PARENT CHECKLIST: CONSULT BUSINESSWEEK’S RECRUITER RANKINGS
Though skeptical of many college rankings, Kesner says that one of the best to measure the success of a school’s placement operation is Bloomberg Businessweek’s survey of corporate recruiters for undergraduates (see Employers Rank The Best Business Programs). Knowing how the best employers view career services at a school is an important piece of information to help determine how likely it is your child will graduate with a good job, she says.
In the magazine’s last survey of recruiters, the top ten schools getting A+ grades for the strength of their placement operations were: Indiana, the University of Texas, Brigham Young University, Notre Dame, Texas A&M, Penn State, the University of Southern California, and Bentley University (the full list here).
Kesner urges parents to visit the career services office on their campus visits and ask about how the office engages students. At Kelley, for instance, career services gets involved with students as freshman and exploring one’s career choices is deeply embedded into the undergraduate curriculum. Even freshmen are doing mock intern and job interviews at the school. “If they only have a workshop that is voluntary at the end, that is a big red flag,” she says. “If they are getting great placement but only from a few companies, that is not good, either. If one of those companies disappears, 20% of all their placements could disappear as well.”
Another key element on that visit would be to ask about the school’s practical hands-on learning that make undergraduates more employable because they can hit the ground running in that important first job. Experiential learning projects have become popular at many schools and they give graduates valuable experience as well as stories to use to land good jobs right out of school.
PARENT CHECKLIST: VISIT THE CAREER SERVICES OFFICE AND BENCHMARK EVERY COLLEGE AGAINST THE BEST
Benchmark the stats of the best schools and compare them to the ones you visit. At Washington University’s Olin School, 98% of the Class of 2014 accepted jobs within 90 days of graduation. The school’s placement report is a model of transparency and should be compared to what other business schools are doing.
Kelley offers its undergraduates workshops in investment banking, consulting, sales, investment management, and treasury, all opportunities for hands-on learning under the direct supervision of faculty. The consulting workshop for undergraduates is headed by a former McKinsey & Co. consultant. “It’s why so many employers like our students,” Kesner says. “They are so well prepared that they can hit the ground running. This is great talent and it comes at a lower price point than MBA students.”
And finally on her checklist is faculty engagement with students. At Kelley, for example, faculty are paired with career counselors who work together with students to map out expectations and career plans. Professors often form close-knit relationships with students, helping them with projects and career choices. “You want to make sure your son or daughter will be taught by a faculty member and won’t be getting TAs (teaching assistants),” she maintains. “You don’t want seniors teaching freshman courses.”