Smaller School, Smaller Recruiting Chances

19 Mar

Browsing the Wall Street Journal online recently, I came across an article that caught my eye.  “Companies Size Up Options at Small Schools” talks about the troubles that smaller business schools face with attracting recruiters.  The article deals mostly with MBA recruiting, but the topic is still relevant.  I always considered Olin to be a rather small school, so I was intrigued by this article. As it turns out, some schools can have it worse.

Business schools must have exceptional qualities in order to attract recruiters.  This holds even more true for the smallest business schools.  The article points out that firms will visit small schools but only if they are ranked within the top 10 or 20 schools.  When I read this I breathed a sigh of relief, thankful for Olin’s high rankings.  Goldman Sachs’ global campus recruiting disputed the notion of size affecting their recruiting.  They said they chose schools based on “talent and proximity,” but that still means schools located farther away will be at a disadvantage.  Pair that with only 100 or so kids in your graduating class, and the odds get even slimmer.

Some small business schools find they do well in a niche job market.  For instance,  Texas A&M routinely sends many graduates into the energy and oil industry.  The trouble comes when students want to branch out beyond that.  Not many companies will fly out recruiters to a school that only has a handful of interested applicants. “Students were ‘absolutely not’ aware of how assertive they would need to be in the job hunt, says Mr. Donnelly who recently started a job with Exxon Mobil in Houston.”

Small business schools are coming up with unique ways to bypass their inherent disadvantage, however.  Pairing up with other schools to form joint recruiting events is one idea.  Emory’s Goizueta  Business School hosts recruiting events with a consortium of Southeastern graduate business schools.  This seemed like a particularly efficient idea to me.  Not only can small schools then expose their students to wider career fields, but also companies can recruit from several schools in one event.

So what can we Olin students do to maximize our internship and job search?  The answer lies in a combination of understanding your relevant job market and then making the moves on your own.

  • First, know what you want.   Narrow down your interests  into one or two majors/fields.  Don’t target only the most well-known firms in your fields,  but do know what kind of position you are looking for.
  • Assess the current situation.  Look on the company or Olin website to see if the industry hires from our school.  Search for alumni in the field on LinkedIn, and pay the Career Center a visit.
  • Reach out on your own.  Don’t be afraid to simply apply online.  I know of several friends who landed jobs and internships at prestigious companies by applying through the company’s HR online.

by Connie Chen

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