With a number of career fairs behind it this spring, including the MBA/MS “Just in Time Hiring Event” on February 15, 2008, Career Management Services (CMS) personnel in the College of Business Administration have been looking at what the possible arrival of a recession might mean for students and soon-to-be graduates seeking employment.
“At a recent MBA Focus-sponsored conference for top business schools and employers, I learned that firms are looking at undergraduates more than at MBAs,” said Barry Shiflett, director of the college’s Career Management Services office. “MBAs must have experience if they are to be competitive in today’s job market.”
Shiflett said the technology sector seems to be a steady bet, but that some cutbacks were projected to take place in investment banking, finance, and consulting.
“Permanent hires must come through a firm’s summer internship programs,” he said. “Otherwise, they won’t have a chance at many positions, as these are going to experienced candidates.”
Shiflett also noted that many companies today are not willing to risk hiring foreign nationals in the U.S. on visas. “Foreign nationals must have experience not found in U.S. candidates,” he said.
Imani Fredricks-Lowman, associate director, placement and external relations, Career Services Office, Florida International University, has not seen a decline in numbers of employers attending the university’s career fairs and campus recruitment programs, but “there has been a lot of talk in the media about a recession, and we continue to focus on career development and management so our graduates will be competitive regardless of the market.”
According to Job Outlook 2008, a report by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), at all degree levels, business graduates are among those that continue “to generate the most interest among employers.”
Recruiters like those from Caterpillar fielded questions from interested students.
“The market still looks good for service industry positions, engineering, and computer related fields,” Fredricks-Lowman said. “Many of our students look for entry-level jobs, still a strong area. Also, our many bilingual students and those with work experience have an advantage.”
According to Miguel Lantigua, UPS Human Resources Supervisor, South Florida District, the number of positions “has stayed about the same since the fall,” and Luis Almodovar (IMBA ’05), talent management specialist, Burger King Corporation, also has seen hiring stay steady.
“We’re just-in-time hiring, so we have positions opening up and closing on a consistent basis, and we see all areas within the company continuing to stay strong,” Almodovar said.
From the job seekers’ perspective, Puneet Sawhney, a student in the International MBA (IMBA) program, found a number of consulting opportunities, and Ashley Boot, an IMBA/Master of Science in Finance (MSF) student working to land a job with a bank, particularly in private wealth management, found several companies to talk to about internships.