Wal-Mart

Photo by Mike Kalasnik // CC BY-SA 2.0

There's a new Ivy League recruiter in town: Walmart.

That's right — Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. is the latest global brand to launch a nationwide recruiting process aimed at more than a dozen elite schools, including Ivy League universities. 

Recruiters from the retail giant arrived on Penn's campus in a large van on Sept. 15, according to a report from Bloomberg. The van featured a huge map of the United States highlighted with Walmart locations, flatscreen TVs and iPads. 

"Walmart is not the sexiest brand to work for," College senior Aaron Lai told Bloomberg, but as a computational biology major, he found the analytics side of the retail industry interesting.

Barbara Hewitt, a senior associate director in Career Services agreed, telling Bloomberg, “When people think of Amazon, they think tech. I don’t think people associate that with Walmart, but that’s certainly where we’re going.” 

This college tour is part of Walmart’s continuing effort to compete with Amazon and intensify its technological initiatives. Other schools on the list of tour stops include Columbia University, Princeton University and Georgetown University.

"We’re clearly living in a time of transformative change," Walmart CEO Doug McMillon wrote in a letter to investors in June. "The world is moving faster and the magnitude of the changes, and their influence on business, seem larger than I can remember."

Walmart has already begun taking steps toward a technological evolution. In August, the retailer began partnering with Google on voice-activated shopping, which has proven to be a boon to Walmart's online sales, as has the company's $3.3 billion purchase of e-commerce site Jet.com, cofounded by 2007 Wharton MBA graduate Marc Lore, who now serves as the CEO of Walmart's e-commerce division. 

It is not clear how many converts Arkansas-based Walmart is winning at Penn and other Ivy League universities, where students typically congregate in New York, Washington D.C. or California after graduation.

When asked by Bloomberg about the prospect of working at Walmart's Arkansas headquarters, College senior Sarah Fox replied, "That would be a deal breaker." 

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