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Economic Downturn Sours Job Promises Made by Kelley School of Business

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Accounting and Information Processing Management major Reed Pochron expected his job search to be easy when he left the Kelly School of Business.

“Kelley has you set up to believe there’s millions of jobs waiting just for you,” Pochron said.

And for awhile, it seemed like both Pochron and the business school were right. Following the September 11 terrorist attacks, Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business enjoyed soaring placement rates, topping out last year at an impressive 93 percent – a very cushy position, according to Kelley undergraduate career services director Susie Clarke.

“There are companies we’ve brought here in the past that our students are no longer interested in, because we’ve seen the caliber of our students change and with that they become pickier,” Clarke said.

In the past, students have had the luxury of holding out for job offers from specific companies or being choosy about their location, but Pochron said that’s not the case this year. A chaotic economy means a dipping placement rate for Kelley students.

Pochron says he’s lucky he decided to go to grad school, saying every day he watches more students report they’ve been unable to find jobs and that even students who have already found jobs or internships aren’t in the clear yet. Pochron said some of his friends have been thrown into a second job search at the last minute.

“A friend of mine received a full time offer, accepted it and about two months ago got an e-mail saying that her offer has now been declined,” Pochron said. “All year she didn’t worry about interviewing or fixing up her resume or doing any of the resume building activities and so now she’s like ‘woah whats going on.’”

Kelley’s Susie Clarke said it’s not an isolated case. Clarke said she knows of about five companies forced to rescind offers and about ten companies delaying students’ start dates by up to a year. Clarke reported the school’s placement rate numbers are down by approximately 12 percent from this time last year and said they could fall as much as 20%, year-over-year.  Nationally, job placement rates have fallen 22 percent, according to the National Association of College and Employers.

Clarke also said she has seen an increase in the number of students who are considering graduate school–an option they might never have considered before–both in hopes that the job market will prop itself back up in another year or two and in an effort to make themselves more marketable.

“There’s definitely been an increase in students going to grad school,” Clarke said. “It has been a much more difficult market in which to find a job so those students had to be really seeking and really wanting a job and take the initiative and go out and seek on their own.”

In the mean time, Clarke said Kelley advisors are doing their best to present the sobering numbers honestly to incoming students, whom she hopes will benefit from a change in national leadership.

“We’ll be reporting again in August exactly what our numbers look like for this year, but four years from now the economy should look totally different,” Clarke said.

Kelly counts both students who have found jobs and students who have been accepted to a graduate school in its final placement rate count. Still, the school won’t issue official placement numbers until about three months after graduation, when the school publishes its annual report and makes changes to recruiting information.

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