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MBA Recruiting Now Starts Before Classes at Many Top Business Schools

First-year students at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business are gathering this week in San Francisco for a tour of area tech firms, UVA’s Darden School is conducting “career kickoff” meetings with two-thirds of its incoming first-year class and the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business has added four days of career services programming to its orientation—and this is all taking place before those MBA students attend a single class.

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal highlights these instances as evidence of several shifts in business education, including that recruiters are eager to meet with future talent earlier than ever before, MBA students have a growing interest in tech careers and traditional on-campus MBA recruiting is no longer sufficient. The number of tech firms hiring MBAs from Tuck this past spring was up 65 percent, the Journal article noted. As in years past, Tuck will also host a tech trek to the Bay Area in December, but Jonathan Masland, director of the career development office at the school, says the job hunt must start much sooner than that. “Putting your head in the sand for the first three months [of the school year] and then popping up in December really does a disservice,” he told the Journal.

Ross has decided to add career services programming to its orientation – including networking lunches, resume reviews and alumni panels on consulting, corporate finance, marketing and other job functions – for many of the same reasons. “Students think they have two years to explore what they want to do next,” Damian Zikakis, director of career services at Ross, told the Journal. “In fact, they have like two days.”

After completing their orientation on August 14th, Ross first-year students will head off on week-long team-building trips before beginning classes. Recruiters will arrive on campus soon after that.

But as the Journal article points out, even as employers are looking to meet with potential hires earlier and earlier and MBA students are starting to explore possible careers even before their first days of business school, those same students are waiting until later in the school year to commit to job offers. At Tuck, though 91 percent of 2013 graduates had job offers by graduation, only 81 percent had accepted offers, compared to 90 percent at the same time in 2007, the Journal reports.

Read the full Wall Street Journal article, “For MBAs, Job Hunting Comes Before Class.