Editor’s Picks: Our Favorite Stories Of 2018

Freshman, Sophomore Recruiting On The Rise

The early recruiting and accelerated pipelining has moved up the internship. Traditionally held between the junior and senior years, business students are beginning to have business-specific internships after their sophomore and even freshman years. This is leading to students committing to full-time positions earlier or holding multiple business-related internships or both.

“In the last two to three years is where we’ve seen this big push to what employers are calling ‘early identification efforts,’” Brenda Schuck Stover, executive director of the Center for Professional Development at Villanova School of Business told us earlier this year“From the employer’s perspective, it’s all about the race to obtain top talent. It gives them an opportunity to interact with students, identify high achievers, and pipeline them from business school to full-time roles.”

On one hand, the early recruiting can be beneficial if students are willing to explore multiple internships and industries. On the other hand, it could set students down a narrow path — on in which that could lead to full-time positions and early career decisions being made as teenagers.

“After a sophomore completes a summer internship, they may come out with an offer for next summer,” Karen Heise, interim director and employer relations manager at Washington University’s Olin Business School’s Weston Career Center, says. “If they accept it, this prohibits them from looking at other firms and almost closes the door to any other opportunity except for where they’ve interned.”

B-Schools Scramble To Keep Up With The Evolution Of FinTech

The confluence of finance and technology (fintech) has taken a strong hold over the industry, while turning it upside down, and it’s worrying some in the business education space. “It’s made our curriculum irrelevant in pretty short order,” David Yermack, chairman of the finance department and academic director of the fintech MBA specialization at NYU’s Stern School of Business told us last February.

The issue, according to Yermack and others is, old school finance jobs such as stock brokers, market traders, analysts, and portfolio managers are on the way out. What’s the need for a team of credit analysts if there’s software that can get the job done? Same for asset management now being fulfilled by robo investing and machines replacing portfolio analyses. “Finance is very rapidly becoming an IT business,” Yermack also said. “Finance and information technology have pretty much merged and we need to do that in the university.”

One of the biggest barriers facing B-schools is trained faculty. The majority of fintech’s evolution is happening in industry and B-school faculty members are playing from behind to a certain extent. Much of the evolution within the walls of academia is student-driven, where student-run clubs in fintech-related areas are popping up. It will be on the leadership of B-schools to continue to innovate and drive change in the space.

Kenan-Flagler students explore the rooftop office space at Dropbox headquarters in San Francisco, one of the cities attracting the most college educated millennials. Photo by Nathan Allen

Why These Schools Are Trying To Elbow Their Way Into Silicon Valley

The convergence of business and tech has made Silicon Valley-based firms hot among the current generation of business students. Companies like Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Apple are gaining in popularity among current and future students while interest in Wall Street and financial firms is waning. The result has led many schools to create tech treks to Silicon Valley to meet at companies with alums. Many of these trips happen over breaks in school like Spring Break. One of the schools to most recently implement this is the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. “I want them to know this is an option for them if they choose to pursue it,” Amy Bugno, the associate director of Career Development for the undergraduate program at Kenan-Flagler told P&Q at Dropbox’s headquarters in San Francisco last spring.

The reason for the trips? Exposure.

“The intent is to expose students to the opportunities that are out there in technology and on the West Coast,” she continues. It’s easy for Kenan-Flagler students to understand industries like consulting and investment banking, Bugno says, and what it would be like to work in cities along the Eastern Seaboard, because traditionally, that’s where the majority of alumni have gone to work. “Those companies are coming to campus, they are sharing information with our students, and we have a lot of alumni in those fields,” she says.

As Silicon Valley continues to boom, it will no doubt continue to pique the interest of elite business majors.

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