SOM courts jobs for students

The Yale School of Management is increasingly partnering with popular companies to help students find jobs.
The Yale School of Management is increasingly partnering with popular companies to help students find jobs. Photo by Creative Commons.

As the Yale School of Management makes an effort to improve its standing among American business schools, administrators are working to improve job prospects for students by courting in-demand corporations.

The school has begun to solidify its existing corporate relationships, SOM Dean Edward Snyder said, most recently becoming one of Credit Suisse’s “core schools” — one of roughly eight institutions to which the company gives preference when hiring for summer and full-time positions. SOM will also leverage the success of student and alumni working at in-demand companies such as Groupon and Facebook to help new graduates get a foot in the door regardless of the nation’s dim jobs outlook, said David Pramer, the school’s senior associate director of relationship management.

“During 2008 and 2009, there were students whom we could not help get jobs because we were a ‘B’ or ‘C’ school in the eyes of those companies,” Pramer said. “During very good economic times, people will usually be hired anyway, but it is a time to invest in the future.”

In addition to social media and technology sector jobs, more SOM students are finding work in investment banking and investment management. Inspired by the Credit Suisse deal, SOM is now investigating other financial groups that might be a good fit for students.

SOM Career Development Office Director Ivan Kerbel ’96 said that the school’s renewed focus on corporate partnerships coincides with a roughly 8 percent increase in the number of students who sought and accepted offers in investment banking last year, which he attributed to further economic recovery in the financial sector.

“These increased numbers show both a healthier hiring trend in the financial sector and that Yale SOM continues to be very competitive to these firms,” Kerbel said. “As the market has rebounded, Yale students and administrators have taken advantage of the opportunities they have.”

Improved partnerships with prospective employers will benefit the companies as well, Senior Associate Dean Jeanette Gorgas said, since Yale will allow the firms to conduct research with SOM faculty members and Yale research centers.

More than past administrations, Kerbel said the team of Snyder and Gorgas has relied on student and alumni input in deciding which corporations would be good partners. Gorgas added that she plans to send out a schoolwide survey and hold group discussions with students to determine which companies are the most sought-after and offer the most fulfilling internships.

Pramer said he expects most students will express interest in the social media, technology and health care industries, which he said have fared well in a turbulent economy. Additionally, he said about 15 percent of SOM graduates take jobs in the nonprofit sector — a higher proportion than at most other American business schools.

Building relationships in the nonprofit and public sector is more challenging because it is not dominated by a few core organizations the way the financial sector and consulting industry are, Snyder said.

“The social sector is very important to our students,” he said. “But as we started talking, we realized it’s so diffuse in terms of where students go, [and] there just aren’t entities that do much regular high-volume hiring of MBAs. The public sector will require a fundamentally different approach to relationship building.”

The growth in corporate relationships is one of many recent changes that demonstrate SOM’s commitment to establishing its reputation as a top-tier business school, student body President Bryce Hall SOM ’12 said, including hiring two new deans and breaking ground on a new expanded campus designed by Norman Foster ARC ’62.

In addition to strengthening the SOM’s external relationships, Snyder plans to unveil a full list of goals for the school within the next month.

Correction: September 14, 2011

An earlier version of this article incorrectly called Jeanette Gorgas an associate dean of the SOM. She is the senior associate dean.

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