In an Oct. 11 op-ed published by the Stanford Daily, Teryn Norris and Eli Pollack argued against Wall Street recruitment at Stanford. They claimed that the CDC and the university in general favors financial industry firms in the campus recruiting process.
“To this day, career development offices accept donations from the wealthiest banks in exchange for special recruitment access,” they wrote.
Lance Choy, director of the Career Development Center’s Career Counseling program at Stanford, responded to some of these claims. “We have a partnership program in which a number of companies participate, including banks,” Choy stated.
The Partners Program offers employers access to resources on campus during the recruiting process. Program levels range from $10,000 per year for a platinum membership to just $2,000 per year for a silver membership.
“The partnership program has helped provide more structure to [banks’] efforts,” stated Choy. “Probably the biggest advantage that the partnership program provides is access to interviewing rooms.”
“The partnership program controls the number of rooms companies can reserve and helps with the competition for interview dates,” he continued.
Other benefits for platinum members include an exclusive Cardinal Recruiting day, premier tables at career fairs, and unlimited email distribution to targeted students and alumni.
The money received from companies taking part in the Partners Program is used to fund other CDC services. “Regarding the banks, the partnership program has brought more order to the chaos,” Choy stated. “In the process of creating more structure, the CDC has been able to generate revenue to fund other important services.”
But not all employers participate in the Partners Program. Organizations like Teach for America, Sotheby’s, and the Foreign Service can participate in some recruiting at no cost. Additionally, “public service organizations receive a special discounted registration rate,” at career fairs, according to Choy.
Anton Zietsman, a columnist for The Review who has gone through the financial recruiting process at Stanford, explained, “[T]he Stanford community goes out of its way to emphasize alternative employment opportunities, whether through SIG fellowships, Haas fellowships, research positions, or TFA.” He believes that the financial firm recruiting process is well developed and so popular among students, that the CDC is right in not providing additional aid to these firms during the recruiting process.
“We should be careful not to equate an established and well-run recruiting process with unfair access to students,” Zietsman stated.
But Norris and Pollack specifically argued against the CDC’s involvement with Goldman Sachs even after it was being investigated for its trading practices.
“In general, as long as a company complies with Federal and State employment laws, they can recruit at Stanford,” Choy responded. “Students can make their own decisions whether a company meets their expectations.”
When asked if the financial industry has undue influence over Stanford students in the recruiting process, Choy responded, “There’s a lot of different factors influencing students. As I mentioned before, students need to start earlier and begin to explore different career and think about what they want from a career.”
“For some, finance is a great option for them,” he continued. “For others, finance seems to be a convenient option, a path of least resistance.”
When asked if financial recruiting should be limited on campus, Zietsman replied, “Absolutely not…If you want less students to go into finance or consulting out of college, the answer is to work on the students, not the firms.”
“Of all places, I don’t [think] Stanford is one where we need to be worried about the ‘undue influence’ of financial firms,” he stated. “There is a strong culture of public service on this campus and taking these sorts of jobs already carries significant stigma.”