Job Prospects Improving for MBAs

June 05, 2004

Job prospects improving for MBAs

By Nicoletta Koveos Times Herald-Record New Paltz It took Nidjah Rhoden a year to find a job. The Brooklyn native now living in Hyde Park graduated last month from the SUNY New Paltz master’s in business administration program. She has her MBA in management. Rhoden started looking for a job last summer because she wanted the right job. It had to be local. But to her dismay, the local companies she sent her resume to never called. Finally, last week, Rhoden got a job. She starts Monday as a sales assistant at Beneficial in Newburgh. Rhoden’s case is the norm. More MBA graduates are finding more success this year than they did last year. According to two groups that have tracked MBA recruiting nationally, companies are hiring more this year. The economy’s improvement has companies hiring new MBAs, the Graduate Management Admission Council, in McLean, Va., said recently. And more than half of the business schools surveyed by the MBA Career Services Council, in Provo, Utah, said on-campus recruiting was up 1 percent to 25 percent, and 8 percent of schools surveyed said recruiting was up more than 25 percent. While getting a job isn’t as easy as it once was say, four or five years ago local business schools also say MBA graduates are having an easier time than they did a year ago. “I think our students definitely feel more optimistic this year as opposed to this time last year,” said Martha Tait-Watkins, coordinator of SUNY New Paltz’s MBA program. Tait-Watkins said students are taking about three months to find a job now, where last year, it took six months. “It was very difficult,” Tait-Watkins said of last year. “We were seeing students take a lot longer to find a job, and I think more students were willing to take what came along rather than waiting for their first choice.” Tait-Watkins, who used to work in the college’s career center, now provides some counseling to business students. The 20 students who graduated this spring were given an exit survey to see if they were on track with their careers. While there are signs of a recovery, Tait-Watkins said the job market is still not where it once was. “Students still remember four years ago when anybody could get a job at anytime,” Tait-Watkins said. “They’re the ones who had to face the difficult economic times.” The good thing about an MBA is that they’re portable, Tait-Watkins said. So if the New York job market isn’t doing so well, graduates can go elsewhere. At Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, recruiting also seems to be up, said Dave Rant, the MBA coordinator. “The job market continues to be very strong in the area of finance and retail,” Rant said. “Jobs are stronger this year.” The increase in hiring is perhaps a sign that the economy is doing better, said Chet Koulik, Marist College’s associate director for career services. Koulik said that in general, this year is better than last, and next year should be even better. There are more organizations recruiting on campus, and there are more job postings on the college’s Web site, Koulik said. “It’s safe to assume that if organizations are recruiting entry-level [positions], they’re also recruiting upper-level and management,” Koulik said. “If the economy starts to grow again, organizations feel comfortable recruiting again.” Copyright Orange County Publications, a division of Ottaway Newspapers Inc., all rights reserved.