The Occupy Wall Street Movement has invited Americans to reconsider the societal value of careers in finance, consulting, technology, and other industries that are typically associated with wealth. However, as recruiting season draws to a close, it appears that the appeal of those fields remains strong to Stanford’s student body.
“More students have been questioning whether this job is right for them,” said Lee Jackson ‘12, referring to the impact on banking related jobs of Occupy Wall Street and the Financial Crisis, “but just as many are still interested in the sector”.
Candidates Come Prepared
With interviews for some opportunities assessing students’ familiarity with technical skills, searching for a job often means ensuring at least a basic grasp of practical concepts
“You need to know your fundamentals if you’re going into Finance,” says Alex Hoffer ’13, President of the Blyth Fund. “This year’s candidates seemed better prepared on average,” he added, citing the increasing availability of online resources and an overall awareness of the recruiting process as possible factors.
“We offer a number of workshops,” said Lance Choy, Director of the Career Development Center on campus, referring to the CDC’s efforts to prepare students for the summer job search process. In addition to the CDC student groups seem to be taking an additional interest in preparing their member for the recruiting timeline, with Stanford Women in Business and Stanford Finance organizing speaker sessions and even a mock trading competition for students.
Master the Markets is another such initiative, led by Lee Jackson, bringing together students interested in economics and current affairs for fireside chat-style discussions led by Lee Jackson ‘12 every Sunday.
“We do hope the sessions help students with business related job interviews” said the Senior who will be joining Morgan Stanley later this year, “but we also just wanted a general forum where anybody interested in the markets and economic news could discuss these issues.”
The Internship application process typically runs from early December through March, although some of the largest firms in the country have early deadlines.
“I heard back from Google in December” says Mike Ponce ’13, who will be interning at the company’s Mountain View headquarters this summer.
Like many students interested in business related opportunities, the Management Science and Engineering major applied to multiple firms, but ultimately chose to work at Google where he also interned as a Sophomore last year.
“I’m interested in both technology and business” says the Junior, who picked a position on Google’s Business Development team over a Management Consulting internship at McKinsey Co**.**
Alumni A Valuable Resource**
While junior and seniors are often the most sought after by companies looking for Summer talent at Stanford, freshmen and sophomores often find fewer opportunities. Some companies have recently introduced specific programmers for first and second year undergraduates, including Google’s Practicum internship and J.P Morgan’s Analyst Training Program. For others however, “alumni are probably your best resource” says Hoffer, who was offered an opportunity by an alumnus his freshman year. The junior, who will working at Morgan Stanley this year, encouraged Freshman and Sophomore students to use the Alumni Website’s Career Connect platform that allows students to reach out to specific alum.
While the Career Development Center’s database has often served as the primary hub for employers to post opportunities and students to seek them out, more and more students are turning to alternative platforms that connect them with employers with fewer requirements.
“It can be difficult to put together new documents for every opportunity that requires a letters or references on the CDC database,” says Alejandro Sanchez ’15.
One company looking to solve this problem is Harvard based startup TheResumeDrop that partners with companies and requires a one-time resume submission from students. “Let the job come to you,” boasts the website, that currently only allows students from the Ivy League, MIT and Stanford create user profiles.
“It’s great because it streamlines the entire application process” said Nick Abram ‘15, a ResumeDrop user.
Ultimately, the summer is a time for students to gain practical exposure to their future career fields, a point both Hoffer and Ponce emphasized when talking about their past internship experiences.
“It can be easy to get caught up with what Stanford students think is popular” says Hoffer, “but you’ll be most successful applying to an area you’re passionate about.”
With the numbers for this year’s recruiting season still being tallied, it is yet to be seen whether specific careers are gaining traction among Stanford’s student body, and whether 2012 will prove anomalous to the Stanford penchant for banking, consulting, technology, and research jobs.