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On-campus vs. a Self-initiated job search?

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On-campus vs. a Self-initiated job search? [#permalink] New post 13 Mar 2009, 14:12
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I'd love to hear people's opinions on this topic, especially the guys in b-school right now.

I've got to choose between two schools, one that has an obvious (though not overwhelming) advantage in terms of recruiting in health care and one that has an excellent overall recruiting program.

I've approached both schools career development offices and it's not easy to get a handle on who recruits where. It often changes year to year and it caters to the demands of the students (i.e. if students aren't interested in the west coast, the career office doesn't bother trying to get those companies to come to campus).

I've talked to students from both schools who have found internships/full-time jobs through on campus recruiting and those who found jobs through their own leg work.

I've learned the following about on campus recruiting:

Pros:
- lots of openings available
- it doesn't take a lot of effort to get an interview
- great for career switchers because companies often recruit for "feeder" programs


Cons:
- if you've got specialized skills, sometimes you'll be treated like a career switcher and be offered a position below what you could get yourself
- the on-campus process is very "go through the motions"; you can often land an internship/full-time job without really putting a lot of thought into the decision.

What do you guys think? How important is on-campus recruiting for someone who doesn't want to switch careers? For someone who does?

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Re: On-campus vs. a Self-initiated job search? [#permalink] New post 13 Mar 2009, 17:27
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Alight my opinions...nearly opposite of what you wrote. I did on and off campus, and I got offers from on and off campus.

refurb wrote:
Pros:
1- lots of openings available
2- it doesn't take a lot of effort to get an interview
3- great for career switchers because companies often recruit for "feeder" programs

1. Not entirely true. Lots of companies but a company may come to school targeting 1 person or 10. Really depends on the industry, the strength of that school in that area, and the needs of the company at that time. There are companies that hired drastically more people here this year than in the past but there are some firms who due to their business were way down.
2. Not true, you can drop for 30 companies and not get any closed lists...yes you can bid onto them but thats often not the same. 30-50% success rate getting on the closed list is doing well, 50% is doing incredibly well. Of course this depends on the industry and company. A consulting company might interview 100+ people so getting on the closed list is not nearly as hard as some popular companies that interview 12-16 people. A lot of those consulting folks apply to stuff outside of that as backups but not many people targeting GM, Marketing, Corp Fin, or others apply to consulting stuff.
Yes its not a huge amount of effort to drop resumes and write coverletters (after the first few they get pretty easy). However, from my experience, networking upfront with those companies drastically increases one's success rate. So if you want to get on closed lists and get through to the 2nd round you better be proactive and network with alums at the company and the recruiters.
3. Definitely not true these days. Career switching is very difficult these days. Most people had success either in the industry they have the most directly related experience in or their previous work experience was closely related to the what they are applying for. Some career switching happened, but definitely not to the extent it happened in the past. Healthcare actually appeared to be the industry where people had the highest rate of success switching.

refurb wrote:
Cons:
1- if you've got specialized skills, sometimes you'll be treated like a career switcher and be offered a position below what you could get yourself
2- the on-campus process is very "go through the motions"; you can often land an internship/full-time job without really putting a lot of thought into the decision.

1. On campus pretty much has the same starting point for everyone. Occasionally some people manage to get the high end but their experience is amazing, and it can be at companies that hire on campus and they did their internship at to prove themselves.
2. Wow, tell that to the 50% of people who fail getting stuff on campus. Its not as easy as showing up and getting jobs, especially these days. Even in good times plenty of folks come up empty or get offers they are far from excited about. The interviewing process is intense, often way worse than off campus. A recruiter the ability to compare two people against each other immediately without...so if you are unprepared either with knowledge of the company or for questions you are going to stand out horribly compared to the 10 other people that person interviews that day.

On campus:
Pros:

1. Structure, the companies coming are used to recruiting and hiring MBA's. The timeline is much better most of the time...it definitely isnt the blackhole that is off-campus. I did an interview off campus and heard a month later I was going to get a 2nd round. On campus most companies come back within a really reasonable time, they wont drag you along and then suddenly say nothing is available. It happens occasionally on campus, definitely did this year...but not like off campus where there is no real control over the process.
2. Companies are going to pay market value. I noticed a huge difference on what most oncampus and offcampus internship offers payed. I had one offer that was off campus, good role, big company, got it from very high ups in the company, and it still payed less than half what my highest offer paid. A company coming on campus will never have success if they aren't willing to pay reasonably close to what expectations are. However, off campus companies may not have the understanding of what an MBA would pay.
3. While its still work, you pretty much know what the job will be before signing up. Its not nearly as much of an unknown.
4. The value of your degree...a company usually knows not just what you should get paid but what you should be able to do for jobs. They hire MBAs routinely and have experience with providing jobs that are demanding but wont set you up to fail at.
5. I have heard of some people managing to start at higher levels if they rule their internship, have related work experience, and negotiate well. I was actually told by where I am going on my internship that they occasionally bring people in at a higher level, but that decision is made by senior management so networking well with the right people during the internship will help. These companies have traditional paths for MBA's so they can skip you up a level if you are the right person for that job.

Cons:
1. Lots of competition from people that maybe using that as a back up and arent nearly as passionate about it.
2. Sense of rejection. You know people are getting those jobs and when you dont, its a lot different than when you try to network off campus and fail. Off campus failure feels more like there wasnt a position available than you not making some cut.
3. The known timeline, as the end approaches stress can increase drastically for people who havent landed something.
4. Its a pretty open process and though its not very competitive here, you know who has multiple offers and who has none.

Off Campus
Pros:

1. Can find some very unique opportunities
2. Often have more input in the type of project you will be doing. If you want to do something strategy, M&A, supply chain, whatever...they know up front what you want and usually wont give you an offer outside that area.
3. Can be very quick if you make the right contact. I know people who managed to get their way to the right alum who was well positioned and without much of an interview landed an offer.
4. If you have some amazing background you might swing a huge salary or bonus.

Cons:
1. Blackhole, its often hard to findout who has what available. Sometimes you hear, we might have something and sometimes you might here follow up in april or may.
2. Good luck with companies who recruit at other campuses unless they are second tier and you are at a top 10. These days companies have fewer slots and they want to maintain their relationships with certain schools and so they focus on those students. Chances are you arent as special as you might imagine when a company recruits at 5 or 6 schools, if there is someone remotely like you there then they are getting the job over you. Often these relationships are strengthened by alumni of those schools positioned in the company. I know where I am going, I was championed by an alum for a pretty interesting opportunity. Without alums on the recruiting team some of those unique and cool positions wont be going to you since you wont have that insider.
3. Fewer alums at companies that dont come on campus. I am in the energy area, I could find 30 to 50 alums at Chevron or Exxon since they recruit here and have for years. But I would find 1 or 2 at some other major oil companies that never have been on campus. Chances of an alum being in a major position of influence are much better at a company that recruits heavily at your school and has for a very very long time. If you have alums in senior management then chances are that they will definitely be hiring from that school at a pretty solid rate.


My advice...on vs off campus really depends on your career goal. If you have a goal in a function and/or industry that recruits heavily on campus that is 100 times better to do for most people. If you want something that is usually off campus or very outside the box of traditional MBA positions then on-campus strength doesnt matter. If you want Industry X going to the school with the amazing rep in that makes far more sense than a slightly better school with no rep in that at all. I know some people here are trying to decide between different schools...sometimes there is no difference in opportunities and sometimes its a huge difference.

I wouldnt recommend Kellogg if you want to do boutique IBing or something like that simply because not a whole lot of those come here and not a ton of alums are at those companies. However, if you wanted CPG or Healthcare, then the list of companies that comes here is staggering and number of alums in those industries is incredible, even outside the companies who recruit because people have switched companies years out of school. While you might think that tons of people come here from those backgrounds, but honestly there are far more positions than their are people with experience...especially in years better than this. I know some very strange career switchers who landed amazing gigs. Engineers working on missile defense going into HC marketing at one of the best companies to get hired by here. Teaching to big name brand management.

Sometimes its a toss up, you could be looking at MC and be comparing two schools with the same reputation and placement...at which point then its not as big of a difference. McKinsey is going to have tons of alums from all the top schools, will recruit there like crazy, and hire the most qualified people. They arent going to say well we only hired 10 from school X but 25 from school Y, our next 5 offers go to school X people. I mean this year McKinsey made more internship offers at Kellogg than the past few years but there is no way their hiring is up overall...they just liked lots of kellogg students this year and I dont doubt for a second if those people were at Booth, Wharton, or Columbia they would be getting the same offers.

I am not a fan of specialty rankings since I dont think they mean much...I am a fan of placement stats. If you dream about working for 5 companies go to the school that gets the largest number of them on-campus...especially if they hire large numbers of people. Thats not to say turn down a top 5 for a top 20, because usually the level of companies is different. Another interesting thing I have found out is that sometimes companies pay differently for different schools...and sometimes the positions available are very different. You might go in a step below a manager role or even an entry manager role from one school or two or three steps below from another. You could make 90k from one school but 120k from another...usually the positions are different but sometimes not totally different. I wasnt so sure how accurate this was when I first heard it from some alums but this is easily supported by the hiring and salary stats for various schools. I can tell you that some of the higher paying companies in certain industries here also hire at schools in the 15 to 25 range and the high pay at those schools in those industry are way below what those companies pay here...I am talking a 20k+ difference between their high salary for that industry and what those companies offer everyone here as a base starting salary. This is one thing to think about when debating a scholarship at school X and nothign from school Y.
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Re: On-campus vs. a Self-initiated job search? [#permalink] New post 13 Mar 2009, 14:21
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I think for the traditional types of recruiters that look for MBAs year after year like banking (do they still count), consulting, general management rotational, marketing/product management with big firms and so forth, it's a huge advantage to be at a school that recruiters target. It's a world of difference if you're part of their normal process and if you're trying to get attention from the outside looking in. In many cases, firms recruiting for these traditional roles don't need to look beyond their target schools; and when times are tough the few people that these firms do take will be from schools where they want to maintain their relationships.

In other industries where recruiting is more irregular, where recruiters to not necessarily maintain maintain ongoing relationships and so forth, other factors might matter more. Those factors include school reputation, alumni in position (and willing) to help, proximity and so forth.

So, I don't know much about health care recruiting, but according to your description recruiting companies and demand changes from year to year. In this case, I'd probably lean towards a school with the better overall reputation (especially in the field you're interested in), the stronger and more responsive alumni base and proximity to the jobs you're interested in.
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Re: On-campus vs. a Self-initiated job search? [#permalink] New post 13 Mar 2009, 14:29
Thanks Pelihu for another great post!

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Re: On-campus vs. a Self-initiated job search? [#permalink] New post 13 Mar 2009, 14:36
I think us healthcare people will have a fairly even mix of on-campus and self-initiated job searching.

That said, go to Tuck! :lol:
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Re: On-campus vs. a Self-initiated job search? [#permalink] New post 13 Mar 2009, 19:38
riverripper wrote:
Alight my opinions...nearly opposite of what you wrote. I did on and off campus, and I got offers from on and off campus.


Dam! RR, you sure you don't have a call as a writer? I think you just about wrote the first chapter in your new book!

Thanks for the great post!

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Re: On-campus vs. a Self-initiated job search? [#permalink] New post 13 Mar 2009, 22:50
Good stuff River...
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Re: On-campus vs. a Self-initiated job search? [#permalink] New post 14 Mar 2009, 06:45
Great information guys!
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Re: On-campus vs. a Self-initiated job search? [#permalink] New post 14 Mar 2009, 10:32
Great insight, river.

Do you (or anyone else) have any comments on what to expect with international job searches? I fully expect to do a whole lot more self-initiated searches vs. on-campus recruiting. It seems the on-campus recruiters come in with a set number of (domestic?) placements available. Do they make time to look at those interested in international positions (assuming multi-national companies, here)? I imagine some on-campus recruiting happens for Far East and Europe.

I don't mind interning in the US but I will be looking for jobs in the Middle East/North Africa when I graduate.
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Re: On-campus vs. a Self-initiated job search? [#permalink] New post 14 Mar 2009, 13:14
From what I understand, for the big three MC firms you have to recruit for a specific office. Is there anyway to find out which offices recruit at which schools. Is it possible to do off campus recruiting for an office that may not send any reps to your school. For example, BCG has an office in Miami. What if I really want to try and get a job at that office, but BCG Miami doesn't send anyone to Kellogg in a specific year?
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Re: On-campus vs. a Self-initiated job search? [#permalink] New post 14 Mar 2009, 14:27
domtri33 wrote:
From what I understand, for the big three MC firms you have to recruit for a specific office. Is there anyway to find out which offices recruit at which schools. Is it possible to do off campus recruiting for an office that may not send any reps to your school. For example, BCG has an office in Miami. What if I really want to try and get a job at that office, but BCG Miami doesn't send anyone to Kellogg in a specific year?

I didnt do MC but from what I understand most firms do R1 for the entire company then advance you to your desired offices from there. Some occasionally do slightly different things. McKinsey's southern offices did one days worth, so you literally did 4 interviews in one day, no R1 or R2...all at once. So people got offers very fast for certain offices like Houston and Atlanta.

I think as long as you have a reason for being in an office then school isnt as big of a decider. However, if you are trying to get into an easier office just because its easier not because you have some big tie to Cleveland or wherever...well then you probably wont be successful. If you are from some smaller less popular place, then you definitely can make that office from a big name school. That said local schools tend to place strongest in their region. San Fran probably is loaded with Stanford folks, NYC with columbia, Chicago with Kellogg, Boston with HBS.

Reps will almost always be local though, but dont worry networking for MC is basically useless from what I heard. They just care about your background, how smart you are, and how well you do on the cases.

As far as internationals, I am not one but I know their on-campus opportunities are much slimmer than peopel with work authorization...MC will hire them, banks had been hiring them, tech companies usually arent bothered by it. In other industries it varies from pretty common to allow internationals to apply for jobs, to almost no companies in some areas allowing internationals to apply...CPG marketing is almost impossible to get into as an international, very few even interview and then you have the cultural differences that are always a concern.
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Re: On-campus vs. a Self-initiated job search? [#permalink] New post 15 Mar 2009, 05:12
River/Pelihu,

Can you guys comment on companies that recruit but don't actually come on campus?

When I tried to get a list of companies that recruit at Duke, the career office lady told me it really hard to provide such a list and it can often be misleading because schools will list a company as recruiting at their school, when in fact, all they are doing is posting a job opening, nobody actually comes to campus.

Does that kind of fall in between on-campus and self-initiated in terms of it's value? Does it really offer any advantage?

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Re: On-campus vs. a Self-initiated job search? [#permalink] New post 15 Mar 2009, 07:22
refurb wrote:
River/Pelihu,

Can you guys comment on companies that recruit but don't actually come on campus?

When I tried to get a list of companies that recruit at Duke, the career office lady told me it really hard to provide such a list and it can often be misleading because schools will list a company as recruiting at their school, when in fact, all they are doing is posting a job opening, nobody actually comes to campus.

Does that kind of fall in between on-campus and self-initiated in terms of it's value? Does it really offer any advantage?

RF

Personally that sounds like a BS answer. Kellogg's and many other schools that I remember publish the list of the companies that come on campus, and I think every school should have that available. I mean they know who booked interview rooms and posted on those lists, it wouldnt be too hard to get that information. Maybe this year they had a huge drop in companies coming on campus so they said that or maybe it was who you talked to.

My views of the job postings. I think the majority of these posts are either from companies that recruit on campus already for other positions or they are companies that hire very few MBA's so they don't recruit anywhere or maybe at one or two schools in their immediate area. However, there are plenty of jobs posted by companies that recruit at other schools and in the end your chances aren't that great. The companies that already come on campus wont really treat you very different, these jobs are often are in areas that dont need large numbers of MBA's. Sometimes they recruit for these positions at other schools, at which point yes your chances are going to be less. The smaller ones, range from completely level playing field to no chance really...some are very location sensitive. I had an interview at a company in the whole interview was about why I wanted to be in that location fulltime (mind you this is an internship). These companies hire people with the idea of being longterm investments not like someone who hires 20 and know that in 5 years they probably will have half those people still there.

I still think that if you know the companies you want to be at go to the school where they show up on campus. If they dont recruit anywhere, then job postings will work. However, if you know they recruit at 5 schools and post on others job sites the ones the go to are where they will be doing the bulk of hiring...even for different positions.

If the career people wont tell you what you want. Talk to the club for the industry you want to look at, they should be able to tell you if the companies you want come on campus. We can get a list of all the companies based entirely off the bid data or even by going back into the oncampus deadlines. Students should know of a way to get you an accurate list of fulltime and internship recruiters.
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Re: On-campus vs. a Self-initiated job search? [#permalink] New post 15 Mar 2009, 08:42
riverripper wrote:
If the career people wont tell you what you want. Talk to the club for the industry you want to look at, they should be able to tell you if the companies you want come on campus. We can get a list of all the companies based entirely off the bid data or even by going back into the oncampus deadlines. Students should know of a way to get you an accurate list of fulltime and internship recruiters.


Thanks River!

I'm getting the sense that Duke is a little hesitant to provide such a list for fear that I'll use it as a checklist to decide whether or not to accept and ignore other important factors (I'm not that stupid). I actually first contacted the president of the health care club first and he sent me to someone at the career center.

In my situation that's actually kinda funny because I'm getting the sense that Duke is actually stronger than Tuck in terms of on-campus recruiting.

At any rate, I'm not taking any guff! :x They're not the ones dropping $100K in tuition. I just sent off a couple emails to both schools asking very specifically for a list of companies that recruited on-campus last year.

We'll see what kind of response I get.

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Re: On-campus vs. a Self-initiated job search? [#permalink] New post 17 Mar 2009, 15:56
Thought I'd post a quick update.

I talked to the career office at both Duke and Tuck and was able to get a list of companies that recruited, on-campus at both schools last year. There was some hesitation on the part of Duke, as the career office contact wanted to make sure that I understood that not everyone finds a job through on-campus recruiting. I told her I was aware of that the top schools typically see 40-70% of students finding jobs through on-campus recruiting, most of the rest doing self-initiated job searches with or without help from alumni. She was happy my expectations were realistic.

I also learned that the two schools don't differ much when it comes to biotech/pharma recruiting. There are some region differences (Tuck is stronger in the New England area, Duke is stronger in the mid-west), but I would say that comparing both lists, there is close to 90% overlap between the two schools.

One interesting difference is that Tuck places a lot fewer students in biotech/pharma jobs than Duke does. There were ~10 big pharma and biotech companies that recruited on-campus at each school last year, however Duke placed students with almost every company while Tuck only placed students in three companies. The Tuck career office contact confirmed this when he said it took some extra effort to keep the companies coming back each year because they often leave empty handed.

So it begs the question, which is a better situation?

High placement rate
+ long-term relationships with companies
+ lots of alumni
- lots of on-campus competition from other students

Low placement rate
+ lots of attention from companies
- fewer alumni (although in Tuck's case, I've already talked to 3 alumni at companies I'm targeting)
- higher chance that a company that came last year won't be there this year

I have a feeling the competition thing is kind of irrelevant because companies rarely recruit at only one school. Even if you're the only person to get a second interview at your school, you're still up against the best from other top schools.

Comments?

PS Big thanks to River for pushing me to get the info I needed!!

RF
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Re: On-campus vs. a Self-initiated job search? [#permalink] New post 17 Mar 2009, 16:34
refurb,

Good ground work! I am curious - did Duke provide you information on how many students were offered jobs at each company or was it just a list of companies that visited campus last year? Also, did you ask only about HC/biotech or all industries?

Thanks,
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Re: On-campus vs. a Self-initiated job search? [#permalink] New post 17 Mar 2009, 16:46
svrider wrote:
refurb,

Good ground work! I am curious - did Duke provide you information on how many students were offered jobs at each company or was it just a list of companies that visited campus last year? Also, did you ask only about HC/biotech or all industries?

Thanks,
SV


SV,

If you check out the Duke 2007-2008 preliminary employment report here, it will tell you two things:

- who the top hiring companies at Duke are (name of company and number placed)
- which companies hired at least one Duke grad (it also shows which companies hired an international student)

In order to find out which companies came to campus to recruit last year I had to contact the career office and she looked it up on her computer and verbally told me the name of each company. I only asked about biotech/pharma, but I'm sure if you contact them, they'd be happy to share the info for your industry!

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Re: On-campus vs. a Self-initiated job search? [#permalink] New post 17 Mar 2009, 20:48
IMO with the information you have now I feel that there are only 2 primary factors that should guide your decision: 1) Which school do you personally like better/fit better with 2) Which school has the stronger overall reputation/brand (you probably feel dead set on your career path right now but most people change careers 7+ times so I think there is a real benefit to going to the school with the broadest and strongest overall reputation as a tiebreaker).

I don't think that recruiting should be a significant factor in your decision anymore. If both schools have 10 companies that come to campus, I think you're set. And even if Tuck loses 1-2 due to a lack of student interest, I don't think that should impact your decision. I think that's more than offset by the fact that at Tuck it seems you will be virtually guaranteed an interview with every single HC firm that comes to campus (10 companies showed up and only 3 were able to land a Tuck student so landing close lists should be pretty easy, if that fails then 50% of on campus interview slots are open for bidding and it doesn't seem like these slots will take too many bid points at Tuck). At Duke you also have those 10 companies plus the alumni network in HC (which seems to be stronger than Tuck's in that field) so you should land a good number of interviews there too. If both schools are going to give you the chance to sit on front of a company rep for a round 1 interview with about 10 of your target companies that's all you can ask for. After that it's all up to you. Therefore, I really think you should eliminate recruiting as a factor at this point. Good luck with your decision.

Disclaimer: admitted to both Tuck and Duke, 99.99% sure I will be attending Tuck
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Re: On-campus vs. a Self-initiated job search? [#permalink] New post 17 Mar 2009, 21:05
IHateTheGMAT wrote:
IMO with the information you have now I feel that there are only 2 primary factors that should guide your decision: 1) Which school do you personally like better/fit better with 2) Which school has the stronger overall reputation/brand (you probably feel dead set on your career path right now but most people change careers 7+ times so I think there is a real benefit to going to the school with the broadest and strongest overall reputation as a tiebreaker).

I don't think that recruiting should be a significant factor in your decision anymore. If both schools have 10 companies that come to campus, I think you're set. And even if Tuck loses 1-2 due to a lack of student interest, I don't think that should impact your decision. I think that's more than offset by the fact that at Tuck it seems you will be virtually guaranteed an interview with every single HC firm that comes to campus (10 companies showed up and only 3 were able to land a Tuck student so landing close lists should be pretty easy, if that fails then 50% of on campus interview slots are open for bidding and it doesn't seem like these slots will take too many bid points at Tuck). At Duke you also have those 10 companies plus the alumni network in HC (which seems to be stronger than Tuck's in that field) so you should land a good number of interviews there too. If both schools are going to give you the chance to sit on front of a company rep for a round 1 interview with about 10 of your target companies that's all you can ask for. After that it's all up to you. Therefore, I really think you should eliminate recruiting as a factor at this point. Good luck with your decision.

Disclaimer: admitted to both Tuck and Duke, 99.99% sure I will be attending Tuck


YES! Fuqua still stands a 0.01% chance. Go to Blue Devil Weekend.
Re: On-campus vs. a Self-initiated job search?   [#permalink] 17 Mar 2009, 21:05
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