Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Stanford's eHarmony-Style Job Search Offers Large Payoff

John Byrne offers a window into Stanford GSB's career services office with his article, "Creating An eHarmony Model for MBA Careers." He starts by reminding readers that graduates from Stanford GSB report the highest median base salaries—about $120,000/year compared to Harvard and Wharton's $110,000, Dartmouth and Kellogg's $105,000, and Columbia's $100,000. Furthermore, he states, nearly twice as many Stanford grads receive other guaranteed compensation as do HBS graduates.
Such numbers could be attributed to Stanford's small class size (about 385 a year compared to 910 at Harvard), to its location in the Silicon Valley, and/or to its phenomenal Career Management Center.
It is this latter consideration that Byrne focuses on in his article. The GSB's Career Management Center is headed by Pulin Sanghvi who is modeling the career match process to a system similar to that of eHarmony, a popular dating website.
Bryne sums up Sanghvi's understanding of the changing face of MBA recruiting as such:
"MBA recruiting is changing from the old recruiters-visit-campus model to one that is far more customized and targeted to individual student desires and goals. Roughly 80% of the companies that recruit at the school now hire only a single Stanford grad a year. For many of these recruiters, it makes little sense to come to campus and interview dozens to hundreds of students. Half of Stanford’s graduates now do self-directed job searches, forgoing the prestigious yet more traditional MBA jobs with McKinsey, BCG, Goldman and Morgan Stanley. Instead, they’re searching for positions with smaller companies in biotech, healthcare, private equity, or venture capital. They’re looking at small hedge funds along with Internet and technology startups."
To accommodate this change, Sanghvi is relying more on online resources to connect students with unique career opportunities. Similar to eHarmony's personalized matching system, Sanghvi is crafting custom support for individual students to connect them with jobs that best match their objectives and skills.
Stanford's career management staff uses an innovative software program to match student-updated online profiles to available career opportunities and to create customized support and mentorship between students and career advisors. The process is not automated, but more "an outcome of…high touch service" (15 full-time people in the career management center for 385 students). Such personalized matchmaking is realistic only when you're dealing with a student body the size of Stanford's.
“As we capture information online, we are using it to inform our one-on-one interactions with them,” says Sanghvi. “What we can bring every student is deeply customized support. Instead of focusing on generic topics, we’ll find out that there are ten students who want to know how to network in the clean tech industry. So then we can do customized programming for them, gathering best practices for that industry and bringing in alums from clean tech to speak with them.”
As a result of Sanghvi's program's success, many Stanford students are choosing not to participate in the fall recruiting cycle; the school has adopted a year-round recruiting schedule instead, recognizing that sometimes the longer you stay in the market, the greater the opportunities you may encounter.
Here are some statistics included in Byrne's article on how MBAs of Stanford's class of 2010 found their high-paying jobs:
On-Campus Recruiting: 27%
Other (GSB-facilitated): 4%
Alumni: 4%
Job Boards: 6%
Resume Book: 2%
Career Fair: 1%
Faculty: 1%
GSB Class/Project: 1%
Student Club/Club Event: 1%
Pre-MBA Employer: 23%
Family/Friend: 11%
Business Contact: 11%
Other (student-facilitated): 5%
Company Website: 2%
Executive Search Firm: 1%
Undergraduate Network: 1

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