Recruiting interview trips block students from class

by Elizabeth Smith | 2/18/14 7:34pm

In addition to juggling midterms, jobs and extracurricular activities, students participating in corporate recruiting are squeezing time out of their schedules to interview for internships, often bussing to Boston or New York. This winter, 714 students participated in the Center for Professional Development’s corporate recruiting program, center director Roger Woolsey said. Around 30 to 35 percent of these students will receive a second interview, 80 to 90 percent of which will be held off campus. Students who participate in corporate recruiting often miss class in order to travel to interviews.

Bianca Jackson ’15 said she has missed seven classes so far this term for interviews for a summer internship in investment banking. Last fall, Jackson said she decided to lighten her course load this term, comparing participating in corporate recruiting to taking a fourth class.

Dartmouth professors are largely aware of the demands of corporate recruiting, and many do not hold it against students if they miss class for an interview, Jackson said. They do expect students, however, to take the initiative to promptly complete missed class material.

Patrick Campbell ’15 is traveling to Boston today to interview for a summer consulting internship that he found through corporate recruiting.

Salman Rajput ’14 participated in corporate recruiting last fall and traveled to Boston to interview for a marketing internship, missing two classes on the day of the interview.

He said corporate recruiting was not a large time commitment for him because he was only interested in three potential jobs. Other students often apply to many more, which can quickly become exhausting, he said.

Students are expected to arrange their own interviews with prospective employers, the Center for Professional Development recruiting coordinator Fiona Cooke said. The center requires participating employers to sign a policy stating that second round interviews will not conflict with midterms, reading period or finals, Cooke said. Additionally, employers must notify a student at least three full business days in advance if an interview will be held off-site.

Professors interviewed said that students participating in corporate recruiting are generally able to maintain their academics.

Government professor Anne Sa’adah said professors support students during the corporate recruiting process but stressed that students must realize that school is also a priority.

The short length of Dartmouth terms makes missing class for corporate recruiting especially problematic, Sa’adah said.

“We understand that seniors are in an awkward position, but so are we,” she said.

The number of absences caused by recruiting are generally noticeable, Sa’adah said, adding that Dartmouth students are bright, disciplined and generally cope well with the added pressure. She questioned, however, if corporate recruiting affected either students’ class choices due to GPA concerns or seniors’ decisions to write honors theses.

Students who participate in corporate recruiting generally miss two or three classes per term, Government professor William Wohlforth said, which can be a problem if the class is a seminar that meets infrequently.

“However, this isn’t something I put on the students — they need to get a job,” said Wohlforth.

Government professor Jason Sorens said he takes a “non-paternalist” approach to students missing class for corporate recruiting and expects them to take initiative in maintaining their academic performance.

“Students know the course requirements and need to figure out how to arrange their schedules,” Sorens said. “I don’t expect them to give up job opportunities just to be in class on a particular day, but I do expect them to make up that work somehow.”

Many companies cover travel expenses, but the Center for Professional Development does not fund or organize travel to off-site interviews, Woolsey said.

The First-Year Student Enrichment Program can serve as a resource to students in need of emergency financial help, program director Jay Davis said.

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