MIT Reports to the President 1994-95

Career Services and Preprofessional Advising

The strong economy made this a busy year in the Careers Office. Fears of a possible hard landing were not reflected in employers' hiring plans. Recruiting continued at a high level throughout the year. Several companies insisted on coming in April, after the usual recruiting season, hoping they would still find some uncommitted candidates. In the end a total of 442 employers made recruiting visits. They included 436 businesses and 6 government agencies. Between them they conducted 10,523 interviews. It was our most active recruiting year since 1989-90, when we counted 477 employers on campus having 10,400 interviews.

But it was a lop-sided market compared with past years. Hobbled by the continuing reductions in defense spending aerospace firms were largely out of the picture. The oil industry also had few openings. Among automobile companies only Ford made a significant showing. There was little action, too, from builders of power generation equipment or from power utilities. Caterpillar, on campus for the first time in many years, and Case, recently spun-off by Tenneco, reinforced what would otherwise have been a very short list of heavy equpment manufacturers. Builders of electronic equipment (for civilian or military use) outnumbered all other manufacturers two to one. And the builders of electronics hardware were matched by an equal number of producers (or providers) of software - software firms and information systems consulting firms.

The list of employers coming on campus included a higher percentage than ever of firms not doing engineering. Nearly a fifth (19.0 percent) were software firms. Another 6.7 percent were information systems consulting firms, 8.7 percent were firms engaged in other kinds of business consulting (e.g. management consulting, economics consulting, benefits consulting, etc.), and 11.1 percent were financial institutions (mostly investment banks). Together they accounted for 45.5 percent of the list - up from 41.8 percent in 1994, 40.4 percent in 1993, and 15.2 percent in 1983.

While many of the management consulting firms and banks are interested in hiring MIT students as programmers this is not their only reason for coming. They are also looking for candidates to join their ranks as junior consultants, financial analysts, and traders. They see the rigorously analytical education MIT gives a student as offering an excellent preparation. It matters little to them whether a student has majored in economics or management or in engineering or one of the natural sciences. Students, on their side, are interested in the opportunities the firms have to offer and large numbers have been submitting their resumes for interviews. They include students at all degree levels and from every department. The absence of any restrictions by major, and the fact that most of the firms are looking for tens rather than hundreds of candidates, make the selection process especially competitive. Nevertheless, we estimate that some sixty seniors this year - more than half of them engineers and scientists - found positions as junior consultants and bankers. The firms taking them on included such institutions as McKinsey, Morgan Stanley, and J.P. Morgan. McKinsey, which has been recruiting science and engineering PhDs to join the firm as associates alongside its MBAs, once again hired twenty or more MIT PhDs and postdocs for its offices across the world. Including its recruitment of Sloan MBAs McKinsey almost certainly hired more MIT bachelors, masters, and PhDs this year than any other employer coming on campus.

The lack of opportunities in many fields (including academia) which were a natural destination for MIT graduates in the past and the opening of new opportunities in such fields as consulting and finance have brought many students and alumni to the office in search of information and advice. Some want to know which other industries besides the one for which they were headed would be interested in their technical background. Others have heard that firms like McKinsey and J.P. Morgan are hiring technical graduates for their overall ability and want to know more about it - what does the work involve? what should one know to make a good impression? what should one stress on one's resume? They were questions which filled many hours of our time this year.

Salary offers from electronics and software firms rose a point or two in real terms (i.e. after adjusting for inflation). Firms' median offer to bachelors was in the vicinity of $40,000. Offers to masters ranged typically between $47,000 and $50,000, the highest going to computer scientists. A typical offer to a PhD in electrical engineering or computer science was $65,000. As is their custom, oil and chemical firms continued to pay better than other industries, but they let the gap close a bit. The median offer to bachelors in chemical engineering ($42,000) was in fact down a fraction from last year. The median offer to bachelors considering management consulting and investment firms was $37,000 - a little below what a manufacturing firm would offer but with talk in many cases of bonuses downstream.


We made our debut this year on the World Wide Web. We owe it to a group of graduate students - among them Henry Houh (Course 6), Andrew Shaw (also Course 6), and William Lyon (Course 15) - who saw a business opportunity in developing "home pages" for career offices which would also provide a forum for employers to present themselves. They explored the idea with our help in a course in entrepreneurship which they took together in the spring term, 1994, and after incorporating as a company, Agora Technology Group, installed a comprehensive home page for us on Athena which was up and running in September. A student could find there all the advice we dispense in our MIT Careers Handbook and virtually all the information on companies coming recruiting which we print in our weekly recruiting flyers. During the busiest weeks of the recruiting season students called up the home page over 3,000 times each week. Students continued to pick up our printed flyers but we ran out less often than in the past. At year's end we had several boxes of our Handbook unopened. It is clear that we have a revolutionary new way to communicate with our student and alumni clienteles, and to help employers reach them. It will be exciting exploring its uses in the years ahead.


There continued to be a surge of candidates for medical school, as there has been nationwide. We do not know at this writing how many MIT candidates completed the application process, still less how many were accepted, but we worked with a total of 202, up from 187 in 1993-94. They included 121 undergraduates, 9 graduate students, and 72 alumni. The number represents an all-time high. Sixty-nine percent of last year's undergraduates were accepted, 67 percent of the graduate students, and 62 percent of the alumni (some of whom were second-time applicants). We are proud of these percentages because we do nothing to discourage weaker candidates, but the larger numbers this year, at MIT and across the nation, cannot help lengthening the odds.

Robert K. Weatherall

MIT Reports to the President 1994-95