Accounting firms lead all other employers in hiring new college graduates according to the summer 2005 issue of Salary Survey of the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), the Westchester County Business Journal reports. Starting salaries for new hires in accounting will average $43,370, an increase of 5.3 percent over last year.
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Competition in the profession for new hires is matched by recruiting at all levels. Companies routinely try to steal each other’s employees, says The Detroit News.
“On more than one occasion, competitors have solicited from our firm. It used to be frowned upon. Now it’s open season.” Bruce Malott told the News adding that retaining people and hiring new graduates was the first priority of his firm.
Salary increases for business administration and management majors averaged a more modest 3.6 percent according to the NACE survey. Enrollments in MBA programs have declined in recent years, according to BusinessWeek. Some schools have introduced more specialized programs to attract new students, many of whom will go on to careers in consulting. For instance, Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Business now offers 13 distinct MBA degrees including arts management and applied corporate finance. But creating niche curriculums is risky.
“B-schools need to ensure they’re giving their students well-rounded capabilities," Rich Schneider, a principal at Deloitte Consulting LLP, told BusinessWeek. "We’re still looking at the things we were looking for 30 years ago.”
Real world experience is also important to the business student of today. The Kelley School of Business at Indiana University (IU) has established the Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation where students work with IU life science researchers from the University’s medical school to create companies from their research, according to a report from Indiana University. Students at Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management spend 20 hours a week for three semesters working as consultants at some of the world’s biggest companies, BusinessWeek reports.
Ironically, the fact that large numbers of students are now entering accounting programs can probably be attributed to the publicity surrounding Enron and WorldCom.
“It raised the level of curiosity," Bruce Malott told the Detroit News. "The result is we have packed classrooms.”