Sunday, September 28, 2008

Business Schools Are Stepping Up to the Plate for Wall Street Alum

The September 23rd Wall Street Journal article “Business Schools Gird for Wall Street Woes” by Alina Dizik described various actions being taken by business schools to help alum hit by the Wall Street crisis as well as current students planning a career on Wall Street.

If you have been affected by the Wall Street crisis, check with the careers services office at your alma mater to see if special services have been added to help people in your situation.

In addition, according to the article:

Career office staff members are also trying to steer undergrads to alternative careers. Patricia Rose, director of career services at the University of Pennsylvania, deals with undergraduate business school students along with students in other majors. Typically, Wharton sends about 50% of its undergraduates into investment banking. Ms. Rose says she’s recommending Wharton students look into technology or public service jobs, which are more plentiful than coveted finance jobs.

In accordance with the FLIPPING BURGERS philosophy of following your passion – and being willing to find a new passion if the first passion doesn’t work out, I think the accompanying article in the September 23rd Journal is more helpful: “Weighing a New Industry for a New Job Outlook” by Chandlee Bryan.

The article recommends thoroughly researching a possible new field. Here’s some good advice on research:

The recent turmoil at financial firms underscores the need to go beyond research on compensation and industry trends. Educate yourself on how a company or industry runs and pending legislation that may affect the employment outlook in a field. Review analyst reports, scour RSS feeds, and set up Google News Alerts by keyword once you’ve narrowed a field of interest.

This is excellent advice, and it should be coupled with using your network of friends and family to get the inside story. A few years ago I was hired at a web design firm just as it moved to swanky new quarters in downtown LA. Because I was in charge of the content of two major projects, I soon realized that there wasn’t enough work to keep everyone busy. Sure enough, in about two months several people, including myself, were let go.

Even if we had had the same level of internet news access then that we have now, this news wouldn’t have been public. It was only because I had my “boots on the ground” – to use a military expression – that I could see what was happening.

Whether you’re in high school, college or grad school now, talk to people in different careers to learn all you can about the vulnerabilities as well as the opportunities in that field. Keep the information you learned in an organized fashion in order to make reasonable comparisons. And make sure you date the info so you know how “fresh” it is when you later make comparisons.

And remember that you can make your own opportunities if you identify a need that isn’t being fulfilled at a company or in an industry. The responsibility is on you to learn as much as you can and then use that knowledge for your own advantage.

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1 comment:

Chandlee said...

Thanks very much for your kind words on my article on how to evaluate and apply for opportunities in new industry sectors.

One coincidence of note: I am actively involved with Penn's response to the Wall Street Crisis I worked full-time at Penn's Undergraduate Career Services office for several years. I recently opened my own private practice in New York and still work at Penn on a part-time, as needed basis. I will be facilitating Penn's sessions for alumni in New York; we'll be focusing on how alums can leverage their functional skills and experiences in seeking out new opportunities.

Thanks again,

P.S. Great blog.