Mental health and anxiety among undergraduate students in all majors has been covered extensively by national media over the past year. We’ve also heard quite a bit about B-school-specific initiatives to assist students struggling with anxiety, stress, and mental health issues. Some schools have gone as far to employ individuals and teams specifically to help with the anxiety and mental health of their business majors. Taking a page out of the playbook of the University of Texas-Austin McCombs School of Business and the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management is housing a counselor within the business school.
“College is one of the more stressful environments a person encounters in their lifetime,” McCombs’ in-house counselor Toby LeBlanc shared earlier this year, explaining that mental health issues — whether pre-existing or first appearing during the college years — are all exacerbated by stress.
Some of the stress stems from the frantic and early recruiting of companies, says Jane Hershman, the senior director of the BBA Career Management Center at Emory University’s Goizueta School of Business. “Because recruiting keeps getting earlier, they come in more and more stressed,” Hershman says about Goizueta’s two-year business program. “They still have to go to school. There’s pressure to get good grades, pressure to balance everything. For our students, they’re trying to figure out how to distribute their time and energy when their first semester in business school is like their first semester in college all over again.”
Either way, stress, anxiety, and depression is increasingly becoming an issue for current business students, and some of the more innovative and progressive schools are doing what they can to answer the call of their students.
One of the most impactful trends happening now in business education is accelerated recruiting — or early pipelining. Instead of major banks and consulting firms moving in on junior and senior students, sophomore and sometimes even freshmen are now being targeted by leading financial and consulting firms. The root cause of the accelerated recruiting? The talent war among the world’s top firms.
“In some cases, this is a bit of a shift within financial services and we tend to be a competitive industry,” Courtney Storz, who heads up Global Campus Recruiting and Program Management at Citi told us earlier this year. “I think as you start to feel those timelines shifting, there’s that element of everyone jumping in the mix. We’re all obviously after the best talent and we have a dedicated focus on diversifying our workforce as well.”
The acceleration is particularly evident when it comes to recruiting a diverse workforce. “In terms of candidates, I think there are targeted initiatives to recruit different backgrounds and a desire to get to those candidates earlier and earlier,” says Katie Jones, Director of Talent Acquisition at William Blair & Company. “So, when one company changes their timelines, the rest of the industry tends to follow.”
As the competition for top talent continues to heat up, it’s tough to see financial firms backing off the early recruiting. If anything, consulting and tech companies could respond by moving their recruiting cycles up earlier as well.