Job opportunities for business majors on the rise

New approaches must be taken to thrive in the job hunt, but opportunities for Neeley School of Business students are in good shape, a school official said,

“We’ve begun to see more opportunities and really a more welcoming tone from the business community,” said O. Homer Erekson, the John V. Roach dean of the Neeley School of Business.

Jessica Cates, associate director of the Alcon Career Center, said job opportunities that have been visibly scarce during the last few years are no longer on the decline. The Alcon Career Center is a branch of the university’s Career Services that caters specifically to Neeley School of Business undergraduates and alumni.

According to a spring update study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, hiring is up 5.3 percent as a whole for the class of 2010. Only 8 percent of respondents said they are not hiring from this class of graduates, as opposed to 27 percent at this time last year.

“Results show the job market has turned a corner, with employers projecting an increase in their college hiring for the class of 2010- the first increase reported since October 2008,” the written report stated.

Even though many companies are waiting to see their new budgets to increase hiring, students are starting to take new approaches to getting ahead in the job market, Cates said. One of the biggest changes to the job search is the urge for students to obtain internships sooner, while building a network of contacts in his or her field. A lot of companies will look towards interns first to fill full-time positions, Cates said.

Matt Martin, a senior finance and supply and value chain management major, said he was offered a full-time job at Fort Worth-based Lockheed Martin Aeronautics after serving as an intern there earlier in his college career. He said he made between 40 to 50 contacts at the company during his internship, which ultimately led to his hiring.

“The internship is of monumental importance, not only to gain experience at Lockheed, but just because you’re already on the inside,” Martin said.

Cates said Lockheed Martin has provided numerous jobs for university students and was one of the biggest recruiters at the school this year.

Joe Stout, spokesperson for Lockheed, said the line of work the company is involved in has not been affected as much as others by the economy woes. The company manufactures air crafts on long-term contracts, and will soon begin production on a new type of aircraft that should keep jobs very stable for the future, Stout said.

The change in the economy’s stability over the last few years has forced students to start looking for internships after their sophomore year, instead of waiting until after their junior year like they could in the past, Cates said.

Martin said he has noticed a substantial increase in the number of e-mails from the school regarding job opportunities this year, something that was scarce in the past two years. The best thing students can do is take advantage of all the networking opportunities and workshops that the school offers, Martin said.

Erekson said that students are starting to get jobs earlier in the hunt than they had in the past years thanks to an increase in consumer confidence in the field.

Another field of work that is looking up is accounting, said Bob Vigeland, co-director of the Masters of Accounting program. The program received a record number of applicants this year due to the constant stability of the accounting workplace, he said.

“Accounting remains a very attractive major because the job opportunities are there in both good times and bad,” Vigeland said.

Even though some of the larger accounting firms did not have as many open positions in the last few years, the program has still been able to place almost all of its students in the workplace, Vigeland said.

Even companies that have not been growing in the past are looking to get back into the recruiting game at TCU to build a relationship for the future.

Kim Markle, senior vice president for Human Resources at OmniAmerican Bank, a local Fort Worth company that has hired from the school in the past, said it has not had the growth to increase jobs but hopes to begin to see progress.

Even though the lasting effects of the economy troubles are yet to be seen, the market does appear to be re-opening its door to prospective students, Cates said.

“It’s been a challenging couple of years, but we’re on the up-swing, so I’m looking forward to what the future holds as far as opportunities for the students,” she said.