Tracking trends to help your students

December 22, 2011 at 11:54 am | Posted in Job market | 3 Comments
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Coach Susan Sandberg

Susan Sandberg

The U.S. is experiencing three jobs crises at once, according to Harvard labor economist Lawrence Katz. The first jobs crisis is the one driven by the steep drop in aggregate demand of goods and services. The second one—long-term unemployment—grows out of the first. The third crisis flows from the merger of globalization and the I.T. revolution. As a career services professional, you can help advise your students on how to navigate these trends and maximize their education to compete in the changing employment picture.

Here are several trends to track:

  • Consulting:  Consulting is among the most popular career choices. Pulin Sanghvi, a former McKinsey consultant who runs the career office at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, says, “It’s especially useful if you don’t know exactly what you want to do.”  The top consulting firms hire people from nearly every type of graduate school, ranging from law schools to medical school, public-policy schools or other non-business schools. After they are hired, consultants parachute into big companies, often meeting with top executives who are decades older. Companies also tend to outsource corporate strategy issues to bright young consultants.
  • Externships:  Many schools are developing these programs. At MIT the Externship Program, started in 1997, matches students with MIT alums for a one-month work experience over Independent Activities Period in January. Students apply through the Alumni Association website, and externship sponsors review the applicants for compatibility with the position. The sponsors then send back a list of qualified students to generate matches.  This year, a record number of 294 MIT students will be participating in the Externship Program. Last year, a student who took an Externship at Bank of America in January received a summer internship and now has a full-time job offer.
  • Partnerships:  Robert W. Goldfarb, a New York management consultant, interviewed 85 recent college graduates about their success in finding jobs, according to a NYT’s article. Only 5 had found jobs in their career fields. Managers who used to favor new graduates with fresh ideas now choose older employees who make fewer missteps than recent grads. Goldfarb’s solution is to encourage partnerships between recent grads and the companies they hope will employ them. He suggests that corporations invest in training and developing young professionals even if there isn’t an immediate opening. They could be hired as salaried trainees and given 3-6 months to prove their value in various assignments.
  • Global opportunities:  Europe’s leading multi-material packaging manufacturer, LINPAC Packaging, is offering two new internships to undergraduates or recent graduates looking to kick start their career with an innovative manufacturing company. The food packaging company, which has sites across the world, is offering the paid placements during 2012 with flexible start dates and working periods. The successful applicants will work with the central innovation team on two key projects, gaining a greater understanding of today’s manufacturing industry and developing new skills. For more international internship opportunities, browse through the thousands listed on


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