San Francisco Remains Strong for MBAs

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Although there are soft spots, college recruiting trends indicate a solid job market for financial professionals in San Francisco.

Recruiting at both the University of California at Berkley and Stanford University remains brisk, indicating the job market for financial professionals in the San Francisco area remains strong though soft spots do remain, according to officials from the schools.

Neither institution has noticed any dramatic drop-off in the number of companies recruiting MBA students on campus. Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, Morgan Stanley, Capital One, Lazard, Citigroup and Capital Group are among those vying for these graduates, who are mindful of the turmoil going on in Wall Street.

"They are more diligent about their job searches and want to make good choices given the overall softness in the economy," says Andy Chan, assistant dean and director of the MBA Career Management Center at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Mark Friedfeld, marketing manager at Berkley's Haas School of Management, was pleasantly surprised that recruiting is staying fairly strong despite the tumult in the markets. "Back in 2001, we saw a pretty big drop-off," he says. "(This year) recruitment is still pretty strong in the financial sector. They are still hiring at just about the same levels as they did last year."

Stanford's Chan says it's "too early to tell" whether there would be a decline in hiring from hedge funds and private equity players. Friedfeld sees competition for investment banking jobs as a "bit more competitive," adding, "We always work with or students about having Plan A and Plan B."

Tech companies such as Google and Apple are continuing to hire people with financial backgrounds. However, these companies haven't been immune to the economic downturn. Shares of both, which were high-fliers last year, have slumped by more than 30 percent in 2008.

"Hiring from high-tech companies in the Bay Area remains strong," says Adam Zoia, managing partner at Glocap, a New York-based executive search firm whose clients include private equity funds, hedge funds and investment banks. "There is an ongoing shortage, particularly of accountants and other operational staff, and the market for A-caliber investment professional talent remains tight nation-wide, apart from in select areas which have been hard hit by the recent credit market turmoil."

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