Welcome, Our Foul Weather Friends

Last Wednesday’s decision by the Federal Reserve to maintain the current fed funds rate may well be a harbinger of a much-welcomed change, especially around these parts. Consistent with Alan Greenspan’s optimistic remarks a week earlier, the Fed said on Wednesday, “Signs that weakness in demand is abating and economic activity is beginning to firm have become more prevalent.”

The Fed continued, “With the forces restraining the economy starting to diminish, and with the long-term prospects for productivity growth remaining favorable and monetary policy accommodative, the outlook for economic recovery has become more promising.”

Moreover, only a few hours earlier on the same day, the Commerce Department issued a surprise report that the fourth quarter of 2001 showed .2 percent economic growth, when the previous quarter showed a decline of 1.3 percent. While few economists are declaring an end to a recession that most agree only began last March, in a Reuters article last Wednesday by Caren Bohen, David Swank, chief economist at Bank One in Chicago, did talk of a possible “recession-ette.”

Remember, colleagues: so sweet is the nectar of vindication. Sip slowly. While we still cannot afford to push for 1999-level bonuses and perquisites, there is cause for optimism. Moreover, perhaps those who should enjoy vindication the most are the companies that are here this week recruiting the finest business minds the world has to offer.
Remember them. Remember them well. These are the companies who have shown commitment to HBS and confidence in our ability to create value in their organizations, even in times when most others are content to run scared until the exit signs stop blinking. These are the companies that demonstrate courage amidst adversity and confidence in their own organizations’ ability to weather an unpredictable economic climate.
These are our foul weather friends. And we should show them our gratitude, and we should remember them. Because if the Fed and the Commerce Department show signs of things to come, the industry leaders who are here this week may soon be joined by the lemming classes of firms desperate to reposition themselves for growth.
When they come knocking on Career Services’s door-and they will-remember who was here this week. Hold those offers a little tighter, a little closer. Keep a copy of this page. Add names we may have missed. Note who isn’t here. And refer back to this later in the term and again next year when you RC’s are considering where to start your career. You would do best to start it with a foul weather friend.
A warm welcome and a big thank you to our friends:

Advantage Capital Partners, Alcoa,, Amgen, Banc of America Securities, Bear Stearns & Co., Brandes Investment Partners, L.P., Braun Consulting, Capital Group Companies, Inc., Capital One, Chilton Investment Company, Inc., CIBC World Markets, Cintas Corporation, Citigroup Corporate and Investment Bank, Clorox Company, Corning Incorporated, Credit Suisse First Boston, Cummins Inc., Danaher Corporation, Darby Overseas Investments, Ltd., Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown, Eli Lilly and Company, Endeavor Initiative, ExxonMobil Corporation, Fidelity Mgmt & Research Company, Fly Off Inc., Ford Motor Company, Franklin Templeton Investments, General Mills, Gillette Company, Goldman, Sachs & Co., Gorton’s Seafoods, Guidant, HBS Community Enterprise, Hospital for Special Surgery, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., John Deere, Kraft Foods, Latona Associates, Lazard, Lehman Brothers, L’Oreal USA, M&T Bank Corporation, Medtronic, Inc., Merck & Co., Merrill Lynch, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, MFS Investment Management, Microsoft Corporation, Morgan Stanley, Nat’l Parks Conservation Assoc. (NPCA), Novartis International AG, Pepsi-Cola, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble, Putnam Investments, Raytheon Company, RealNetworks, Robertson Stephens, Rohm and Haas, Sony Electronics Inc, Soros Real Estate Partners, Sprint, Staples Incorporated, State Street Research & Management, T. Rowe Price Associates, T.A. Carlson & Company, Tiger Asia Management LLC, UBS Warburg, United Technologies Corporation, UnitedHealth Group, Vendquest, Inc., Viking Global Investors, LP, Wachovia Securities, Washington Post Company, Wellington Management Company, and William Blair & Company.

February 4, 2002
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