Neeley hopeful despite economic crisis

Financial companies are shedding jobs across the nation, but the Neeley School of Business expects MBA applications to continue to increase, a Neeley official said.

Bill Cron, associate dean for graduate programs, said it’s too early in the application cycle at the Neeley school to determine any increases, but he feels confident that applications will increase as they have in the past.

“I do think we will play out this way because forecasts predict the economic conditions will be anywhere from a year to 18 months which is within the application cycle of MBA programs,” Cron said.

Applications start to come during December, but most applications don’t come in until next semester, Cron said.

Financial companies have cut more than 100,000 jobs so far this year, according to Challenger, Gray and Christmas, a job placement company.

Job recruitment for MBA students began in August, and students are beginning their second round of interviewing with companies, said LaTanya Johns, director of the Graduate Career Services Center. Johns said Neeley provides financial assistance for students to attend career fairs sponsored by national MBA associations such as the National Black MBA Association and the National Society for Hispanics MBAs.

More than 300 companies participate in these career fairs, and they are starting to reap the rewards, Johns said.

However, some companies have had to postpone information sessions at Neeley because of economic conditions, Johns said.

The economic crisis creates a greater challenge for graduates, but Neeley is focusing on its strengths and the brand of the school to get students exposure with company executives, Johns said.

This year, Neeley hosted a panel of commercial banking recruiters for students to learn more about commercial banking and internships. In the past, Neeley finance majors were recruited by investment banks, but this semester Neeley has shifted its focus to commercial banks, Johns said. Many students were forced to redirect their career focus, she said.

The Graduate Career Services Center works with students who might have had an investment focus to use their strengths and skills in other areas of business, Johns said. The staff helps students to develop a realistic career development plan consistent with the economy and the job market, she said.

Students like senior finance major Justin Cade have readjusted their career plans due to the economy.

Cade said he isn’t worried because he believes that people pursuing careers in finance still have a shot. Cade said he wants to pursue a career in financial analysis because he feels that it’s still needed, especially in times of crisis like today.

“There’s certain responsibilities you can’t escape even in an economic crisis, just responsibilities not contingent upon success or failure,” Cade said.

Neeley students like Cade looking for jobs at this time will face challenges, but Johns said Neeley students have several networking opportunities to meet with recruiters in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

“Our students are getting the resources they need to be successful,” Johns said.