U.S. business schools feel fallout from crisis

Tue Nov 4, 2008 7:12pm EST
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By Andrew Stern

EVANSTON, Illinois (Reuters) - At business schools around the United States, where recruiting season is in full swing, this year's crop of graduates are facing a tough climate -- layoffs on Wall Street and a contracting U.S. economy.

Job offers are scarcer this year, and some employers are telling students they must wait until after the dust from the financial storm settles before they can start work. Investment banks, some gravely wounded by the financial crisis, are still interviewing but recruiting only half the usual number, students and administrators say.

"If I was a second-year student I wouldn't be too optimistic," said Dan Waters, who was recruiting at a job fair at Northwestern University's Kellogg Graduate School of Management. Waters, himself a graduate of Kellogg, was looking for one or two interns for business development company Smallbox Industries LLC.

Kellogg, in the Chicago suburb of Evanston, is among the elite business schools that funnel Master of Business Administration (MBA) graduates into executive tracks at top companies. In this year's dance between employers and students, the employers are leading.

"It certainly favors the companies to be more selective, which they're going to be in this environment because everybody's being more conservative in their hiring targets," Kellogg Assistant Dean Roxanne Hori said.

Across town, at the University of Chicago's Graduate School of Business, Wall Street's plight was a major concern.

With Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, and Merrill Lynch gone or absorbed by other banks and some of the survivors reducing head counts, Wall Street will lose 45,000 jobs in the downturn, according to the state of New York.

"We've seen firms go away, and the level of M & A activity is down," said assistant dean Stacey Kole. "But there is still a lot of demand for these folks."   Continued...

<p>U.S. Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks in front of a crowd carrying umbrellas at Harvard senior class day in Cambridge, Massachusetts in this June 4, 2008 file photo. REUTERS/Adam Hunger/Files</p>