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For Many May Grads at U.Va., Lots of Job Offers, Good Signing Bonuses -- And Stress

March 28, 2000 -- More and more graduating students at the University of Virginia start their final year with job offers in hand and, as graduation draws near, many report multiple job offers. Many students report as many as 10 job offers.

Value of Internships

Such early job offers, almost unheard of just a few years ago, are often being extended to students completing internships. Recognizing that internships offer a good way to identify fresh talent, companies are increasingly extending internships to students early in their academic careers. Students now begin internships as early as their second year.

Students with majors in commerce, English, cognitive science, math and biology appear to be especially successful in securing early job offers through internships, according to Hilary Kerner, Extern coordinator in the University Career Services Office who is in charge of experiential programs.

"At a September program for McIntire School of Commerce students, almost all the students indicated that they had completed internships and had received offers of full-time employment from their intern employers," said Sloane Akos, recruiting coordinator in U.Va's Career Services Office.

Hot Majors

Hot majors this year include anything in the technical/financial area such as accounting, economics, information technology, finance, computer science, management information systems and systems engineering.

"Information technology consulting is such a hot new field that IT firms are actively recruiting students majoring in English and government and foreign affairs, partly because graduates in computer-related fields are scare," Akos said.

Engineering grads-to-be report multiple job offers from telecommunications companies, consulting firms, financial institutions and manufacturing firms in the aerospace, automotive, chemical and electrical fields. Systems engineering and computer science are two of the hottest majors within U.Va.'s School of Engineering and Applied Science.

In education, prospective teachers in special education, math, science and foreign language are particularly in demand, according to Gigi Davis-White, an assistant director who works with students in U.Va.'s Curry School of Education. In the intense competition to gain new teachers, school districts started offering contracts -- with signing bonuses -- to May graduates as early as November. Representatives from public school districts, private schools and alternative education entities are beefing up their recruitment efforts.

Students majoring in architecture are receiving offers from all kinds of organizations -- large firms, small independents, non-profits, government and consulting, according to Toby Emert, director of Architecture Career Services.

Salary Ranges

Perhaps the most surprising salary offers to date have been extended to teacher education majors. Because teacher-ed. grads are in such demand, school districts are offering salaries in the $40,000s to May graduates with master's degrees. Undergraduate engineering grads are receiving offers in the low $50,000s.

Undergraduates in U.Va.'s McIntire School of Commerce are receiving salary offers from $36,000 to the mid-$50s. Undergraduate commerce students majoring in information technology and finance are seeing offers as high as the $60s, according to Tom Fitch, director of Commerce Career Services.

Liberal arts graduates are seeing offers in the mid- to upper $30,000s. Architecture majors are receiving offers ranging from the high $20s to mid-30s.

Signing Bonuses

The highest bonuses are among engineering majors, where $10,000 seems to be the norm. Teacher education grads-to-be continue to receive bonuses -- a phenomenon not seen before last year. Commerce majors continue to receive bonuses, ranging from $1,000 to $10,000. Liberal arts majors have reported bonuses as high as $5,000.

Recruiting Trends

Recruiters continue to conduct on-grounds recruiting at U.Va. in record numbers. The number of recruiters has grown by 20 percent in the last two years, according to Akos. More than 325 firms have held more than 7,000 on-campus interview sessions so far this academic year. More than 40 percent of the recruiters are U.Va. alums.

Recruiters are conducting on-Grounds visits earlier in the academic year, Akos reports. For example, the Big Five accounting firms conducted interviews during the last week in September. Recruiters from engineering firms made offers as early as mid-November, and management consulting and engineering firms started conducting interviews early in the year.

U.Va.'s Career Services Office is experiencing increasing interactions with dot.coms and information technology start-up firms, according to Jim McBride, University Director of Career Services. To date about five dot.com companies have conducted on-Grounds recruiting. Representatives appear very interested in recruiting liberal arts majors.

"A few dot.coms have contacted our office in need of fast hires, and we encourage them to consider third-year students for internships," Fitch said.

Job Skills

Job skills recruiters seek in U.Va. students are leadership, critical thinking, good communications, organization skills, an understanding of team collaboration, and ability to carry a full load, Akos reports. "Recruiters want students with a good understanding of what the job entails and realistic expectations of what they will be doing," Fitch said. "They also want graduates who will hit the ground running, with little need for training."

Success Can Bring Stress

The multiple job offers and early push for commitment can often subject students to a great deal of stress, Fitch noted. "Career counselors have a hard time relating to students receiving multiple job offers since it's certainly a different situation than when we graduated, "said Fitch.

He advises students juggling multiple offers to investigate firms' training opportunities. He also encourages students to evaluate their interest in the industry and the lifestyle they would lead if they took the position offered.

Contact Information

For more information, contact any of the following:

Questions about specific majors can be directed to the following:

Questions about students going to graduate business, medicine or law schools can be directed to Thomas L. Pearce, preprofessional advisor, at (804) 924-8900 or pearce@virginia.edu.

Contact: Ida Lee Wootten, (804) 924-6857

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: please contact the Office of University Relations at (804) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (804) 924-7550.
SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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