Traditional on-campus recruiting is exclusive and expensive
Claremont students are undoubtedly familiar with job recruitment emails, newsletters, and pamphlets around campus. Recruiting at the 5Cs is vigorous and often obvious, but it doesn’t equally represent all industries.
Last November, Yale senior Marina Keegan wrote an op-ed for the New York Times in which she argued that the recruitment system on her campus influences graduating seniors to step away from socially productive or beneficial industries and instead go into banking and finance.
“Is working for a bank inherently evil?” Keegan deliberates in her article. “Probably not. But the fact that such a large percentage of students at top-tier schools enter an industry that isn’t contributing, creating or improving much of anything saddens me.”
The Claremont Colleges do not go unnoticed by corporations and firms hoping to choose from some of the best and the brightest in the nation. The Pomona College Career Development Office reports over 500 on-campus recruiters per year at Pomona alone, and with our wide range of academic backgrounds and focuses attracting a variety of different industries, the grand total is undoubtedly much higher.
Recruit on Campus? Pay a Fee.
Recruiters have a one-stop website where they can peruse what Claremont has to offer – Claremont Colleges Advantage. Here, they find an array of reasons why they should recruit at the 5Cs (“Talented candidates at top ranked undergraduate and graduate schools…Quantitatively skilled candidates with a liberal arts perspective”), as well as ways to get started and preliminary pricing information. While information sessions and emails to the general student bodies are free, career fairs are not. Harvey Mudd, for example, charges $3,000 a year for their “Corporate Partnership Program” which includes registration for two job/internships fairs, access to résumé books, sponsorship of a career event, and more.
Of the companies recruiting on campus, the majority come from industries that heavily use on-campus recruiting, such as finance, consulting, investment banking, business, and engineering. Most of these types of companies are well represented at college recruitment fairs. “They are the ones that have traditions in on-campus recruiting, that’s why they’re here,” said Kerry Martin, Assistant Director of Alumni Career Services at Pomona College.
Art galleries, non-profits and smaller, independent firms are less likely to engage in that sort of on-campus recruitment because they simply do not have the resources or the infrastructure to compete with these larger, capital-rich companies, explained Martin. Or, perhaps these industries do not need to come to Claremont to attract applicants. “These aren’t areas that need to recruit on campus…because they get thousands of unsolicited resumes,” concluded Martin.
Consequently, the more established companies are more pervasive in the on-campus recruitment culture, easily targeting students in a variety of academic disciplines as potential future employees. Recruiters have meals with students, set up booths to talk up their industry, and publicize internship opportunities. This sets students up to be more informed about the careers offered by these industries than others, ultimately making students more likely to pursue those industries after graduation. Furthermore, recruiters allow students to make a personal connection with people in the industry. This means that when senior thesis is coming to a close and job opportunities seem sparse, students have someone to call.
Case Study: Consulting
Coming to campus to entice students to enter a specific industry, recruiters attempt to show future Claremont College graduates why working for the State Department, banking on Wall Street, or consulting for large companies is the best option on the table. But does it work? Consulting firm Deloitte provides a good example of the role a company may play early on in a student’s career, a role that can heavily influence where the student ends up after graduation.
Dustin Godevais PO ‘14, attended Deloitte’s Alternative Spring Break. This week-long, all expenses paid trip to Atlanta, offers college students the opportunity to network with business professionals and recruiters while supporting younger students in at-risk communities through community service.
“I thought it seemed like a huge payoff for a low cost opportunity,” said Godevais. “And I really enjoy tutoring and mentoring. I didn’t know I would get it when I applied, to be honest.”
Godevais found out about this Alternative Spring Break opportunity through Pomona’s Career Development Office, but it was also heavily publicized on campus through emails and newsletters to the Claremont community.*
Godevaias, who was already considering consulting, pointed out, “I want a job. I want a cool location, a decent salary, something that is intellectually stimulating, and something that at least somewhat has prospects for the future. Ultimately I want what a lot of people want: I want power, I want to have an impact, and I want influence over other people.”
Godevais sees consulting as a viable option to find those things while helping businesses to improve their strategies and deal effectively with problems they run up against. His opportunity to spend spring break with Deloitte only strengthened his resolve that this was an industry in which he could succeed and be rewarded for his strengths.
Francesca Ioffreda CMC ‘10 interned for Deloitte after her sophomore year, which she says helped provide her with an idea of what consulting entails. “My positive internship experience was the catalyst to pursuing consulting,” explained Ioffreda. “On campus I attended many different recruiting sessions to get a feel for all the different firms and network with the employees.”
The internships she found while in school and the opportunities to network at CMC set her up for a future career in that industry. She accepted a position at Deloitte, after spending time abroad with a Fulbright Fellowship.
When Ioffreda talks about the merits of consulting, she sounds like any good recruiter. “Consulting allows you to experience numerous clients, thereby providing exposure to different working environments, business challenges, and project teams. Consulting also provides a steep learning curve and helps hones a solid and transferable skill set i.e. presentation, communication, analytic.”
Godevais understands these reasons to go into consulting, but he is also convinced that consulting is a good way to use your talents helping people who could use them. “When you go into consulting, you work with a lot of different firms and really try to make them more efficient and improve their business, so the smart kids get to spread the love around,” he said.
For both Godevais and Ioffreda, on-campus recruiting by Deloitte strongly affected their goals and career choices. For Ioffreda, her time interning with the firm as well as her experiences on campus showed her that consulting was her best option. Godevais hopes to eventually work in the public sector, but sees consulting as a productive, important and profitable first step into the professional world.
Were it not for recruitment strategies on campus, would these two have gone into the consulting world? While it’s not inherently bad to go into financial services, it is a loss for students and for the American community when students are convinced early and often that going into those industries is their best option before they get all the information about other careers. For Godevais, consulting is one of the few careers he has extensive knowledge about, and he is likely to be inclined to be more comfortable sticking with what he knows. If other industries recruited like Deloitte, perhaps students would be more likely to pursue a larger variety of careers.
Here in Claremont, we study everything from neuroscience, to creative writing, to economics and politics. Our student body is diverse, and our postgraduate pursuits should be as well. While many students do pursue alternative options, we still have over half of CMC’s employed class of 2011 going into business, investment banking, consulting, accounting, or finance. In 2008, Scripps sent 20% of its employed to these industries and in 2010 Pomona sent about a quarter.
As we begin the job search, we must be aware that some industries have the ability to recruit more aggressively than others. Money and traditional resource allocation dictate that finance, business, and consulting take aggressive approaches to recruiting. All that means is that as a college student, you have to investigate proactively, looking into different industries besides just those proffered to you. A variety of careers can be just as rewarding, if not more so, than working for a large corporations and or in the financial sector.
*Correction: The line above “Godevais found out about this Alternative Spring Break opportunity through Pomona’s Career Development Office” has been corrected from the original version. The Port Side regrets the error.