Management Consulting Firms Top Survey of Best Student Recruiters

The value of consulting advice may be in the eye of the person writing the check. But it seems corporate recruiters would be well served to follow the practices of three global management consulting firms that have topped WetFeet’s eighth annual State of Student Recruiting survey.

Some 3,055 undergraduate students and MBAs at top-tier colleges and universities participated in the survey and ranked McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group, and Bain & Company as their top three choices when it came to evaluating how effectively they recruited during the Spring 2006 campus recruiting cycle.

The students were asked which companies actively recruited them, how they view prospective employers, how they determine which to include on their short list of prospective employers, and which recruiting tactics were most effective.

“McKinsey’s on-campus presentation [was] impressive because they brought in many analysts and company representatives to speak with the students. There were so many McKinsey representatives there that it showed the firm cared about recruiting,” said one undergraduate respondent.

“Bain & Company’s recruiting presentation [was] very well put together, made the work seem meaningful (many i-banks fail on this point), made the culture seem amazing,” another undergraduate confided.

Another player in the consulting field, IBM, also received kudos for the quality of its student recruitment process. Said one undergraduate: “IBM sponsored a leadership conference at the school; it was impressive because of the number of employees there and how they all treated everyone as if they were their future co-workers and not just college kids.”

Among the more than 1,100 employers that actively competed for these candidates, students ranked two other management consulting firms, Deloitte & Touche and Booz Allen Hamilton, among the top 10, along with Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs, Target, Microsoft, and JPMorgan Chase. Target, Microsoft, and Deloitte & Touche were new to the list. Companies that fell out of the Top 10 most effective corporate student recruiters included Citigroup, Johnson & Johnson, and Kraft.

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Students said the top recruiters had great campus information sessions, sent a large number of impressive representatives to campus, treated candidates with respect, and had a strong word-of-mouth reputation.

“This shows that job offers, salaries, and employer prestige can only carry a company so far,” says Steve Pollock, president of WetFeet and leader of its research and consulting practice. “The personal interactions candidates have during the recruiting experience greatly impact where these top candidates are choosing to work.”

Other findings in the WetFeet report include:?

  • The average number of job offers received by undergraduates and MBAs increased for the fourth straight year, while the number of companies students are actually applying to has decreased.
  • Compensation expectations and offers received continue to increase, with 71% of students saying they have increased their expectations from a year ago.?
  • Confidence continues to rise as 86% of students surveyed said they were confident they would find a job they wanted.

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