Emory students graduating today are facing a job market much different
from the one that existed when they entered college or graduate
school. But across the University, students are facing the new realities
with new tactics: More undergraduates are enrolling in graduate
or professional degree programs than in years past, while others
are developing new strategies for a tighter job market.
Tariq Shakoor, director of Emorys Career Center, which advises
undergraduates seeking jobs, said he is seeing many of the same
trends colleagues around the country are experiencing. This
is one of the toughest job markets I have ever seen in my 14 years
here at Emory, he said.
The National Association of Colleges and Employers, based on a
survey of companies, predicted a 20 percent drop in campus recruitment
by companiesa prediction made before Sept. 11, which hit the
market even more.
The number of companies recruiting undergraduates on campus at
Emory fell by 25 percent during the fall semester. Spring statistics
also are down, despite an aggressive initiative by the Career Center
to entice companies to come to campus, according to Shakoor.
No hard numbers for this month are available yet, but Shakoor said
the Career Center is advising fewer students than in recent years.
There is a large increase in the number of students who are
applying to grad school instead of trying to enter the job market
now, he said.
Both the School of Law and the Goizueta Business School have seen
this trend in action with an upsurge in applications for next fall.
Applications are up 22 percent at the law school and 35 percent
for the two-year MBA program at Goizueta.
Business majors are faring fairly well regarding the number and
variety of jobs available, and the business school has instituted
a number of strategies that are providing upsides for graduates
in the midst of the downturn.
To help second-year MBAs repackage themselves for the new realities
of the job market, Goizuetas MBA Career Management Center
has established Focused Fridays, at which the centers
staff and additional counselors advise students on professional
contacts, job seeking strategies and refining their resumes.
The MBA program also plans to hire a corporate relationship manager
to boost corporate outreach and networking, the latter of which
is recognized by faculty and students alike as the single most important
career search strategy.
Among other initiatives at the business school, Dean Tom Robertson
holds biweekly brainstorming sessions with staff, focused on placement
of undergraduate business majors and MBAs. Some Goizueta alumni
have augmented the schools efforts with initiatives of their
own, such as a group called Career Catalyst, in which young alumni
have banded together to help us all network more effectively,
says Liz Caracciolo, a 2001 MBA graduate.
Goizueta students also have shifted their enrollment to courses
in the fundamentals. This year, its more about a well-rounded
MBA, said Kembrel Jones, assistant dean and director of the
For undergraduates, accounting courses are becoming more popular,
since becoming a certified public accountant is the only credentialed
opportunity at the undergraduate level, according to Andrea
Hershatter, assistant dean and director of the BBA Program.
At the law school, the career services office has increased its
counseling staff, beefed up on-campus interview programs and instructed
students to widen their geographic job search, said Naomi McLaurin,
associate dean for career placement. The law schools alumni
also are playing a key role in networking, she said, participating
both in one-on-one mentoring and in a new pilot mentor program.
Among undergraduates, its not surprising that those struggling
the most in landing a job are those who, while very bright, are
unfocused in their career goals and indecisive about what they want
to do, Shakoor said. A robust market is more forgiving to such graduates,
and many easily found jobs in recent years, but in a tight economy
it presents much more of a challenge, he said.
One area that has benefited from the tight market is the nonprofit
sector. Applications are on the rise for programs such as the Peace
Corps, and Teach for America had a big recruitment year on the Emory
Teach for America was extremely happy at the large number
of high-caliber students they recruited, Shakoor said. A
lot of students want to do something like this before making long-term
decisions about their careers and