trade event

The Job Market for College Grads - Graduate & Professional School Fair, + +

The job market being what it is, this was an interesting opportunity to see what was on the minds of the next generation of workers, as well as colleges that recruit them. With strong representation from most graduate business, law, public administration, and medical programs in the country, the student turnout wasn't as strong as I expected. Does this mean that white-collar employment is higher than we're lead to believe by our politicians? Or does it mean that the event was just poorly marketed?

Although the Fair was hosted at NYU by Kaplan (on Sept 29), it was open to the public. During the 90 minutes I was there, (the whole event lasted about 4 hours), I fully expected to encounter not just NYU students between classes, but also people from all walks of life. Questions I had: What factor draws the most students: Ivy League status, star-studded faculty, amenities and environment, promise of highly-paid career post-graduation, or cost of attending? Obviously, it's a combination, but if colleges knew which factor had the most influence, as non-profit marketers of "learning products", would they be inclined to invest more in any one area? More importantly, are these obvious benefits truly the reasons students choose to get a higher degree, or do they select a school simply based on their desire to learn, post-pone working in the "real world", or impress family members?

I took the opportunity to speak with some of the recruiters and learned that the universities brought out their big guns for this event: deans and departments were in attendance. This underscores the challenges in getting top students to attend schools in different parts of the country. I personally spoke to a few department heads and none were really suited to sell the school. (I suppose they expected students to engage in interesting enough conversations with the experts that they might apply). Selling the school was a job well handled by the other university reps. Generally speaking, out of 200 universities present, each one received a probable average of 10 to 15 seriously interested candidates, of which probably 1 or 2 will end up attending (this estimate excludes Ivy League schools and is based on my own guesstimates of crowds, or lack of, at each table during the time I was there).

Analyses on the job hunting experience will supplement al berrios & co.'s organizational behavior research to offer readers and clients a thorough understanding of the behaviors that shape their new recruits and future executives. Overall, this event merits 2 pluses.

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