MBA students must adjust their expectations

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Madhavi Acharya-Tom Yew

Business Reporter

The good news is that the big companies, banks and consulting firms are still coming to campus to recruit MBA students.

The bad news is that because firms are cutting their costs, they’re not likely to hire as many students as they do in the boom times.

That means the coming crop of MBA students will have to compete even harder for the few jobs that are out there.

There’s no question that companies are more conservative in their recruiting, said Jeff Muzzerall, director of the Corporate Connections Centre at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management.

“They’re crossing all of their T’s and dotting all their I’s. They want to make sure they’re hiring absolutely the best for the fewer positions they have available, which means our students have to be all the more prepared and competitive and focused,” Muzzerall said.

“It’s important to know what game you’re playing and to change with the game. The student is not in control in this environment.”

It also means that students have to adjust their expectations.

“The banks and consulting firms that in a peak market would pay a $50,000 signing bonus now would pay $10,000,” Muzzerall said. “And the smaller firms, nothing. Signing is your bonus in this market.”

Still, the pace of the job hunt seems to be on track.

These days, about 30 per cent of the graduating MBA class have landed jobs for after graduation. That’s the same as last year and two years ago. In the 2008 class, 90 per cent of students were placed within three months of graduation, according to Rotman’s recruitment statistics.

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