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By Jiao Wang

STAFF REPORTER

Consistent with last year, the employers that hired the most 2003 graduates were MIT, McKinsey &Co., IBM, US Navy, Merill Lynch and Microsoft. The percentage of undergraduates who went directly to work decreased from 65 percent to 33 percent. 59 percent of international students found jobs in the United States, compared to 77 percent in 2002. 25 percent of MIT graduates remained to work in Massachusetts. Relatively few graduates in 2003 and 2002 decided to take jobs in the defense sector, in nonprofit and in government.

The percentage of undergraduates who went directly to work decreased from 65 percent to 33 percent. Consistent with last year, the employers that hired the most 2003 graduates were MIT, McKinsey &Co., IBM, US Navy, Merill Lynch and Microsoft. The top five destinations for graduate school were MIT, Harvard University, University of California- Berkeley, Stanford Univeristy and California Institute of Technology.

59 percent of international students found jobs in the United States, compared to 77 percent in 2002. 25 percent of MIT graduates remained to work in Massachusetts. Relatively few graduates in 2003 and 2002 decided to take jobs in the defense sector, in nonprofit and in government.

During pre-career week, the Careers Office sponsored walk-in resume critiques and workshops on how to work a career fair, sponsored by Microsoft and Broadcom. The topics discussed included how to approach companies, how to dress formally and the development of appropriate interview techniques.

On Sept. 22, 2004, the eve of the career fair, the MIT Alumni Dinner was held at Marriott Hotel. Siddhartha Jain, one of the representatives on the career fair committee, said that over two hundred students and MIT alums attended it. The dinner provided a friendly atmosphere for students to get to know their potential employers, many of whom were MIT alums.

A record of 206 companies took part in the career fair, a 30 percent increase from the year before. More than 4,000 students attended. MIT had two platinum sponsors, three gold, eleven silver, and twenty bronze, compared to one platinum sponsor, five silver and fourteen bronze the year before.

This year, the engineering sector was housed in the Johnson Athletic Center, while the finance and consulting sector, which made up more than 20 percent of the total companies, was given a separate area in Rockwell Cage. Robert J. Richard, associate director of employer relations at MIT, said that the clear division between the two better satisfies everyone’s needs.

The career fair was sponsored by the Graduate Student Council, the Class of 2005 and the Society of Women Engineers. This was also the first year that there was a collaboration with Science and Engineering Business Club, which focused on the development of the finance and consulting sector in Rockwell Cage.

This year, for the first time, the Graduate Student Council, at the urging of members of the Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay and Transgendered at MIT group, asked employers if they were wiling to offer equal benefits to same-sex couples, Jain said.

Approximately forty percent of companies were willing to provide this benefit, and individual company responses appeared in a booklet distributed at the career fair.

Next year, the career fair committee hopes to plan the scheduling so that there will be less conflict between the general career fair and individual company presentations, Jain said.

He also said that he hopes that, in the future, the career fair will be an “institutionalized event,” which would be publicly recognized and supported by all the departments at large.

This would give faculty and the career fair committee more leeway to recruit under-represented organizations, such as pharmaceutical and biological companies, and those that represent the public sector.

Employers pleased with fair

Carole A. Ferrari, associate director of the MIT Careers Office, said that there was strong praise from employers on how professionally the career fair was organized.

Robert J. Richard, Associate Director of Employer Relations, said that employers were pleased with the access to high quality students. Ferrari said that when employers are forced to cut back on the number of schools that they visit, MIT is one of the last to be eliminated.

He said that it is a combination of product knowledge and experience that determine a student’s amount of transferrable skills and that it is the rationality, methodology, focus and analytical skills of MIT students that make them particularly attractive to employers.

Richard said that the workaholic and entrepreneurial atmosphere of MIT fosters a stereotype with most employers that MIT students are technically oriented “geeks.” He hopes to dispel these stereotypes by bringing in more under-represented companies.

Richard expressed a concern with the number of no-shows of students during campus recruiting. One employer received four no-shows in one afternoon. While things may come up unexpectedly, this occurrence reflects poorly on MIT, he said.

In addition to the career fair, many companies also request student resumes online, and then set up on-campus interviews for qualified students, he said.

During the Spring, the European Club and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers will host separate mini-career fairs.