This week marks the formal start of RC recruiting at HBS. Unlike many of the other MBA programs (where recruiters start barking at your door the instant you set foot on campus), Harvard sets a firm deadline midway through the fall semester to give students a chance to settle in. In retrospect, I completely took this for granted. Recruiting takes an incredible amount of time, adds stress, and diverts an amazing amount of attention from the other benefits of business school (classes, clubs, classmates, and… chow?).
As a kick-off, they blocked off two and a half days for 30-minute “company information sessions” with 60 or so different recruiters. It’s been a great chance to float in-and-out of presentations to see what type of companies hire from HBS in a low-risk, low-commitment environment.
The presentations run the gamut, but on average, they’re… surprisingly disappointing. Particularly for the industry / operations companies. They really need to work on their sales pitch to prospective hires. It offers a stark contrast to the consulting firms that blaze in and have polished alumni talk about how they’ve worked around the world, interact daily with CEOs, set corporate wide strategy, and only hire from the top schools…
THEN, you have companies like one I sat in on yesterday (who shall remain nameless) where they talked about how “You! Yes, you! …can join and bond with 160 other interns from business schools around the globe…” Can you feel the exclusivity? Obviously, that’s the reason we’re all paying $150k+ to go to HBS. Oh, but they also offer exciting exposure to their unique Buzzword Management System! And a career track that might offer you a management job for a local sales office in 3-5 years! Isn’t that exciting!?!?
Ok, so, maybe I’m a bit cynical. I was actually originally concerned — I’ve heard rumours that many companies who Make Real Things™ fail to come back to HBS because they end up getting so few applications. But if they’re all like some of the operations companies I’ve seen the last few days, I have little sympathy for them. Even within the economic downturn, finance & consulting just have so much more to offer.