Booth students find jobs in uncommon places

More students are pursuing jobs in a greater variety of industries, especially health care, energy, and education.

By Hannah Fine

The Booth School’s career services ramped up their efforts this year to find jobs for graduates, as business school alums move away from traditional banking positions.

Char Bennington, senior associate director of career management at Booth, said the silver lining to the current economic situation is that students are looking for jobs in areas they might not have otherwise considered.

More students are pursuing jobs in a greater variety of industries, especially health care, energy, and education. The top five industries accounted for 67 percent of hires this year, as opposed to 76 percent the year before, Bennington said.

She added that students’ new interests meant the office has forged new relationships with other companies and firms, although this didn’t mean students had to learn any new interview skills. “The things that employers are always looking for are the one thing that I don’t think has changed,” she said.

Employer outreach was expanded, with more “feet on the street, people out there talking to companies on behalf of the students,” Bennington said.

The office held more question-and-answer sessions to give students opportunities to ask questions about the job search.

Andy Walcher, pursing a joint degree in Business and International Relations, received an offer from the start-up company where he worked this summer. He said career services has improved its services for those interested in non-traditional fields, like non-profits, from when he entered Booth in 2007.

As investment banking recruitment “pretty much closed down” last year, people looked to other fields, Walcher said. He estimated that 250 students from Booth looked for consulting jobs this year, as opposed to the usual 150 a year, “just because it’s the next sexiest title. You have to look at plan B, but the question is: Does that work out better for you in the long run than your first choice? Was your first choice just because of the title?”

Booth student Amy Chiaverini just got a job offer last week from a Chicago bank. Still, Chiaverini said the process of finding a job “has been frustrating,” especially as she did not find a traditional investment banking internship this past summer, so she had to find her job through campus recruiting.

Chiaverini said recruiters are on campus looking for students at morning, lunch, and evening events, which are all very competitive among Booth students. “Recruitment starts so fast and is so intensive you kind of get career blinders on. It’s really the firms’ fault, but that’s kind of the way it is.” She said recruiters are prohibited from coming to campus.

Chiaverini said she knew some recent graduates who “are working and happy with their jobs, and I know some who are still searching, mostly those in private equity and venture capital,” which are more traditional sectors.