Career Center puts time on your side

Recent increases in campus recruiting efforts and on-campus interviews have prompted some universities? career centers to enact job offer policies. Although Carnegie Mellon currently lacks a policy that places minimum expiration times on ?exploding? job offers, the Career Center might soon enact one, as well.

Schools across the country have put policies in place that ensure that students have a fair amount of time between interviewing with companies and accepting their job offers. The Offer Policy from the University of Pennsylvania, for example, acknowledges that ?exploding offers and bonuses put enormous pressure on ... students to make a decision before they have completed the interviewing process.?

Policies like Penn?s try to alleviate some of the pressures on students and keep professional standards elevated. If students are pressured to accept an offer too early, the policy states, the university has a harder time ensuring that students stay with their choices.

The University of Pennsylvania requires that job offers that come from summer internships give the students until November to respond. In addition, Penn requires that any fall offers provide a minimum of three weeks? response time.

At Harvard, too, career consultants ?are concerned about the effect of these [marketing approaches] on our students, on the educational process, and on the image of corporate recruiting at our university.? The Harvard Job Offer Policy places emphasis on continued professionalism and seeks to protect students from extraneous pressures.

Harvard requires employers to give students until mid-December for job offers resulting from a summer internship. It also requires that all fall job offers give students until February to respond. These policies aim to aid students in making ?effective decisions? concerning their employment options.
Carnegie Mellon currently has no such policy concerning employment acceptance, but it is looking to fill that void. Recently, the Undergraduate Student Senate?s Academic Affairs committee sat down with Career Center staff, including Director Paul Fowler, Judith Carr Mancuso, and Maureen May. Student perspectives on job offer deadlines came up for discussion.

The Academic Affairs committee conveyed student concerns on the issue. These concerns detailed the need to protect students given ?exploding? offers with a policy outlining an offer deadline. The committee sought to have Carnegie Mellon?s policies match those of peer institutions. Many of Carnegie Mellon?s peer universities allow students a minimum of three weeks to accept an offer.
Universities such as Harvard have enacted these policies in response to palpable student concerns. As recently as this semester, UBS, a global financial firm, gave Carnegie Mellon students as little as a week and a half to accept offers before they expired. Senior business major Eliott Musick, a student with an outstanding offer from Bayer Corporation, remarked, ?In the event that I am presented with multiple job offers, I would hope that these offers came with an extended acceptance timetable. This would allow me to sort through my options more carefully.?

In a recent communication between Fowler and the Academic Affairs committee, Fowler indicated that the Career Center is evaluating its current language in order to identify necessary changes.
Reflecting on their meeting with the Career Center, Long Pham, chair of the Academic Affairs committee, said, ?Our committee is satisfied with the willingness expressed by Dean Fowler and his colleagues to review current policies to better ensure that students are protected during the recruiting process.?

Pham and other members of the commitee appear to be confident that a new policy will be in place before long and employers will be notified of any and all changes. The extra time will be appreciated by the professionally oriented population at Carnegie Mellon. Pham ?[urges] all students with complaints during the recruiting process to contact their consultants in the Career Center.?