Ross’ Weak Link #1: Career Services

“The most unexpected change in the National ranking this year: the University of Michigan’s drop to seventh place from No. 1 last year. Michigan had rivaled Tuck with its consistently strong showing in the survey in previous years, but some recruiters now complain about both the students and the career-services office. One survey respondent said more Michigan students are demonstrating a “what’s in it for me?” attitude than in the past, while another recruiter urged the career office to “be more customer friendly.”

“Students weren’t as prepared for interviews and were somewhat more arrogant than in the past,” says David Gallon, a survey respondent and senior strategic research consultant, truck and SUV, for Toyota Motor Corp. in Torrance, Calif. “Overall, I would say the students seemed ultra-relaxed and felt that they didn’t need to try to impress the interviewers but rather that the interviewers should try to impress them.” He adds that students he talked with weren’t nearly as knowledgeable about the auto industry or Toyota in particular as he would have expected.” — Wall Street Journal, September 17, 2007

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I remember this oh-so-infamous date well: the Office of Career Development at Ross simply imploded at the revelation that our prestigious #1 ranking was eliminated due to a couple of smarmy, arrogant students. I actually wrote a blog post on the subject, inserting a few of my two-week-old observations about the slide. The post is a quick read, but I offered a few suggestions on how the program could remedy the biggest issues that seemed to be major culprits.

It’s interesting to look back now and see if any of those changes I suggested were made.

1. Lack of knowledge about the industry: “Ross can improve this by offering both web- and forum-based rundowns of various industries, and we students need to take better advantage of the resources that already exist.”

Ross has provided access to Wetfeet, Vault, and CareerBuilder for years now, but what most students don’t realize is that the Office of Career Development (OCD) has specified employees for each industry function. They’re the ones out on the road talking up companies, getting people all hyped up about the soon-to-graduate Rossers. These employees have very specific knowledge about the expectations these companies have, trends of increased/decreased hiring, etc. Yet, very little of this information is disseminated to students. Why?

A great example of this communication breakdown occurred this year during internship recruiting. One company originally intended to interview 50 students for summer slots. Now, we students choose to become strategic with our interview bid points, so we attempt to evaluate the amount of points we’ll need to throw down on a variety of factors — including the number of slots up for grabs. So when said company suddenly cut its interview schedule to 20, the bid point requirement immediately skyrocketed. Notably absent from this cut was an explanation from OCD as to the timing and nature of the cut. Was it because of the recession (likely)? Was it because the firm is going in the tank (possible, but who knows)?

OCD needs to understand that students get a majority of their career advice from their own peers within the program, and while peer advising is a valuable tool, the critical, up-to-date information should come from the so-called experts. That’s OCD’s job.

2. Arrogance. Ross can counter this by pointing to the thousands of hours of interaction with the Ann Arbor community Ross students engage in each year, as well as the insane amount of students involved with Net Impact. I don’t think arrogant students would demonstrate a commitment to the community and environment, personally.”

I’ve got more to say about this in a later post. But I’ve heard countless examples of students acting like total morons in front of recruiters. OCD can’t do much to combat this, but they also could make some improvements on how to convey appropriate interview etiquette to students. There’s a fantastic Management of Organizations department at Ross that would be chomping at the bit to give ’em some help.

3. The Building. “I can’t waaaaaait to hear recruiters rave about [the new building], even though they considered its construction as a nuisance. Maybe we should have just added a bunch of trailer homes outside the school; it sure what have been much less of a headache!”

There have been nearly zero recruiting-related functions in the new building, and interviews are still being held in the drab, cubicle-with-fully-enclosed-walls Kresge library. Even when I go up there to study, I shudder. Fortunately, my extremely talented and forward-thinking classmates whom are graduating (*sniffle*) decided to orient their class gift toward renovation of these suites. Amen, come quickly Lord Interior Designer. (Note: the other options for a class gift were a wolverine sculpture or solar panels. Functional, eh?)

Aside from these areas, a few other things I’ve noted as particularly frustrating about OCD are:

  • Being totally understaffed (they had to take someone away from Admissions last year simply to cover all their bases);
  • Not preparing international students well enough for the domestic recruiting process (that includes cultural and language training); and
  • Failing to give credence to non-traditional and off-campus recruiting efforts (despite the fact that a large portion of Ross students are interested in both).

Disclaimer in flashing lights: no school is absent of a few problems. But it’s silly for me to type sweet nothings and give you the impression that everyone at Ross poops out marshmallows and can levitate at will. Apply this to every posting from here on out, por favor.

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2 Responses to Ross’ Weak Link #1: Career Services

  1. […] Plus, there’s a slew of things that Ross’ career services organization does marginally compared to its peer schools, in my opinion, that I discussed in my previous post. […]

  2. […] year at Ross. Ross ‘09 M@ posted more in the last week than he has in months, touching on the weakest link in the Ross experience to a googlechat with […]

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