MBA program ranked 2nd in career placement, despite the recession

| Staff Reporters

Despite the tough economic times facing the country, 92 percent of graduates from Olin Business School’s MBA program have managed to find jobs while their peers at other MBA programs have struggled.

This year, BusinessWeek Magazine ranked the MBA program at Olin as second in the country for career placement within three months of graduation, behind only Yale University’s School of Management.

Joe Fox, associate dean and director of MBA programs at Washington University, said MBA students are pursuing alternate career paths as a result of the economy.

“It is probably suitable under the current circumstances to say that students are being put in the position to explore alternate routes,” Fox said. “The financial services industry has a chill on it. Clearly the students need to think about a plan B.”

Joon Park, a second-year MBA finance student, agreed. He had a difficult time finding a finance internship last year and considered some marketing ones instead. He said that it is necessary to change strategies but, at the same time, to find a balance.

“I was thinking about changing my concentration,” Park said. “But I realized that if I do that, I am throwing away something that I like.”

But while the rankings reflect well on career placement, other students think that rankings do not tell the full story. Bhavik Asher is a first-year MBA student. He said that while the rankings were a morale booster, he was also curious to know about details such as job satisfaction and job placement.

“I would want to see how these placements have fared,” Asher said. “For the people that have been placed, how satisfied are they with the placement they got? Yeah, they got placed. But was it more about, ‘No choice—let’s take what we have’? It could also be that better schools—the top schools—either prefer very good companies or would prefer waiting. But the 92 percent and rank of second is a very positive trend, even if there might be some ‘ifs’ and ‘buts.’”

Students in the business school have the option of using the Weston Career Center (WCC), a separate career center designated for the Olin Business School. Park said he has noticed the WCC bringing in many more companies this year.

Josh Stumacher, a first-year students in the Olin MBA program, said that the WCC has been very helpful in his search for internships and a job.

“They have been unbelievably helpful,” said Stumacher, who speaks with a career counselor almost every day. “They’ll help you as much as you want them to help you.”

The WCC has been supportive of Stumacher’s career goals and has also made alternative options clear to him and his peers. Asher agreed with Stumacher, saying that the WCC was “very committed” to getting Olin students placed.

Despite the grim state of the economy, Stumacher is pleased with his decision to continue his business education.

“It is going to give me the flexibility to go where I want,” Stumacher said.

Meanwhile, University undergraduates agree that the state of the economy makes it more likely for them to enroll in an MBA program.

Martin Pawlik, a sophomore in the business school, is considering the five-year joint undergrad and MBA program.

“You want to make sure that you’re as prepared as possible, so now is a good time to settle down and be as educated as possible,” Pawlik said.

Pawlik hopes to work in finance eventually, but he recognizes that it is not realistic to hope to get his ideal job immediately. If he can’t get a job in finance, Pawlik would be open to considering a job in accounting or with a political campaign.

“I would be flexible. I realize that in my early years I am not going to find my dream job,” Pawlik said. “If the economy is tough, it might be difficult, but eventually I will get to the place I want to get.”

Asher agreed with Pawlik’s sentiment.

“I believe I have to diversify. I have to keep backup plans,” Asher said. He added, “We’re getting skill sets which we can take to any industry.”