Thursday, February 12, 2009

Job Recruiting Down for MBA Grads

Not surprisingly, this week the Wall Street Journal ran a story about how business schools have seen a record drop-off in recruitment for internships and for full-time jobs.

According to a survey that the Journal conducted in January, 56% of career services offices said that on-campus recruiting was down more than 10% this winter. While that's not surprising, the trend seems to be accelerating: last fall only 12% estimated that recruiting was down vs. year ago. And activity on the schools' jobs boards is sluggish, with 50% of career offices reporting that activity was down more than 10%, and 20% saying that job-posting activity was down more than 20%.

If you're applying to business school now, or are getting ready to apply soon, the obvious questions are: What does this mean for you? Should you apply to business school now? As we always tell our admissions consulting clients at Veritas Prep, going back to the school (or NOT going back to school) just because of the economy doesn't make sense. And, if you have a good job right now, the thought of leaving it for an uncertain future can be intimidating. However, know that these downturns typically last no more than 2-3 years, meaning that, by the time you would graduate in 2011 or 2012, the odds are pretty good that the job market will once again return to form.

I have personally walked in these shoes. I applied to business school in 2001/2002, right as the coming recession was compounded by the shock of 9/11 to create headlines about worsening job prospects and rescinded job offers for MBAs. By the time I graduated from Kellogg in 2004, the job market was once again pretty robust, and we battle-hardened second-year students regaled jaded first-years with tales about how rough we had it back in the day. Fast-forward three years, and the Kellogg Management Center again had to enforce rules to keep recruiters from not overdoing it on campus.

My point? The job market is always cyclical. While this is a particularly rough cycle, especially for someone who will graduate this spring, the job market will bounce back. It may take a while, but it will bounce back.