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Candidate confidence surges as big consulting and banking firms aggressively compete for talent
August 11, 2005
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San Francisco, Calif. -- Candidates from top-tier undergrad and MBA programs are once again finding themselves on the winning side of supply and demand. The big firms have significantly increased their recruiting efforts over the last year, according to WetFeet’s 2005 Student Recruitment Report.

The survey was fielded in April/May 2005 and points to three main factors for the surge; the big firms are hiring for more positions, candidates are receiving more and better offers, and the recruiting season is compressing as candidates are making decisions about their offers much earlier in the recruiting cycle, effectively decreasing the traditional spring and fall recruiting seasons.

“We’re now in the third year of a recovery cycle for the student job market,” said Steve Pollock, president of WetFeet, Inc. and author of the report. “Students at top schools are highly confident about their prospects in the job market and they’ve raised the bar for employers, who are having to increase their recruiting activity and offers to stay competitive.”

The companies hiring the most people in thes survey increased their number of hires substantially this year. The top 15 companies hired an average of 26.8 students, compared to 16.5 just a year ago. Leading in hiring was McKinsey & Co., which hired 63 candidates in the survey population, up from 21 in 2004.

The Student Recruitment Report 2005 is WetFeet’s seventh annual survey of more than 2,500 undergraduate, MBA and graduate school candidates at top-tier schools.

“As competition heats up, firms that depend on top student talent can’t afford to fly blind. Our industry-focused reports provide a wealth of focused information about how leading players measure up to their direct competitors in students’ eyes,” said Pollock.

The average number of offers received by students at top-tier schools increased for the third straight year with undergrads seeing an 18 percent jump in average number of offers received, and MBAs seeing an 11 percent increase. Since a low point in 2001-2002, the average number of offers for undergraduates and MBAs has increased more than 60 percent.

Students ranked McKinsey & Co., Boston Consulting Group and Bain Co. as the top three management consulting firms they’d most like to work for. For financial services, Goldman Sachs was first, Morgan Stanley second and Citigroup third. For consumer product goods/pharmaceutical, students rated Johnson & Johnson first, Procter & Gamble second and Nike third.

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