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Business Schools get creative for job placement

“A Darden Call to Arms” was the subject line of an email that the Darden School of Business sent out to its alumni in March 2010. The school was desperately looking for job offers for its graduates, reports BusinessWeek. The recession had slowly eaten away many fantastic job opportunities for MBA students and the outlook for the MBA Class of 2010 was dim.

The drastic action of the business school worked within hours, dozens of Darden alumni responded with job leads. This was one of a many different initiatives that business schools started in the last year to help their graduates find their place in the job market, after the financial crisis had shut down some of the biggest MBA employers. BusinessWeek's 2010 ranking of the top full-time MBA programs showed that in 2007 only 4 percent of grads at the 30 top U.S. schools did not have a job offer three months after graduation. That figure has climbed to 12 percent or even higher at some schools.

Booth for example took on the challenge and tripled its employer outreach team in size, from two to six, in the past two years. Last summer the team met with more than 350 companies. Schools are also reversing the recruiting process. Whereas many companies used to come to the campus to recruit, schools are now bringing students to recruiters. In April, students from seven different business schools all over the US travelled to San Francisco for "A Day in the Bay MBA Interview Forum". The event allowed employers from the region like Ebay or Electronic Arts to meet MBA students without spending their own money and time to travel to each school. Other schools promote Skype as a familiar tool for job seekers with some schools installing videoconference facilities for remote interviews.

Job search does not need to be a time for despair either. Indiana's Kelley School of Business created a group informally called the Jobless Lonely Hearts Club where job seekers met to share leads and a chat over pizza and beer. Several students found jobs after picking up ideas from classmates.

Creativity seems to work and the outlook is not bad either. There are signs that the job market is picking up and companies might return to their traditional recruiting directly from campus.


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