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Ron Peracchio, the acting director of MBA Career Services, took a break from the recruiter outreach and CareerLink management activities that have been consuming his time lately to address the HBS Student Association’s Wednesday meeting last week.

Although scheduled to speak largely about the office’s new initiatives for expanding international job opportunities (see last week’s Harbus article for more details), Peracchio also addressed other burning issues on the minds of students, especially second-years in the midst of the traditional recruiting season.

Chief among those concerns are the glitches that have arisen surrounding the new HBS CareerLink online job listing and application platform. Peracchio acknowledged that the adoption of the new platform has not gone completely smoothly, with some students facing extreme delays when uploading resumes and cover letters, and several reports of miscommunications of the decisions that employers made on applications.
He said the department is planning to review the web platform’s performance in November, after the current rush of job interviews subsides, and will bring its feedback to the site’s developer. He said the department would explore all alternatives, including possibly replacing the platform if the problems are judged too extreme.
Although the platform was favorably reviewed by panels of students and recruiters in demonstrations and beta tests last Spring, Peracchio said the high, concentrated volume of usage during the EC application and interview sign-up periods had put the system under new stress and revealed several shortcomings.

But the Class of 2002 should get used to the current system, since Perrachio said it would be almost impossible to switch providers during the year.

Beyond the computer issues, several senators raised questions about the general state of the job market. Peracchio said Tim Butler, the co-director of MBA Career Services who is a veteran of many recruiting campaigns, has characterized this year’s market as the worst since the early 1970s, as companies react to the extreme uncertainty surrounding the economy-and national security-with retrenchments.

The Career Services office, in conjunction with the dean’s office and the faculty, has launched a serious outreach project, trying to convince companies that have cancelled job postings to return, while also encouraging companies that have not yet listed job openings to come to campus. Peracchio said the efforts have been successful in some cases, but that they are not yet outpacing the number of companies canceling their recruiting plans.

October 22, 2001
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