The year 2004 is turning out to be a very good year for first-year master of business administration students at Brigham Young University. After weathering several rough years, internship placement has risen sharply this spring and summer, according to the Marriott School of Management. As of the first of July, 92 percent of students seeking internships were placed, compared to 61 percent placed in 2003.
Marriott School administrators believe that two factors are contributing to the jump in internships: a brightening economic outlook and employer satisfaction with BYU MBA graduates.
"Companies that haven't recruited at BYU for a couple of years have retuned because of the quality of our alumni in their firms," says Dick Smith, director of MBA career management at the Marriott School. "They feel, with the improving economy, the trip to Provo is well worth the investment."
"Outside of pure ability, the number-one characteristic recruiters expect from BYU students is integrity," says William Brady, director of Career Management at the Marriott School. "Along with this expectation, we've seen the quality of the internships grow to match the quality of students BYU has become known for."
In addition to increase in internships, the school has welcomed an increase in starting salaries. The average full-time starting salary of MBA graduates increased in 2004 to $71,004, eight percent higher than the 2003 average of $65,883.
The increase in placement and salaries are evidence that BYU is bucking one of the recent trends in recruiting.
"Many companies are reducing the number of MBA schools where they recruit and are making the decision based on how well our alumni perform in their operations," Smith says. "Our 2005 students are benefiting from the performance of our alumni and the improving economy."
The Marriott School has grown in many areas during the past year, and Smith says that this growth, along with BYU's improved rankings and the economy, has resulted in more companies recruiting for quality internships. This upsurge has created earlier offers and better positions for students.
"Internships are our way of gauging the future," says Maurice Stocks, assistant dean for corporate development and career management. "A good year of first-class internships for our MBA's almost always means a good hiring year to follow, so we are expecting a great year in 2004-2005."
"The Business Career Center helped place me at my internship with Ford Motor Company this year," says Dave Smith, MBA class of 2005. "The skills that I learned in my first year enabled me to compete with, and often out perform, other interns at Ford from top nationally ranked MBA programs."
"We've got a great product – bright, bright students with unquestioned integrity – and that's a combination that nearly every company wants, especially in light of the scandals of the past few years," says Stocks.
Writer: Cari Thomas