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Colleges Worth The Investment – Part 2

September 15, 2010 · 46 comments

in Life, Personal Finance

OK, I never knew there would be a part 2 to the article I wrote last week titled Colleges Worth The Investment.  However, I came across another article on Tuesday that caused me to write a ‘Part 2’.

Now this article posted on Yahoo Finance (written by the Wall Street Journal) actually makes some sense to me.  This story focuses on what universities/colleges companies actually recruit at.  That tells me a lot more than the story the previous week that ranked colleges based on a nebulous Return On Investment number, which was based on an even more ridiculous predicted salary 30 years in the future.  To me, any ratio derived from a projection so far in the future is meaningless.

The most recent article, and the basis for this post, focuses on corporate spending.   The Wall Street Journal stated that when recruiters were interviewed to find out where they invest their recruiting dollars, it was found that big universities is where the money is spent.  Part of the reason for this is actually economical.  As  corporate budgets have shrunk, recruiting dollars have to be wisely allocated.  Recruiting at a large university is much more cost effective than traveling to multiple smaller schools.  Plus, some recruiters believe that students from larger universities are well rounded and fit into the corporate world easily.  The Ivy League graduates may make more money (may…), but it is possible that going to a large university may actually get your hired.

As a matter of fact, Google felt so strongly about recruiting from a large university that part of the reasoning for setting up a sales/operations office in Ann Arbor, MI was because of the close proximity to the University of Michigan.

In addition to spending their recruiting dollars at the larger, public universities, companies are also creating stronger relationships with these schools to make hiring for long term employment and internships easier.  Therefore, it is even recommended that students know where corporations are recruiting at when applying for college.  For example, if a student knows they want to work for Intel, it makes sense for that student to apply at a college that Intel actively recruits at.

Below is a ranking by recruiters of the top 10 schools in the US for recruiting.  In-state tuition is shown in parenthesis, except for Carnegie Mellon.  Carnegie Mellon is a  private institution and charges the same tuition for students from any state.

  1. Penn State ($15,300)
  2. Texas A&M ($8,400)
  3. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ($14,000-$18,000)
  4. Purdue ($9,000-$10,000)
  5. Arizona State ($8,000)
  6. University of Michigan ($11,800)
  7. Georgia Tech ($8,700)
  8. University of Maryland, College Park ($8,400)
  9. University of Florida ($5,000)
  10. Carnegie Mellon ($42,100)

Take that Ivy Leagues!  Of course, I have nothing against private universities.   I just cannot afford them, so I am glad that the public universities are getting some positive news too.  I also appreciate that this article is based on real data, as opposed to  ‘projections’ like the Payscale article was.

What do you think?  Did you get your first job from a campus interview?  I personally did not, but my husband did.

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

beth September 15, 2010 at 7:03 am

Hi! I was interviewed and hired by my first employer while in my last year at Michigan State. I was also able to interview with about 10 other employers – some that I would probably not have considered had they not come directly to MSU to interview.


Kris September 15, 2010 at 1:23 pm

Hi Beth! MSU did have a great recruiting program. I didn’t even realize that colleges help you find a job when I first went off to school. However, as I got closer to graduation, I realized their job fairs and such were invaluable.


Nicole September 15, 2010 at 8:01 am

Michigan State is a great school.

My sister went to a private school, but she got all of her first job offers from there. It drove me crazy when my BIL was unemployed for a year and did not use his college career office’s fairs or center (note: his school is on the list). My sister kept telling him exactly when her (large) company recruited from his school, and there were tons of other employers that also recruited at exactly one career fair at that school, so each time he didn’t go he was cutting himself off.

I was going to wait until Saturday’s link love to post on this, but Historiann has a great article on 9/12 about college costs that nicely fits with this one. Adding to that she doesn’t even mention going to a community college for a couple of years and transferring to one of these flagship institutions.


Kris September 15, 2010 at 1:25 pm

Nicole – I cannot imagine not using the college resources to the fullest. I was ignorant about it when I first started school, but I took full advantage once I realized it existed. I wonder why your BIL didn’t take advantage. Did he eventually find a job somewhere?


Nicole September 15, 2010 at 2:23 pm

He did. After the auto industry picked up he got a job close to home that pays less than his old job did.

We have NO idea why he kept shooting himself in the foot. Originally we thought maybe he didn’t want to move away from family (so wasn’t exploring all his options) and as time went on we thought maybe he was getting clinically depressed. I’d talk with my sister, then with my MIL (whose basement he was staying in with his refusing-to-work wife and toddler), and she would tell him he needed to do X, Y, and Z that my sister had, and he would go to a single career fair, or send a pathetic email that couldn’t be forwarded when he was supposed to telephone or send a strong email. Any time my husband would try to talk to him directly, BIL would suddenly be called away from the phone. It was stressful for us, and we weren’t even the ones who were unemployed.

To clarify– he’s not married to my sister, he’s just the same profession she is, except she’s a year younger, single, and a go-getter and makes a lot more money than I do.


Kris September 15, 2010 at 10:20 pm

Nicole – Isn’t it baffling when people won’t do things to help themselves? I just do not get it. Especially when he had so many responsibilities (or it sounds like he did).

I wonder if he works hard at his current job, or just coasts by. Some people just have zero ambition.

Thanks for all your comments!


Kevin@InvestItWisely September 15, 2010 at 10:13 am

I got the job I still have currently from school internships.


Kris September 15, 2010 at 1:26 pm

Kevin – Have you been at the same job for your entire career?

I think internships are so important. I didn’t realize that either until I was a sophomore in college. However, you need everything in your arsenal possible to differentiate yourself from the crowd. Even if it is a volunteer internship, it is worthwhile, if you can afford it.


Budgeting in the Fun Stuff September 15, 2010 at 4:25 pm

Nope. My husband got his first “real” job by taking alternative education classes and applying like crazy to be a teacher. I got mine through a regular interview. I do wish I had looked harder though!


Kris September 15, 2010 at 10:22 pm

BFS – You can always look now! 🙂


Money Reasons September 15, 2010 at 7:39 pm

We had some recruiters, but I got luck and had a job in the last year of college. It was thru a buddy that was working there! Proof that college connections do work 🙂

Thanks for sharing the positve article on public colleges, I was thinking that my kids were doomed to get a peanut job doing a monkey dance. 🙂


Suba @ Wealth Informatics September 15, 2010 at 8:28 pm

I got my internship through my college (one of the 10 in your list), went back for a full time job to the same company, so I could say I got my job through the college as well. And my husband did too. He is still with the same company, 5 yrs now.


Kris September 15, 2010 at 10:26 pm

Suba – Good job taking advantage of college placement services! I think high schools need to offer a class on college actually. Maybe I will write a post about that, but I didn’t realize the importance of internships until I was well into college.


Roshawn @ Watson Inc September 16, 2010 at 11:08 am

Hey Kris,

It is nice to see the hard data, and this supports what many have been advocating: good state schools have great values. The main caveat I have with this data is not all private schools are that expensive although they typically are more expensive that public schools. I’m just think about the student who won’t bloom in a big university the same way he or she will bloom in a small environment. For that person, maybe the smaller, slightly more expensive school is the way to go.


Roshawn @ Watson Inc September 16, 2010 at 11:09 am

I meant to include if the budget allows for it 🙂


Lola September 16, 2010 at 11:18 am

I saw this the other day and immediately thought of your post – I’m glad you saw it, too! I have a kiddo (in grad school) at one of the Top 25 and I have a kiddo’s Significant Other at one of the Top 10, so I’m also pleased to see the promising outlook at the lower sticker prices.

I went to a medium-sized private university and was in my senior year right before the rececession hit the early 1980’s. I had lots of on-campus interviews and had about 5 0r 6 job offers. It was pretty sweet!


Sandy L September 16, 2010 at 12:40 pm

Networking is everything. If I were to change one thing about the college I went to, it would be to go to a bigger school. Job placement was high at my school and it was top ranked in the field I chose, but that only gets you your first job.

My company stopped recruiting at my alma mater years ago because of cost costs, so your post is spot on!


The Biz of Life September 16, 2010 at 10:22 pm

My college isn’t on your list, but I got a job through campus interviews during the recession of 1981. Stayed with that company for the next 28 years.


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