The Big Chill
"There's a lot of anxiety," says Bradford. "I worked so hard to get where I am. I'm at the U-M. My GPA's pretty good. I'm in this specialized program"-organizational studies, an interdisciplinary program that's prepared her to do analysis or research for a large organization.
When the economy tanked last fall, Bradford says, firms visiting Ann Arbor began interviewing a lot fewer people than they usually do. She broadened her search beyond her native Chicago and branched out from corporations to NGOs and nonprofits. She's emailed at least fifty resumes, plus calling numerous family friends and potential contacts-all, so far, without success.
Bradford is far from alone. The six women with whom she shared a house on Oakland also are graduating this spring-and by mid-April, only one had landed a professional job. Another will go to grad school, and the remaining five, including Bradford, are still looking.
"Unless you lived through the Great Depression, you haven't begun to see a thing that has approached this," says Al Cotrone, career services director at the U-M business school. Last year at this time, 234 out of about 325 students graduating with BBAs had been offered jobs, says Cotrone. This year it's dropped 27 percent, to 170. "The banking industry crisis has affected the undergrads disproportionately," says Cotrone. The banks that recruited at Michigan last fall interviewed only half as many students as in years past.