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Job-seeking MBA graduates survive the recession

STANFORD -- Finding a job during a recession can be a job in itself. Ask Audrey Seymour. The Stanford University graduate created her own position, and then went out and raised the money to pay for it.

Seymour, who earned her master's of business administration degree last spring, believed she could best match her management skills to her interests by coordinating services for children in San Mateo County, Calif. The county manager agreed, but couldn't offer much more than office space and supplies.

So, Seymour competed for and won a national grant of $40,000 from the Echoing Green Foundation of New York, and received another $50,000 from the Peninsula Community Foundation of San Mateo County - enough to fund her project for two years. She began work in August as San Mateo County's Special Assistant on Youth Issues.

Seymour's situation may be unique, but her career choice is not. Of her 330 classmates at Stanford's Graduate School of Business, fully 5 percent joined Seymour in taking public sector jobs this year. Their salaries range from $35,000 to $72,000 a year.

Only management consulting drew more students (18 percent). Investment banking and manufacturing positions in electronic equipment/computers and in consumer products ranked with government/non-profit agencies in a four-way tie for second place among industries.

Despite a sodden economy, salaries were higher than those for the previous year's MBA class. The median salary for the Class of '91 was $66,000, up from $60,000 in 1990. Salaries for management consulting were highest of all, topping out at $120,000, with a median of $72,000.

Following tradition, most graduates (39 percent) chose jobs in Northern California. This year, though, international locations leapfrogged to second place over New York City and Southern California - 15 percent of the class accepted jobs outside the United States.

The jobs the students chose are as varied as their locations. For example, four MBA graduates took positions in Eastern European countries, two founded an entertainment firm in England called Flying Pig Design, and one went to Paris for the giant German publisher Bertelsmann AG. Others joined Siam Cement, Singapore Aerospace, and Trinidad & Tobago Petroleum.

Firms employing three or more graduates of the MBA Class of '91 are: Bain & Company, Inc.; Baxter Healthcare; Booz*Allen & Hamilton, Inc.; The Boston Consulting Group, Inc.; Deloitte & Touche; Eastman Kodak Company; Goldman Sachs & Company; Hewlett-Packard; IBM; McKinsey & Company, Inc.; Microsoft Corporation; Price Waterhouse; and Strategic Planning Associates.

Maureen McNulty, director of the Career Management Center, said the spread was no surprise.

"The students worked hard this year, effectively using on-campus recruiting and tailored job searches," she said. Their efforts paid off. Placements were the most diverse we've ever had - in terms of industries, functions and geography. I'm pleased to say that the talent of the Business School is being distributed widely, not by an accident of economics, but as a result of strategy."



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