Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Science and Strategy of College Recruiting

A good article by a Yale senior about why so many of her classmates end up in consulting and finance – the effective recruiting.  Teach for America has figured this out, but few other ed organizations have…

Each fall, our country's top-tier banks and consulting firms cram New Haven's best hotels with the best and brightest to lure them with a series of superlatives: the greatest job, the most money, the easiest application, the fanciest popcorn.

They're good at it. They're unbelievably, remarkably, terrifyingly good at it. Every year around 25 percent of employed Yale graduates enter the consulting and finance industries. At Harvard and Stanford, the numbers are even higher.

When I arrived at Yale as an eager 18 year old, I had never even heard of consulting or I-banking. And to be honest, I still didn't totally understand the function of a hedge fund. But what I do understand is that students here have passion. Passion for public service and education policy and painting and engineering and entrepreneurialism. Standing outside a freshman dorm, I couldn't find a single student aspiring to be a banker – but at commencement this May, there's a 50 percent chance I'll be sitting next to one. This strikes me as incredibly sad.

So what happens? Sometime between freshman fall and senior spring, an insane number of students decide – one way or another – that entering the banking industry makes a whole lot of sense. A few weeks ago I interviewed over 20 Yalies to try to figure out why.

What I found was somewhat surprising: the clichéd pull of high salaries is only part of the problem. Few college seniors have any idea how to "get a job," let alone what that job would be. Representatives from the consulting and finance industries come to schools early and often – providing us with application timelines and inviting us to information sessions in individualized e-mails. We're made to feel special and desired and important.


The Science and Strategy of College Recruiting


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