time when you should be able to decompress after the rigors of college rather than add to your stress level.

3) Travel and Relaxation
College students are in a unique position, in that even though they are close to the “real world,” they still can put off searching for careers, if only for a little while. One great way to use your youth is to travel with friends or family to see new places or revisit childhood destinations. You’ll meet friends from all over the world in college, and summer is a great time to really see where they come from.

If you don’t have the opportunity to travel, you can also use your summer to completely relax. Without homework or classes, you will have time to read books, go on adventures, and give your brain a well-deserved break. Although this won’t earn you money or directly prepare you for a career, it can help clear you head and put you in a good position to continue learning from, and enjoying, your college experience.

Each of these ways of spending your summer has different values and benefits, so there is no way to definitely rank which one is best. Ultimately, there is no right or wrong answer – anything you choose to do over your summer vacation can work out if you approach it with the right mindset.

Do you still need to help with your college applications? We can help! Visit our College Admissions website and fill out our FREE Profile Evaluation for personalized feedback on your unique background! And as always, be sure to follow us on Facebook, YouTube, Google+, and Twitter!

By Aidan Calvelli.

Get a Jump Start On Landing Your Perfect MBA Internship

One thing that many business school students underestimate is just how quickly the recruiting process ramps up when school starts. Depending on your school, you might find yourself attending company information sessions and interacting with recruiters during your first week of class! Will you be ready?

Veritas Prep is excited to partner with Career Cadence to offer The MBA Career Academy. This 1-day workshop will launch you into your career search and give you the competitive edge, before you walk on campus.

The MBA Career Academy is a 1-day workshop that will launch you into your career search and give you the competitive edge, before you walk on campus. The program was designed by MBAs and refined working with hundreds of people. It not only gives you skills, confidence, and clarity, it also provides the opportunity for you to ask any question you want – including the ones you might be afraid to ask at school.
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Networking Your Way into a Job in Business School and Beyond

Wondering how you can maximize the benefit of your MBA investment? Prospective and current MBA students are increasingly concerned with how they can distinguish themselves among their peers in an increasingly competitive post-MBA job market. According to a recent survey of over 250 current MBA students and graduates, the overwhelming majority of respondents noted that “networking” was the number one way that they could improve their job prospects and career search success. While it is certainly important for prospective MBAs to choose a program that fits their learning objectives and professional interests, current MBAs advise prospective students to take into consideration the strength of each program’s networking opportunities.
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More Good News on the Job Front for MBA Grads

MBA JobsAfter what has seemed like years of asking “Thing are bound to get better, right?” the job market is finally, undoubtedly warming up for business school graduates. Earlier this week the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) released a pair of annual international surveys that show that the Class of 2011 is having an easier time landing jobs than grads of recent years, and that employers are bullish on their future hiring plans.

Perhaps the purest litmus test is the percentage of job-seeking students who land jobs before they graduate. Here we see a definite improvement in the 2011 GMAC Global Management Education Graduate Survey results, with 54% of students reporting they had at least one job offer in March (when the survey was conducted), compared to just 32% of those surveyed at the same time last year. For full-time, two-year MBA students, this number is the highest it’s been since 2008.
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More Evidence That the MBA Job Market Is Warming Up

MBA AdmissionsToday the Graduate Management Admission Council issued a release declaring the MBA job market to be on the mend, with 2010 average compensation levels for gradates from the last decade rising above levels seen in 2007. Last year the median base salary for surveyed alumni was greater than $94,500, a gain of more than $5,000 per year compared to pre-recession base salary levels in 2007.

More grads seemed to land jobs, too: 93% of those surveyed said that they were employed, compared to just 90% of the recent grads who were surveyed in 2009 (although it’s still a tick lower than the 95% of alumni who reported being employed in 2007). So, is it safe to come out from our bunkers and declare the job market robust again?
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The ABA Urges People to Consider the ROI of a Law Degree (Sort Of)

Law School Admissions
The ABA put out a statement... Wait, not this ABA?
Last week news spread around the blogosphere and some major media sites that the American Bar Association (ABA) had put out an official statement urging students to carefully consider the return on investment when thinking about attending law school. Sounds like a smart, responsible thing for the ABA to do, given the number of recent JD grads still looking for work and some of the negative attention that law schools have received in recent years for not being upfront enough with prospective students about their post-graduation job prospects.

The only catch, as Above the Law pointed out last week, the ABA actually published that document back in November, 2009. Maybe it took a while for the message to sink in?
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Job Prospects Get Better for MBA Graduates

MBA Admissions
This recent grad is willing to calculate CAPM for food.
Could the job market finally be thawing for MBA graduates? It is at least a little bit, according to new survey results that the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) released last week. Eighty-eight percent of the grads who responded to the survey reported being employed after graduation, compared to 84% of survey respondents in 2009. The salary picture also improved: 2010 graduates reported a median starting salary of $78,820 (U.S.), up from $75,000 for those who graduated in 2009.
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The Economy, MBA Application Fence Sitters, And You

Recently the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) released its annual report analyzing admissions trends at business schools around the world. Interestingly, while most of us tend to associate a weak economy with ever-rising applicant numbers, that trend seems to have sputtered out for the current recession.

According to the GMAC report, half of the 665 graduate management programs surveyed reported an increase in application numbers, while about 40% actually reported a decrease in applications, compared to the previous year. So, have people finally given up on the MBA as a fallback option when the economy gets soft?

That may partly be true, although a more realistic answer is that, since this particular recession has lasted longer than most, it’s tapped out as a source for additional applicants. Normally the first year after a recession hits is when schools see the largest surge in applications, when a little “pent-up demand” for advanced degrees gets released and people look for additional options as the job market gets soft. At any given time, there are thousands of applicants who are one the fence about applying. Some of them keep saying “Maybe next year” and never actually apply, while some who were about to say “Maybe next year” see their job prospects getting worse and say, “I’d better take the GMAT and start working on applying to business school.”

As these “Maybe next year” applicants come off the sidelines, they pile on top of the normal wave of applicants that passes through business school every year — the typical young professionals who are three to five years out of college and are ready to pursue an MBA. Add it all up, and you have an abnormally large applicant pool. But, this pool of “fence sitters” only runs so deep, and it essentially gets tapped out after one or two application cycles. That’s probably what we’re seeing now.

This is especially true for more general two-year management programs, which are often the most inviting for “fence sitters.” According to the GMAC report:

More two-year full-time programs (49 percent) showed a decrease than an increase (41 percent) in application volume, continuing declines seen in 2009. In both the US and Asia-Pacific region, where most full-time programs are two-year, roughly four out of 10 full-time programs saw increases. Fifty-three percent of US full-time programs reported application declines.

Meanwhile, more specialized programs, which tend to be less inviting to the more casual “Will I or won’t I?” applicant, reported a healthy rise in application numbers overall:

More than 60 percent of master-level programs in finance, accounting, and management, which traditionally draw younger students than MBA programs, reported application increases, with the average volume increasing last year by 20 percent or more.

If you’re applying to business school this year, what does this mean for you? Not a whole lot, as we wrote last month, although applicants always like to hear that they have less competition, not more. As the economy eventually (hopefully?!?) improves, application numbers will likely continue to decline, as that pool of “fence sitters” re-stocks itself for the next recession, which will come sooner or later.

Plan on applying to a top MBA program this year? Veritas Prep now offers the ability to start working with an admissions consultant today and pay over time. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Law School, Hunger Strikes, and Transparency

The blogging world has been abuzz over the “Unemployed JD” scandal that broke out this week. In case you missed it, a blogger named Ethan Haines who runs a blog dedicated to crusading for better transparency on the part of law school when it comes to employment data, actually turned out to be Denver-based Zenovia Evans, an employed 28-year-old graduate of Cooley Law School in Michigan.

While everyone is more hung up on on the fact that Evans tried to rally people around a cause in a disingenuous way, we think that the assumptions behind her demands are somewhat misguided. When Evans (posing as Ethan Haines, an unemployed JD) contacted 10 law schools and told them about “his” crusade, he asked them to commit to new standards of transparency on their job placement statistics and to agree to letting Haines audit their career counseling programs.

Those standards came from another group, calling itself Law School Transparency, which maintains that by misrepresenting or under-reporting their job placement stats, law school essentially dupe students into enrolling under the false impression they will inevitably land lucrative jobs.

Even if Haines/Evans/whatever-we’re-calling-her-now got her way, we’re not sure that it would make much of a difference. We don’t want to give it all away yet, but in a recent survey of law school applicants that Veritas Prep conducted in partnership with Law School Podcaster and PreLaw Magazine, an overwhelming percentage (81%) of respondents said that they would still apply to law school now even if a significant number of law school graduates were unable to find jobs in their desired fields! Further, only 4% said they would not apply to law school at all if they knew job prospects that bad. (We will share the full results of the survey shortly!)

While we certainly will join the crusade against any school that deliberately misleads people and tricks them into applying (*cough*… for-profit online schools, we’re looking your way…), even if schools replaced their glossy web sites with black & white photos of somber, jobless grads, we actually think that many would-be applicants would still apply to law school.

Why? We answer that question with another one: Why not? The reality is that, for many young people, law school (and business school, to some extent) has become an inevitable weight station on the road to real life. Is the economy in shambles? Great! Even more reason to hide out in grad school for two or three years. While the obvious downside is that many of those students will graduate with a nearly insurmountable amount of debt, most of them don’t see it that way. Either Mom and Dad will pick up the tab, or the applicant assumes that the economy will inevitably be better in a couple of years, or they would just not rather think about it today. (Or, even better, maybe Uncle Sam will bail us all out one day! That would be a hoot.)

Don’t get us wrong… Transparency is always a good thing. We’re glad that publications such as U.S. News have recently taken a stand against law schools gaming the rankings by deliberately withholding their employment data. But, for better or worse, we predict young people will keep applying to law school in droves.

For more information on law school admissions, visit our law school admissions site or call us at (800) 925-7737 to speak with an admissions expert. And, as always, be sure to find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Photo courtesy of LollyKnit, under a Creative Commons license. And no, that’s not a picture of Zenovia Evans.

GMAC Says New MBAs Growing More Confident About the Economy

Despite an employment environment that remains stubborn, new MBA grads are growing more confident about the economy, according to a new survey released by GMAC this week. Somewhat surprisingly, this increase in optimism actually comes despite a drop in the percentage of grads who have jobs compared to last year.

According to the latest GMAC Graduate Management Education Graduate Survey, the percentage of full-time two-year MBA program grads who had an offer of employment prior to finishing school dropped to 40% this year, down from 50% in 2009. The numbers are even worse for part-time MBAs: 22% of part-time grads had a job offer before graduation, down from 38% in 2009.


Despite these gloomy numbers, about one-third of grads who said they felt the global economy is stable or strong, up from just 9% a year ago. So, what gives? How could optimism bounce back while the job picture actually gets worse by some measures?

GMAC’s news release was mostly mum on this matter, although it may simply be a matter of “bad news fatigue,” and our tendency to doubt that things can stay this bad for that long. Hardly any MBA grads (other than perhaps a handful of older part-time MBAs) are old enough to remember the last time the U.S. or global economy last went through an extended rough patch, in the late 1970s. So, for most of these grads, two years into a recession, one can’t help but ask, “This thing has to be over soon, doesn’t it?”

That’s just one theory. It could also be that they’re going on more than just faith. They may notice that more companies are returning to campuses to interact with students, even if the job offers aren’t yet flowing more yet. GMAC echoed this idea in its announcement, mentioning that the increased optimism among graduates mirrors the trend highlighted in the GMAC Corporate Recruiters Survey, which found that employers are finally shifting their attention back to expanding their businesses.

Thinking of applying to business school this year? Give us a call at (800) 925-7737 and speak with one of our business school admissions experts today. And, as always, be sure to subscribe to this blog and follow us on Twitter!

MBA Job Market Still Gloomy, But Improving

Free Business School GuidesLast week the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) announced the results of a new employer survey that suggests that while the job market for MBA grads is still rough, we may finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. The reason for the optimism? The percentage of employers planning to hire MBA is up this year compared with 2009, although the number of new hires per company is expected to decline slightly.

After a sharp drop in stated hiring intentions last year (down to 50%), in this year’s survey about 55% of employers who participated in the GMAC Corporate Recruiters Survey said they planned to hire new MBA grads this year. What may be even more promising for the job market is that employers also indicated they may finally be shifting away from cost-cutting in favor of trying to grow their businesses again.


In a statement that accompanied the release of the survey results, GMAC President Dave Wilson said:

“Employers have spoken clearly. The intrinsic value they place on the skills people develop in business school does not rise and fall just because the economy does. Management talent is always critical to the well-being of any organization, and as conditions improve, employers will find ways to acquire more of that talent.”

So, if you’re in business school now or plan to apply to an MBA program this year, you may actually land a good job when you graduate, after all. However, it may take a while for MBA grads’ salaries to start growing again. A separate GMAC survey found that only 40% of full-time, two-year MBA program graduates had at least one job offer before finishing school, down from 50% in 2009. And, the number of job offers reported by the grads who participated in this study declined by about 13% from the previous year. (By the way, our 100% free Annual Reports provide job placement info and much more, for 15 of the world’s top MBA programs.)

So, although companies are saying the right things, there still remains a large number of new and and recent grads looking for MBA-level work. As long as that glut of talent is out there, salaries for new MBA grads probably won’t grow much. But, “Will I get a job??” is still the primary question on most business school students’ minds, and for the first time in a while, the answer to this question looks to be turning toward the affirmative.

If you’re starting to plan your MBA candidacy, call us at (800) 925-7737 and speak with one of our MBA admissions today. And, be sure to subscribe to this blog and follow us on Twitter!

Business Schools Pound the Pavement for MBA Job Seekers

Business School Admissions
Recently the Yale Daily News ran an article about how the Yale SOM alumni network has matured to the point where current students benefit from the wide variety of Yale alumni across industries. This is notable since the school has only been around since 1976 — making it a spring chicken compared to most top MBA programs.

However, as good as that news is for Yale students, what we found even more impressive is how the school’s own administration — all the way up to Dean Sharon Oster — hasn’t hesitated to make personal appeals to the school’s alumni and supporters, in the name of helping students find jobs in a tough economy.


According to the Yale Daily News:

In an e-mail to all SOM alumni, Oster called on the school’s graduates to step up and help current students, recent graduates and even other alumni seeking jobs and internships.

“Although the economy seems to be showing signs of improvement, most of my faculty colleagues agree that we’re not out of the woods yet,” Oster wrote in the e-mail. “The strength of the SOM community is most visible in times of adversity, and so I am writing to you now to tap into some of that strength.”

Within a few hours, Oster had received hundreds of responses.

We love this kind of commitment to helping Yale students find jobs. After all, as important as a student’s two years in the classroom are, at least as important are the professional opportunities that an MBA opens up for that student. Some schools were a little slow to remember this (in our opinion) as the economy started to sink in 2008, but it’s great to see that this is not the case in 2010.

Of course, when Yale SOM makes news, our co-founders (both Yale SOM ’02) are always happy to weigh in! Veritas Prep co-founder Chad Troutwine was quoted in the article, and he cheered Oster’s actions:

Chad Troutwine SOM ’02, the co-founder and owner of test operations and admissions consulting company Veritas Prep, said he was glad to receive Oster’s message.

“I’m always impressed with a dean who rolls up her sleeves and dives in to perform what is perhaps her most important function

Signs of Green Shoots in the MBA Job Market?

MBA Admissions
In a recent Reuters article, MIT Sloan students had a rather optimistic outlook on the job market, considering how gloomy it has been for the past couple of years. As they returned from their annual “Tech Treck” job trips, in which they visit employers all over the United States, students expressed that they think the worst of the bad job market is behind us.

It sounds as though companies — especially the more tech-oriented ones that Sloan students visit — could finally start hiring again this year. While it will likely be a while before companies again start hiring at the levels that MIT Sloan and other top business schools have grown accustomed to, it sounds like the trend is clearly positive.


According to the article:

“Our MBAs are unbowed, and they came back with a lot of gusto,” said Sloan adviser Paul Denning, who has made the trek to California for several years. “The general consensus is that things are better, particularly in Silicon Valley.”

Last year, Denning said, even tech giant Google, “was really not hiring. Everything had contracted after the financial market collapse.” Now, green shoots are popping up.

Like those of other top business schools, MIT Sloan graduates find themselves choosing among multiple six-figure job offers, but that changed last year, when even healthy and growing companies such as Google significantly cut back on the number of Sloan grads that it hired. Now, as companies expect demand to warm up and some spot opportunities that they will need managerial talent to go after, grads at Sloan and other top business schools can expect the job offers to start flowing again, at least more than they did last year.

For MBA students who will graduate this year, many of whom still hope to land jobs before they graduate this spring, the news that some companies are ready to hire again is obviously a very welcome sign. It’s even better news for the Class of 2011, though — assuming they can find some sort of meaningful internship work this coming summer, they still have at least a year’s more time for the economy to warm up again before they they need to find full-time work. And, the job market for today’s applicants (the Class of 2012) looks even rosier, assuming that a steady thaw continues.

For more advice on your own candidacy for MIT Sloan or any other top business school, call the MBA admissions experts at Veritas Prep at (800) 925-7737, and we’ll gladly give you an initial assessment of your candidacy!

Is Grad School the Last Resort for Generation Y?

Grad School Admissions
In an article on Forbes.com yesterday, Deb Weinstein reports that jobless grads are increasingly turning to grad school as a backup option in the face of dismal job prospects, even though some of their possible post-school job prospects are also disappearing.

As we’ve reported here before, both of the GRE and the GMAT have seen growth in the number of tests taken in the U.S. over the past year — 13% and 4.9%, respectively. (Some of that GRE growth may have come from more business schools increasingly accepting the GRE.) Even more impressively, the LSAT saw a 20% jump in the number of tests taken in 2009 vs. 2008. This comes while some big law firms are actually paying their new hires to take a year off.


But the growth doesn’t stop there. Even journalism schools have seen record numbers of applications this past year, even as the publishing industry has shed 90,000 jobs and more than 100 newspapers have shut down. Why would these people all rush back to school now?

The obvious answer is that, although their job prospects may not be especially bright when they graduate, these young grads would rather take their chances in the job market in two or three years, rather than now. Even if the job market isn’t significantly better in 2012, then at least these folks will come out of school armed with additional skills, certifications, and contacts, making their reentry into the job market a little easier (at least in theory).

Also, human nature steers us toward a “I’ll worry about it later” mentality — even if they don’t end up being any better off in a couple of years, at least getting into grad school will give these young people the luxury of being able to hide out on campus and not quite yet have to face the real world. Sometimes, especially when the economy is rough, this can be grad school’s biggest appeal (especially when Mom and Dad pay for it!).

If you’re thinking about graduate school and want more help in getting into business school, law school, or medical school, call us at (800) 925-7737 and speak with a Veritas Prep admissions expert today!

In a Rough Job Market, Some Business Schools Fare Better than Others


Last week BusinessWeek ran an article titled “MBAs Confront a Savage Job Market,” which painted a pretty rough picture for many grads of top MBA programs. At some top business schools, as many as 20% of grads were still unemployed three months after graduation. Furthermore, according to BusinessWeek, 16.5% of job-seeking students from the top 30 MBA programs did not get even one offer within three months of graduation (compared to 5% for the Class of 2008).

Salary numbers also suggested that the job market for MBAs isn’t great: Starting pay was down from about $98,000 in 2008 to $96,500 this year. For many of the top-30 business schools, this is the first time since the the dot-com crash that salaries haven’t increased, adding to the evidence that this is truly a once-in-a-generation (or once-in-a-decade?) downturn.


Fortunately for some grads, though, the world of top-30 business schools is not universally gloomy. Some schools’ career offices have been able to direct their students into more stable industries, such as government, health care, energy, and the non-profit sector. While becoming a mid-level government bureaucrat may not quite hold the same appeal as being a six-figure-making banker, many grads have opened their eyes and realized that these sectors are where the jobs are right now, and are taking these jobs when they can.

In other cases, hiring did happen, although it happened later than it normally does. The Kellogg School of Management, for instance, reported that 85% of of its grads received at least one offer, although many students received offers late in the spring — months later than they normally would. (To learn more about the Kellogg School of Management, download our free Veritas Prep Kellogg Annual Report.)

Other top schools have also been able to weather the storm pretty well. BusinessWeek ranked the schools in terms of how well they’ve held up job-wise in the recession, with Yale, Washington University, HBS, Stanford, and MIT Sloan coming out on top. At Yale, for example, only 8% of grads were without any job offers three months after graduation, just two percentage points higher than a year ago. While not all of these placed grads ended up in the careers they envisioned when they first applied to business school, you can be sure that they’re glad to have jobs at all.

If you’re just now starting to research business schools, download our 15 free Veritas Prep Annual Reports. If you’re ready to craft your own winning application, call us at 800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today!