Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Georgia Tech Grads Still in Demand During Recession

The demand for Georgia Tech students remains strong despite a tough economy.

Among the disciplines that employers are most interested in are chemical engineering, industrial and systems engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and computer science.

“Employers continue to look to Georgia Tech because of the quality of our students and reputation of the Institute,” said Ralph Mobley, director of Career Services. “During economically tough times, our students set themselves apart by the academic rigor here at Tech and the ability for many of them to obtain real-world experience before they graduate through our co-op and internship programs.”

More than 470 companies are expected to visit campus during this academic year, and every career fair planned for this semester has been full in terms of potential employers, according to Mobley.

“Although the number of companies visiting campus is down 24 percent, many students are receiving offers, but just may not receive as many as they have in the past,” said Mobley. “We’re also seeing a slight increase in the number of internships our students are getting.”

Mobley suggests that the number of internships may be up because companies are more optimistic for the long term and want to make sure they keep their talent pipelines full.

Chemical engineering, civil engineering, computer science, electrical engineering, industrial engineering and management graduates all meet or exceed the national average for salaries according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers data for fall of 2008.

Despite the demand for specific majors, Georgia Tech students are not immune to facing challenges as they search for jobs in the current economic climate. Some major companies have cancelled interviews or withdrawn job offers, according to Mobley. “Those who have been successful in finding positions began their search well in advance of their graduation date,” he noted.

Although MBA student Heather Platt of Atlanta won’t graduate until May, she accepted a position with Delta Airlines last November. “I interviewed with Delta when they were on campus last fall,” she noted. “I will be working in the sourcing department where I’ll be reviewing options for suppliers, analyzing prices and negotiating contracts.”

Another MBA student, Mike Green of Atlanta, will be working for the East Coast Division of Lafarge Building Materials headquartered in Alpharetta. “Before beginning my MBA, I worked as a homebuilder,” he said. “I interned with the company last summer and two days before my internship ended, Lafarge offered me a position. I accepted.”

The total number of interviews has dipped slightly this year (by 5 percent), but remains high with more than 8,000 interviews taking place on campus.

“We need to keep in mind that interviews don’t necessarily equal job offers. Companies are becoming more selective,” said Mobley. “It is a tribute to our students because companies are seeking them out.”

Georgia Tech continues to see significant interest in its students from companies in the defense, petroleum, information technology, government and consulting industries.

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