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Alumni Experiences

Wooing Graduates and Impressing Employers

Adrenaline pumping, Brandon Barnes, an accounting student from San Antonio, jumped into action as the race car squealed to a stop. As classmates worked to quickly remove a tire, he stood ready with the replacement.

The “pit crew challenge” was an unusual but welcome change from regular course work. For the past three years, students in the Marriott School’s accounting junior core have participated in this exercise. It is intended to teach valuable teamwork skills—and to get students thinking about a possible career with sponsor PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The caliber of the Marriott School’s programs and students invites the attention of hundreds of recruiters who try to persuade students to join their organizations. It can be a competitive process.

For example, professional services provider Deloitte spends more than $1 million in resources annually to recruit Marriott School students, estimates Debra Vranes, campus recruiting manager. Deloitte has one of the most prolific recruiting programs on campus, hiring eighty-six employees from BYU last year. “The return on our investment greatly outweighs the cost,” Vranes says. “The students are dedicated to client service and able to make an immediate impact in offices around the world.”

Through learning exercises, social activities, and countless presentations, companies work to attract students with the abilities, experience, professionalism, and maturity that make them valuable corporate additions. The process is so effective that 98 percent of job-seeking undergraduate accounting students have full-time employment within three months of graduation.

Prime candidates are in high demand, so companies plan their recruiting strategies carefully. Recruiters consider current and future employment needs, then estimate how many job offers they’ll make. They continue working backward to analyze how many interviews to conduct and how many résumés to read. Since on-campus recruiting events can be costly and time-consuming, company representatives give careful consideration to which schools they’ll visit. They want to find the best cultural and educational fit, and for many this is where the Marriott School shines. “The students at BYU are well prepared,” says Rachel Gwynne, recruitment and talent development manager for L’Oreal USA. “They are professional and mature, present themselves well, and usually have an international background.”

The recruiting process begins the moment students are accepted to the Marriott School. They are encouraged to consider career possibilities as employers work to gain favor among the incoming class. Firms build recognition with sponsored events throughout the year, but once fall semester is in full swing, so is recruiting season.

In the accounting program, where competition for graduates is especially intense, the school has established guidelines for top recruiters to create a fair process. After a round of formal information sessions, recruiters accept résumés from interested applicants. They invite selected students to attend an evening social followed by a busy, once-a-semester interview day. Students who pass that round travel to company offices for follow-up interviews, which often result in job offers.

Throughout the Marriott School, after weeks of intense involvement, many applicants must make a difficult decision. “I remember how hard it was for me to choose an offer,” says Joni Lusty, an Ernst & Young campus recruiter. “I’m glad to act as a resource to help others through that choice.” Even after recruiters have signed new employees, they continue to work with recruits to ensure a smooth transition into the corporate environment.

Since each student has a different dream and employers have varied needs, recruiting—although stressful and time-consuming—helps students and employers make informed choices. And with an increasing number of companies choosing the Marriott School, the outlook for students has never been brighter.