Google aside, campus career interests defy Businessweek survey trends

· October 29, 2010, 12:05 am   ·  Updated October 29, 2010, 12:00 am

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For a company trying to attract the top students in the country, having a ball pit in the office isn’t a bad idea.

The creative environment of the Google Inc. workplace was a contributing factor to its top spot on Bloomberg Businessweek’s recently published list of College Students’ Top Employers.

Stockholm-based research firm Universum surveyed more than 130,000 business and engineering students from 12 major global economic centers and found that Google was the company the most students wanted to work for, followed by Ernst and Young, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte, Walt Disney and KPMG respectively.

Patricia Rose, director of Career Services, attests that the popularity of Google for job-seeking students at Penn is enormous and not school specific.

“Google hires smart people from all of our undergraduate schools,” she said, further adding that this was no doubt part of its appeal.

Luckily for Penn students, Google recruits heavily from the student body. According to Barbara Hewitt, senior associate director of Career Services, a group of Wharton students were recently invited to Google’s New York office, where they encountered the aforementioned ball pit.

Yet besides the example of Google, both Hewitt and Rose agree that the list does not reflect student interests at Penn. They point to the accounting firms, which round out the top five, as examples of this.

“Here accounting just isn’t an area that our students tend to be strongly attracted to,” Hewitt said.

Rose attributed the lack of interest in accounting to students’ high interest in finance and requirements for the Wharton accounting concentration stopping short of having students take a Certified Public Accountant test.

Another inconsistency both Hewitt and Rose found with the Businessweek list is its implication that careers in finance and consulting are becoming less attractive to students. They maintain that these companies are more popular than ever on Penn’s campus.

Despite the widespread unpopularity of the finance and consulting industries as a result of the economic crisis, Hewitt advises students not to be swayed by public opinion.

“I think there has been a lot of bad publicity about those industries, but at the same time, particularly the investment banks have been very good about coming to Penn and saying that this is a great time to start your career on Wall Street,” Hewitt said. “I think they do a very good job at selling what they have to offer.”

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