Class of 09 Rises to Job Search Challenge

Despite a challenging hiring environment, more than 60 percent of graduating full-time Berkeley MBA students have received a job offer or accepted a position, according to MBA Career Services.

Among undergraduates, the Big Four accounting firms are hiring the most Haas students after graduation. Firms overall are placing a strong emphasis on converting interns into full-time employees, according to Tom Devlin, director of Berkeley's undergraduate Career Center.

Full-Time MBA Prospects

Starting salaries for full-time MBA graduates are holding steady, according to MBA Career Services, but overall compensation, which typically includes signing bonuses, may be down a bit this year when the final results are in.

Top employers include Adobe Systems, Amazon, Boston Consulting Group, and McKinsey and Company. Career Services account managers continue to mine their industry relationships to unearth opportunities for students. While on-campus recruiting is still down from last year, online job postings for full-time MBA students have gone up this spring compared to a year ago.

While fields such as real estate and financial services have taken a hit this year, as expected given the economy, Berkeley MBA students have used their career development skills to find internships and full-time positions in other industries, doing particularly well in the consulting, health care and the energy sectors, according to Career Services. The companies hiring the most interns include Abbott Laboratories, Amazon, Apple, Kaiser Permanente, McKinsey, and Microsoft.

MBA Career Services has added new offerings to help students even more during the tough economy, including directed job search teams facilitated by Haas Career Center advisors as well as Haas faculty and staff and new premium programs such as a workshop called the Art of Bragging, led by Fortune 500 communications coach Peggy Klaus.

PhD Graduates

Seven students in the PhD program have landed assistant professorships in the US and abroad. In the US, graduates will teach at NYU, Santa Clara University, Vanderbilt, Yale, and Rutgers. Two graduates are heading to Europe, to the University of Navarra's business school in Spain and INSEAD in France. One PhD graduate will work as a post-doc at Stanford University's Shorenstein Asia Pacific Research Center, working in the field of comparative health policy.

Undergraduate Trends

Undergraduates are assuming positions with a wide variety of employers, ranging from the Blackstone Group to Adobe Systems to Royal Bank of Canada, according to Devlin in the Berkeley Career Center, which serves Haas undergraduates.

Overall, employers are more selective in their hiring both on the internship and the full-time level. In some cases, rather than rescinding offers, employers have deferred start dates for their new hires, which reinforces their commitment to employing our graduates, Devlin says.

"Students have become more flexible in their job search in terms of industries and targeting a broad range of employers," Devlin says. "It surely is the year of multiple strategies, patience, and persistence in the job search. We are advising students to have a Plan A and a Plan B and to leverage their networks, student organizations, and the vast resources of the Career Center.

Berkeley's undergraduate Career Center also has stepped up its efforts, adding more drop-in counseling sessions focused on job search tactics in a tight economy, mining new contacts to attract employers to campus, and marketing electronic resume books to employers and students.

Paul Savage, an employee relations specialist for business students, has offered "pop-ins" this spring for group resume critiques, mock interviews, and strategizing on managing a job search during these challenging times.


In this economy, networking can make a big difference in getting an interview and a job, agrees Abby Scott, executive director of MBA Career Services. "You want to be a referral rather than a resume in a stack of resumes," she says.

Despite the recession, it's still not unheard of for students to get two job offers. Silvia Lacayo, MBA 09, will be moving to New Jersey in August to work as a brand manager at Unilever, but also received an offer from Del Monte, where she had an internship last summer.

Extending your job search beyond on-campus recruiting can help, advises Lacayo. Unilever called her for an interview after she submitted her resume to the company at the Reaching Out Conference in Washington, DC, in October.

"Go to these conferences," she says. "It just pays off."