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Students poised to take advantage of job market
February 2, 1998
Many UConn students have jobs in their pockets as early as junior year, as recruiters scoop up students in record numbers for a swell of jobs flooding the market.
"We've had 100 percent placement before graduation," says James Marsden, who heads the Operations and Information Management department in the School of Business Administration. Marsden says the Management and Information Systems (MIS) program attracts very bright students and provides them with the technical traing companies are seeking.
"Companies are looking for very high quality people in both computer science and management and information systems," he says. "They want very well trained people and they're willing to pay for them. Our degree is a very technical MIS degree and that's what companies seem to look for."
But it's not just companies in the information technology field that are recruiting college hires - it's businesses across the board.
Sally Rowell, interim assistant director in the Department of Career Services, says this year more employers are contacting her wanting to hire UConn students in a variety of fields.
"It started in the fall at the Career Fair, the big kick-off to the recruiting season," she says. A campus-wide event held at Gampel, the fair offers the opportunity for employers to provide career information about their businesses and to identify potential job prospects. "We had 165 employers there and 15 to 20 more on a waiting list," Rowell says. In 1996, 123 employers signed up for the fair. This spring, more than 180 employers will come to UConn to conduct interviews with students, Roswell says.
Rowell says she has seen an increase in employers using early identification programs, such as internships and cooperative education opportunities, to get a jump on full-time hires. "Many students, if they do a summer internship or a co-op, return to school with an offer," she says.
Marsden says about 95 percent of students in paid internship programs get offers from the companies where they intern, often early in their senior year. "These internships are demanding and carry a lot of responsibility," he says, "and the students demonstrate they can handle it. When students return senior year, they are more challenging students.They've picked up experience and insight and it adds to the classroom environment."
UConn is part of a national trend: a healthy economy has opened doors for America's college graduates. According to a recent study by Michigan State University, 27.5 percent more jobs are available than last year, and almost 97 percent of employers who responded to the survey described the market as "good to excellent."
Ray Palmer, assistant dean and director of business placement in the School of Business Administration, says he has seen "definitive signs of an upward trend in recruiting and hiring." Palmer says more than 40 percent of the May '98 MBA graduating class have job offers, at salaries up from last year. He is seeing the same trend at the undergraduate level also.
"I don't have the hard numbers, but I've seen a definite increase in the number of jobs opportunities that are being faxed, e-mailed and mailed to me for posting for students," he says. He also says that a substantial number of undergraduate who come back from summer jobs and internships have job offers. "This is definitely the best year that I have seen in the five years that I've been in the School of Business," he says.
Palmer, who runs a major MBA recruiting event in November, says that employers receiving preliminary publicity to participate in the event responded much earlier than usual.
Last year, he says, when preliminary publicity was sent out for the event in May and June, employers responded right away with checks to hold their spots. "Generally we're not getting substantive commitments to participate until August and September. And for the first time in my history here," he notes, "I had to turn some employers away from the event because the numbers of available students and employer were out of balance."