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One Year Ago: Top Graduates Snub Dot-Coms for Consulting Firms

By Mary Hillebrand
May 9, 2001 6:29 PM PT

Originally published on May 9, 2000 and brought to you today as a time capsule.

One Year Ago: Top Graduates Snub Dot-Coms for Consulting Firms

Top college and business school graduates are increasingly forgoing Internet companies in favor of consulting firms and investment banking firms, a new survey by recruiting firm WetFeet.com says.

The Internet business is not losing its appeal, according to "The Student Recruitment Report 2000," which was based on a survey of 869 undergraduate, business and graduate school students from such U.S. universities as Harvard, Stanford, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of California at Berkeley.

Although two-thirds of new graduates rated the Internet as "the hottest industry of all," only 18 percent of respondents said they wanted to work for Internet-related companies, compared to 67 percent who would rather get into management consulting or investment banking.

Building a Career

According to the results, getting into the Internet field via consulting and investment banking firms offers "the best of both worlds" -- more support and team-oriented work and the e-commerce experience that Internet-related consulting projects can provide.

In a climate where over-hyped IPOs are failing to live up to their opening prices, graduating students say a job with stock options is less attractive than one that offers high quality job training.

Career development through training, mentoring programs and solid business experience ranks higher in importance than "quality of life" considerations -- such as casual dress, private offices and weekends off -- that are the typical drawing cards for e-commerce and Internet companies.

"With a strong job market and students receiving an average of 3.3 job offers -- up from 2.9 last year -- hiring the best graduates is one of the biggest challenges facing corporations today," WetFeet.com President Steve Pollock said. "These results underscore our belief that graduates aren't all chasing the gold rush. Most are seeking jobs that offer a challenging assignment, great colleagues and strong career development opportunities."

Old and New Methods

Dot-coms that advertise heavily on the Internet may get a boost in their recruitment efforts as the Internet becomes increasingly important to graduates as a job search tool.

More than 90 percent of those graduating from business school, and nearly 80 percent of undergraduates, said they now use the Internet to conduct job searches. Graduates are using the Internet nearly twice as much as last year's job seekers, spending 8.7 hours looking for jobs online this year compared to 4.8 hours last year, WetFeet.com said.

However, on-campus job fairs -- which have been a mainstay of most major consulting firms' recruiting efforts -- continue to be strong draws for graduating students as well, the survey said.

"Students' job searches focus heavily on opportunities that come through campus recruiting, largely because of the ease with which students can examine and apply for positions and the growing multitude of companies recruiting on campus," WetFeet.com said.

Salary Still Key

Though they rated salary as less important than career development, prospective new employees in the Internet business want to be well compensated. Undergraduates expect to start with an average base salary of US$45,000, while MBAs say they expect a base salary of $93,500 plus signing and year-end bonuses worth about $37,000.

Other key economic benefits such as 401K and health care plans are also deciding factors, ahead of stock options, WetFeet.com said.

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