Future on-campus recruiting cycles will begin even earlier for students seeking internships in business, throwing a wrench in some underclassmen’s study abroad plans.
On Sept. 22, Career Services and Penn Abroad announced in an email to Wharton sophomores that OCR for internships will begin in the fall starting next year. According to the email, OCR for both technical and non-technical internships will begin on Oct. 31, 2016, with resume submissions taking place earlier in October.
This year, as in past years, only technical internship recruitment is taking place in the fall.
Some Wharton sophomores have decided to adjust their study abroad plans in light of the change.
Wharton and Engineering sophomore Zoe Zou, who originally wanted to study abroad in Europe, has changed her plans.
“I had planned to study abroad in my junior year fall,” Zou said, “However, the fact that some companies start the process earlier this year and OCR in Asia Pacific district [which usually held in the fall] forced me to pushed back my plan.”
Wharton sophomore Kenton Hutchison initially hoped to study at a business school outside of Paris. For him, the biggest impact of the OCR change is on term of study.
“I would prefer to go abroad in the fall, when most of my friends from other schools at Penn are going,” Hutchison said, mentioning that he will probably go abroad junior spring instead.
In order to alleviate students’ concerns, Career Services plans to adopt technological interview methods in order to help with the transition, mentioning that they will “work with and encourage employers to use phone and video interviewing as an alternate means to interview students who are not in the United States.”
However, students didn’t find the introduction of new technology reassuring.
“I don’t think those would help much,” Zou said, mentioning that the opportunities to network with firm representatives and ask questions face to face during on-campus information sessions is extremely important, especially for Wharton students seeking internships in banking and consulting.
Hutchison agreed, adding that although he appreciates Career Services’ effort to introduce technological change, he fears it will be difficult to implement. “I wonder how many students hoping to go through the OCR process are going to be comfortable doing so remotely. It seems like a significant gamble, especially with fall OCR in its first year,” he said. “I would not feel comfortable trusting an OCR interview to an Internet connection across the Atlantic.”
In the email, Career Services emphasized that the students interested in working for “smaller employers and in areas such as government, communications, education or nonprofits” will not be heavily affected, as companies in those firms usually do not participate in OCR.
Career Services originally intended to change the OCR schedule this academic year. They sent an email to College sophomores last year announcing the new schedule. However, backlash from concerned students led to a reversal of the decision.
For students who are looking for opportunities outside the rigid OCR process, the changes didn’t play a big role in their study abroad decision.
Wharton junior Kathleen Zhou, who is currently studying abroad in Lyon, France, said that the change wouldn’t affect her decision. “[For] both my freshman summer and my sophomore summer, I found internships outside the OCR recruitment process,” Zhou said, adding that she is interested in industries that are not as heavily invested in the OCR process.
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