By Francesca Di Meglio September 13, 2013
Solvig Gentile spent the summer before business school researching possible careers by reading business books, working on her résumé, and familiarizing herself with case interviews. It was a good thing, too, she says.
At the start of the school year, she found herself knee-deep in recruiting, and by November she had committed to an internship in human resources, says the second-year student at Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management.
Gentile is typical of many business school students who find themselves having to know exactly what career direction to take the minute they set foot on campus. Just as Christmas arrives in October—at least in many shopping centers—MBA internship recruiting has moved up from January to September.
There are pros and cons to an earlier recruiting season. For starters, Gentile says she was able to have a true winter break, and the pressure was off during the spring semester. Recruiters who get a jump on competitors have first pick at top hires earlier in the season.
“As we’re coming out of a recession, businesses need to hire great talent to solve problems, and they are increasingly turning to their interns to create a full-time pipeline,” says Jack Oakes, assistant dean for career development at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. “Companies want to interview students once and hire them twice.”
The goal, Oakes says, is lock up summer interns early and offer most of them full-time jobs when they graduate, virtually avoiding the need to come back to campus the following year. Oakes, who was attending the National Black MBA Association’s annual career fair on Sept. 12, just three weeks after most business schools started classes, reports that Target (TGT) is not hiring MBAs for its merchandising department because it has already filled all the posts with interns who accepted full-time positions.
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