Business students wary of job market

careerfair1Employers are cutting back on recruiting efforts, and that portends a rough hiring season for soon-to-be graduates. Mike Eisenman, director of the VCU’s Business and Engineering Career Center, said that at a job fair last week two employers canceled. About 40 firms participated in the fair.

“Students often read about history, now they are living it, because we are going through an economic experience we are likely to go through once in a lifetime, and I believe there is a lot to learn from it,” Michael Sesnowitz, dean of the VCU School of Business, has said.

That education might be a little less theoretical when VCU Business School students start job hunting.

Sesnowitz says that overall the job market for VCU students is worse than it was a year ago, but some sectors remain stronger than others.

“Areas like accounting will remain reasonably good; the health care sector is doing well and some of the energy companies,” Sesnowitz said. “There will be fewer jobs in finance in the near term.”

vcuinsideSo far, employers are trimming some recruitment efforts. Mike Eisenman, director of the school’s Business and Engineering Career Center, said that at a job fair last week two employers canceled. About 40 firms participated in the fair.

“Nationwide companies are attending fewer career fairs,” said Eisenman, “I think the bigger challenge is more people applying to fewer jobs.”

“I’m hoping the students are paying more attention to it because it’s going to take longer and be harder to find any jobs,” he said.

BizSense was unable to reach sources at the University of Richmond’s Robins School of Business by deadline.

Meanwhile at UVA’s undergraduate business school, companies like Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns had historically been big recruiters. According to a Charlottesville magazine, “Almost one-third went to New York City, and almost 40 percent of the class toiled in investment banking for an average compensation worth $85,000. Chances are those numbers won’t be repeated without a U-turn on Wall Street.”

Tom Fitch, an assistant dean at UVA’s McIntire School of Commerce, told the C-ville Weekly that, the number of students who work at summer internships is starting to fall. That’s probably a bad sign because internships serve as a conduit to getting hired after graduation.

“Over 10% of our current fourth year students are reporting that they have received full-time offers from their summer internships. Of those, approximately 8% have accepted already,” Fitch said.

Outside Snead Hall, VCU’s new $84.3 million business school, first-year economics student Omar Danaf said he doesn’t regret his decision to switch his major from chemistry to business.

“I’m not worried. I think [the market] will change. It always fixes itself,” he said.

A first year student may not have as much to worry about, but Danaf said he feels badly for students who plan to graduate in May.

Business administration students Andrew Martinez and Jessica Bui, in their third and fourth year respectively, both say they now plan to attend graduate schools in order to stay competitive in a shrinking job market.

“I didn’t think grad school was that important about two years ago. Just going to college was good enough, but now having a master’s is the new thing,” Martinez said.

“If I get my master’s and am officially able to start my career in three years, I’m not too worried about it,” he said.

That doesn’t surprise Dean Sesnowitz. He says when the economy is bad, enrollment usually increases, especially at the graduate level.

More Reading: Finance Students Keep Their Job Hopes Alive

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