RealTime IT News

Study: Some Grads Passing Up Dot-Coms

Considering the current hot dot-com climate, it comes as no surprise that college graduates are exposed to a wealth of opportunity. But, according to a study conducted by career resource site WetFeet.com, some college graduates are ignoring the Internet boom, opting for more "traditional" employment.

WetFeet.com Co-Founder Steve Pollock said a new nationwide survey of 869 students conducted by his firm showed an increasing number are opting for jobs with management consultants, such as Arthur Andersen or top-tier investment banks.

Two-thirds of the students who participated in the WetFeet.com study made these choices despite calling Internet-related ventures as the "hottest" industry around. While 18 percent of respondents indicated they are interested in working for Internet-related companies, the majority would rather work in careers such as management consulting (44 percent) and investment banking (25 percent) that were perceived to provide solid training, mentoring and business credentials, establishing a foundation for future career moves.

What does this mean? Pollock said students are basing their choices on the longevity of the company -- preferring a venerable firm with a noted leader over a start-up with looming question marks as how prepared they will be when it comes time to make a company shift. He and his company also found that training outranked dot-com incentives such as stock options, and was also rated much more important than quality of life considerations such as the ability to dress casually, have a personal office and take weekends off. With a strong job market and students receiving an average of 3.3 job offers up from 2.9 last year hiring the best graduates is one of the biggest challenges facing corporations today.

Pollock said part of the reason has to do with the way firms market themselves to students on college campuses.

"Graduates are certainly not ignoring the Internet sector," Pollock said. "In fact, many students will go on to jobs in that sector. What we found, is that the perennial companies are great at attracting students. They've been recruiting on campuses for years."

What the study found was that e-business consulting was rated as the second most desirable career and was also listed as the second hottest industry, presenting the "best of both worlds" for students looking for the training and career foundation provided by a consulting organization, and Internet experience coveted at dot coms.

"Despite the stories about people dropping out of school to pursue IPO glory, our research shows that students are being surprisingly thoughtful and careful about choosing their first job," Pollock said. "These results underscore our belief that graduates aren't all chasing the gold rush; most are seeking jobs that offer a challenging assignment, great colleagues and strong career development opportunities."

While a poll conducted by Jobtrak.com had similar results, company co-founder Ken Ramburg, interpreted the scenario a little differently. Essentially, some students are engaging in the gold rush.

"The Internet has made significant inroads into the management onsulting and investment banks," Ramberg said. "With the explosion of the Internet and highly publicized success of thousands of start-up ventures, more and more graduating seniors are opting to take a chance, and worst case scenario, come away with a lot of hands-on experience."

In a survey of 3,000 college students, Jobtrak.com found that 31 percent desired to find placement at Fortune 1000 firms. The remaining 69 percent desire to work either for themselves, start-ups or medium-sized firms.

Ramberg said that even if a company fa