Thursday, January 29, 2009

What makes for the “perfect” job candidate in a tight market? Here's what employers said:

A new study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) shows that, for new college graduates in this tight economy, becoming the perfect job candidate is a tall order.

“Today’s employers have an extensive list of attributes, skills, and qualities they look for in their job candidates,” says Marilyn Mackes, NACE executive director. “And that’s assuming that the candidate meets the employer’s basic criteria—including having the requisite major, course work, and GPA.”

Nearly 70 percent of employers taking part in NACE’s Job Outlook 2009 study said they screen candidates by GPA (grade point average).

“For most, the cutoff is 3.0—or a B average,” says Mackes. “If a student passes that hurdle, then the employer takes a look at other attributes.”

Among the skills, attributes, and qualities employers prize most are communication skills, a strong work ethic, ability to work in a team, and initiative.

“These are the type of skills and qualities that will help a new hire succeed as an employee and contribute to the organization,” says Mackes.

Employers also emphasize leadership experience. Asked to compare two otherwise equally qualified candidates, employers chose the one who had held a leadership position over the candidate who simply was involved in extracurricular activities.

Employers also expressed a preference for candidates with relevant work experience.

“More than three-quarters of employers told us they prefer to hire candidates with relevant work experience,” says Mackes. “In this case, we’re talking about new college graduates who have taken part in internships or cooperative education assignments.”

The long list of wished-for candidate abilities and qualities is nothing new, says Mackes.

“We’ve been asking employers to describe their ‘ideal’ candidate for more than 10 years, and these same attributes are consistently identified as valued by employers,” she says. “But, in times like these when job opportunities are tight, it is perhaps even more important for job candidates to understand what employers want and find ways to demonstrate those qualities.”

So to recap employers value the following skills above all else (assuming minimum criteria is met)


Work Ethic

Team Work



I don't know about you but I feel each one of this skills is most certainly acquired during the course of athletic play. It simply comes down to your ability to effectively articulate these skills to employers. So when building you resume think back to this list & what employers are telling you. Have a story supported by quantitative data that illustrates these skills & if you haven't acquired these skills start now- you know what employers are looking for.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Finding Anchors in the Storm: Tips for Millennials & Mentors


Last fall, nearly two years after Brian Padworski began his career as an audit associate, he asked a colleague at KPMG to be his mentor. "The economy is not where it was a year ago, especially in the last three months, and having a mentor helps you," says Mr. Padworski, 23, who was looking for ways to shore up his future.

Mr. Padworski's mentor has encouraged him to become more aggressive, volunteer for extra assignments and to earn his CPA designation. "He helps me to assess my skills [and] gives me a better idea of how to get to the next level," says Mr. Padworski.

Known for frequently changing jobs either because senior managers haven't invested the time to engage them or because they haven't felt committed to their companies, workers in the millennial generation (born between about 1978 and 2000) have an incentive for staying put now: a shrinking job market. Indeed, employment experts say they're seeing fewer millennials ready to make a leap simply because they aren't receiving enough attention.

"Most young professionals never planned on staying in their first job for more than two years," says Terri Scandura, a management professor and dean of the graduate school at the University of Miami.

Finding that they can't move as easily from job to job, these young professionals will have to adjust to the new reality of working in one place for the long haul. To do so, they have to find ways to connect with senior managers in a less-needy way and actively seek out mentors. "Without as many opportunities ... mentoring becomes a more strategic avenue for career development," says Beth Carvin, CEO and president of Nobscot Corp., a retention-management consulting firm in Honolulu.

Yet with layoffs throughout corporate America -- and more likely to come -- how does an eager young professional connect with managers who are overworked, understaffed and stressed out? The best place to start is with the resources an employer already offers. "Most employees are surprised to discover that their companies have mentoring programs that they didn't even know about," says Ms. Carvin.

About 70% of Fortune 500 companies offer mentoring programs. The human resources or training and development department at your company can tell you what's available. At International Business Machines, for example, every employee is assigned a "connection coach" before their first day; after they join, workers are assigned a formal mentor.

Still, finding and developing a relationship with a career sage takes more legwork than it did during boom times. During economic upswings, managers feel positive and less hassled about taking on a mentee. You need to be more thoughtful and strategic when times are tough. First, take a personal inventory of your mentoring goals. What would you like to gain? Do you want to learn more about project management? Are you interested in learning about the people side of the business? Do you want help navigating corporate politics? Make a prioritized list of your goals.

Armed with a good understanding of what you're trying to achieve, seek out a colleague who has those skills or experiences you would like to acquire. "But be very careful about whom you select," says Ms. Carvin. Try to get a sense of how the person you would like as mentor sees the process; ask someone who knows their style.

You should also consider whether the potential mentor can guide you on the path you'd like to follow. The Women's Alliance at Xerox uses Mentor Scout, a Web-based automated mentor-matching program, to help connect young employees with higher-ups. The program came up with a number of matches for Carole Bakhos, a 25-year-old electrical engineer at the company. She says she chose a mentor "who started as an entry level engineer and is now a vice president of marketing," because Ms. Bakhos plans to also segue out of engineering.

Remember, mentoring is a two-way street -- even more so during a recession. You're much more likely to work well with someone if "you're seen as someone who understands the pressures [a manager is] experiencing," says Thomas J. Delong, an organizational behavior professor at Harvard Business School.

Consider teaching a mentor how to use Twitter, setting up a page on Facebook or helping a manager figure out how to get the most out of a LinkedIn page. And take stock of skills you have that match your mentor's workload.

Then approach your potential counsel in a way that offers help. You can tell a respected manager that you admire his work and ask him to coach you on specific things like how to close on a big sale or how to engage colleagues on a project. In return, offer up a skill you have to help on a project he's responsible for. "A short-staffed, smart manager today will take all the help they can get," says Ms. Scandura.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

SPIKE TV and The Playbook join forces seeking Pros vs. Joes Participants!

The hit TV show Pros Vs. Joes is returning with a new season and a new format on Spike TV and we are offering our male athletes an opportunity to test themselves physically in head-to-head competition against former NFL and NBA stars like Jerry Rice, Clyde Drexler, Bo Jackson, Dominique Wilkins, Warren Moon, Hershel Walker, Muggsy Bogues, John Randle, Rod Woodson, Antonio Davis, Dan Majerle, Jeff George, Jimmy Smith, Nick Van Exel, Kordell Stewart, Kevin Greene, Sean Elliott, Mitch Richmond, Christian Okoye, Raghib Ismail and Bill Romanowski.

The games will be 3-on-3 half court and 3-on-3 tackle football. If you believe you still have the skill, strength, speed and agility to posterize or tackle a pro, then go to their website ( to download the application and shoot your audition video. Make sure that you reference that you heard about it from The Corporate Playbook network and receive a special gift! Space is limited and the deadline to apply is quickly approaching, sign up now!!!!

"Joes" must be legal U.S. residents, 21 years or older, and have had no prior professional sports experience (i.e. you have not been paid to play a sport before). If you have any questions, email them to: or

Good luck!!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Job Alert: AT&T, Cintas, Paychex, Velocity Sports Performance & Kforce Staffing

They say 70% of all jobs are only available in "hidden markets" exclusive groups, networking & inside information that leads to real job opportunities. Given the current job market that percentage has certainly grown. Below is a list of current job opportunities brought to you exclusively through The Corporate Playbook Network. Membership has it's privileges.

AT&T Mobility:

Are you in the final year of completing a Bachelor's or Master’s degree or have you graduated in the past three years? Do you have a passion for business to business sales and strong interest in a corporate sales career path? Are you interested in a career in a dynamic and exciting industry? Is working for a well-established company with worldwide visibility and high ethical standards important to you? If you recognized yourself in these questions, the AT&T Mobility Sales Professional Training Program can put your career on the fast track.

AT&T Mobility currently has openings throughout the U.S. click on the link below to view their profile, full job description & current opportunities.

(AT&T Profile)


Why Cintas? In just 17 short years, we have expanded from less than 1,000 associates to more than 30,000, and we've grown from 19 locations to more than 380. Every day, over five million people go to work in a Cintas uniform, and every week we service more than 700,000 business customers throughout the United States and Canada. This aggressive growth pattern has created tremendous opportunities for talented, ambitious people to join a company internationally recognized as the leader in a multi-billion-dollar service industry.

In the future, we plan to enter a variety of new markets, expand existing markets and introduce new products and services. A crucial component of these plans is the recruitment of outstanding individuals who can demonstrate initiative, integrity, interpersonal skills and the desire to succeed in a fast-track environment.

Cintas currently has openings in the following areas- (San Jose CA, San Francisco CA, Oakland CA, Seattle WA, Tacoma, WA, Portland OR & Vancouver BC) Click on the link below to view the Cintas profile & full job description.

(Cintas Profile)


For over 35 years, Paychex has helped millions of business owners and managers focus on what they do best — run their companies. Today, our payroll, human resources, and benefits outsourcing solutions continue to meet the needs of any size business, from the corner store to large companies with complex requirements.

Recognized as a top national provider of business solutions, Paychex is differentiated by the personal attention and commitment we give our clients. By listening to you, and understanding your challenges, we can provide the right products and services to meet your business goals — from hire to retire.

Paychex currently has opening throughout California- Click on the link below to view their full profile, job descriptions & current opportunities.

(Paychex Profile)

Velocity Sports Performance:

Why Do You Train?

Velocity Sports Performance, the industry leader in providing advanced sports performance training for athletes of all skill levels and ages, was founded in 1999 by world-renowned coach Loren Seagrave, a five-time NCAA champion coach who trained Olympic, professional, and college athletes. At Velocity Sports Performance, athletes of any skill level from age eight through adult can realize their potential through advanced training programs taught by degreed and certified coaches, scientifically designed to increase speed, power, and agility, while reducing the risk of sports-related injuries. Velocity Sports Performance is the Official Provider of Nike SPARQ Training. There are over 65 Velocity Sports Performance facilities across the United States, each with an average of 19,000 square feet of state-of-the-art facilities.

Velocity currently has openings throughout the U.S. (Performance Coaches, Internships, Community Relations, Management & Recruiters). Click on the link below to view the full profile, job descriptions & current opportunities.

(Velocity Profile)

Kforce Staffing:

At Kforce, we believe that Great People = Great Results. By understanding what drives our specialty industries, becoming involved in our communities on a professional and personal basis, following a disciplined process of identifying quality candidates, partnering with employers to understand their core business and their employment requirements, and delivering exceptional service, we achieve great results for all concerned.

Kforce’s 2,000 staffing specialists operate 57 offices in 41 markets in North America and two in the Philippines, bringing the value of over 40 years of experience to your staffing and career development needs.

Kforce currently has openings throughout (MA, NJ & NY) Click on the link below to view full profile, job descriptions & current opportunities.

(Kforce Profile)

We thank you for your membership in The Corporate Playbook Group & value your feedback. Please let me know if job alerts are helpful & if you haven't already joined the over 50,000 athletes at please take a few minutes to join today.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Don't Toot Your Own Horn- Why Singing Your Own Praises Can Fall Flat

Last summer, Lisa Harrell interviewed a candidate for a director job who offered a list of impressive accomplishments. But during the 60-minute meeting, the Ivy League candidate never paused long enough for the recruiter to ask just how he executed on them.

"In the end, he took a breath and said, 'After my first 90 days, what is my next step?'" recalls Ms. Harrell, vice president of human-capital development at UnitedHealth Group Inc. in Minnetonka, Minn. His bravado cost him the job, she says.

When it comes to self-promotion in the workplace, hiring managers say some people go too far and block their path to the next level. You might call them the corporate world's "American Idol" wannabes. Like many contestants on the reality TV show who extol the greatness of their singing abilities and then end up sent home, corporate idols sing praises about their abilities without delivering tangible evidence to back up the claims.

And recruiters and employers say they're seeing the behavior more frequently in the current bad economy, as some candidates try harder to impress interviewers and workers go out of their way to hang on to their jobs.

"A lot of people are selling themselves hard," says Mark Angott, president of Angott Search Group, a recruiting firm in Rochester, Mich. Out of desperation, many job hunters convince themselves they're qualified for positions that don't match their backgrounds, he says. "They want to try anything and everything," he says.

And like "American Idol" rejects, corporate idols who lack the skills and knowledge they claim to have often handle criticism or rejection poorly. "We've had guys use every expletive in the book," says Dave DeMink, an executive-search agent in Roseville, Calif., referring to the reactions he has received from job hunters he has declined to present to clients.

Even in the current recession, some job hunters are still unwilling to bend. Brian Rhonemus, a managing director at Angott Search Group, says several former big-bank executives recently refused to consider job opportunities at small community banks and credit unions. "They balked because they didn't want to go backward," he says. "It's amazing. Some candidates just haven't wrapped their arms around reality yet."

In more robust economies, some corporate idols take their cockiness to extreme levels by demanding above-average salaries, custom job titles and other forms of special treatment. Consider, for example, the candidate for a senior communications job who told New York recruiter Bill Heyman that he would accept the role only if he would report to the large company's chief executive officer. The position reported to the head of human resources, and Mr. Heyman strongly urged the candidate "to play by company rules." Ignoring the recruiter's advice in an interview with the employer, the candidate lost out on the job, he says.

On the job, corporate idols often spur resentment among their peers. John LeBlanc, vice president of product management at Jefferson Wells International Inc., a professional-services firm, says he once worked with a colleague at a former employer who regularly puffed up his job title when talking to clients. "This same [person] routinely would tell anyone willing to listen how he was doing the same work -- and doing it better -- than his boss and his boss's boss," says Mr. LeBlanc. "He showed a great lack of self-awareness, which hurt his working relationships."

An unwillingness to accept help from a boss or colleague is another sign of a corporate idol. Case in point: When Lee B. Salz was a vice president at a small outsourcing company, he says, an employee who reported to him repeatedly turned down his offers to show her ways to improve. "She thought she knew everything and [in reality] she wasn't that good," recalls Mr. Salz, now president of Sales Architects, a sales-management consulting firm in Minneapolis.

What causes these unaware workers' heads to swell? According to Brooks Holtom, an assistant professor at Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business, employees in certain fields like customer service have no solid way to measure their performance. By contrast, sales professionals can add up the revenue they generate and compare figures over time. As a result, some people are more susceptible than others to developing false impressions about their skills, he says.

Poorly designed reward systems are sometimes to blame for overinflating egos, says Roy Saunderson, president of Recognition Management Institute, a New York provider of workplace-consulting services. "If you read the criteria, they're so loose, almost anyone can get" rewards, he says.

Of course, career experts say that some self-promotion can be helpful for moving up the corporate ladder. "A lot of times, managers have a tendency not to think about how much work went into an accomplishment," says Jo-Ann Gastin, senior vice president of human resources at Lockton Cos. LLC, an insurance brokerage firm in Kansas City, Mo. "When an employee does go above and beyond, they should make it known to their supervisor."

Likewise, it can be advantageous for job hunters to engage in a little spin-doctoring to show recruiters they're confident in their ability to handle a position, say career experts. But it's also critical to demonstrate modesty. UnitedHealth's Ms. Harrell says she hired a director last year who described himself as a technically competent leader and provided two detailed examples to illustrate his point. "He showed that he could efficiently instill a vision and accomplish major tasks, and whether he did them himself or through other people," she says. Giving credit to others and showing his team mentality helped seal the offer.

Write to Sarah E. Needleman at

Friday, January 09, 2009

The Best & Worst Jobs

Nineteen years ago, Jennifer Courter set out on a career path that has since provided her with a steady stream of lucrative, low-stress jobs. Now, her occupation -- mathematician -- has landed at the top spot on a new study ranking the best and worst jobs in the U.S.

[Best and Worst Jobs] Scott Brundage

"It's a lot more than just some boring subject that everybody has to take in school," says Ms. Courter, a research mathematician at mental images Inc., a maker of 3D-visualization software in San Francisco. "It's the science of problem-solving."

The study, released Tuesday from, a new job site, evaluates 200 professions to determine the best and worst according to five criteria inherent to every job: environment, income, employment outlook, physical demands and stress. ( is published by Adicio Inc., in which Wall Street Journal owner News Corp. holds a minority stake.)

The findings were compiled by Les Krantz, author of "Jobs Rated Almanac," and are based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau, as well as studies from trade associations and Mr. Krantz's own expertise.

According to the study, mathematicians fared best in part because they typically work in favorable conditions -- indoors and in places free of toxic fumes or noise -- unlike those toward the bottom of the list like sewage-plant operator, painter and bricklayer. They also aren't expected to do any heavy lifting, crawling or crouching -- attributes associated with occupations such as firefighter, auto mechanic and plumber.

The study also considers pay, which was determined by measuring each job's median income and growth potential. Mathematicians' annual income was pegged at $94,160, but Ms. Courter, 38, says her salary exceeds that amount.

The Best and Worst Jobs

Of 200 Jobs studied, these came out on top -- and at the bottom:

The BestThe Worst
1. Mathematician 200. Lumberjack
2. Actuary 199. Dairy Farmer
3. Statistician 198. Taxi Driver
4. Biologist 197. Seaman
5. Software Engineer 196. EMT
6. Computer Systems Analyst 195. Roofer
7. Historian 194. Garbage Collector
8. Sociologist 193. Welder
9. Industrial Designer 192. Roustabout
10. Accountant 191. Ironworker
11. Economist 190. Construction Worker
12. Philosopher 189. Mail Carrier
13. Physicist 188. Sheet Metal Worker
14. Parole Officer 187. Auto Mechanic
15. Meteorologist 186. Butcher
16. Medical Laboratory Technician 185. Nuclear Decontamination Tech
17. Paralegal Assistant 184. Nurse (LN)
18. Computer Programmer 183. Painter
19. Motion Picture Editor 182. Child Care Worker
20. Astronomer 181. Firefighter

More on the Methodology

Her job entails working as part of a virtual team that designs mathematically based computer programs, some of which have been used to make films such as "The Matrix" and "Speed Racer." She telecommutes from her home and rarely works overtime or feels stressed out. "Problem-solving involves a lot of thinking," says Ms. Courter. "I find that calming."

Other jobs at the top of the study's list include actuary, statistician, biologist, software engineer and computer-systems analyst, historian and sociologist.

Mark Nord is a sociologist working for the Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service in Washington, D.C. He studies hunger in American households and writes research reports about his findings. "The best part of the job is the sense that I'm making some contribution to good policy making," he says. "The kind of stuff that I crank out gets picked up by advocacy organizations, media and policy officials."

The study estimates sociologists earn $63,195, though Mr. Nord, 62, says his income is about double that amount. He says he isn't surprised by the findings because his job generates little stress and he works a steady 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. schedule. "It's all done at the computer at my desk," he says. "The main occupational hazard is carpal tunnel syndrome."

More Career Stories and Advice

On the opposite end of the career spectrum are lumberjacks. The study shows these workers, also known as timber cutters and loggers, as having the worst occupation, because of the dangerous nature of their work, a poor employment outlook and low annual pay -- just $32,124.

New protective gear -- such as trouser covers made of fiber-reinforcement materials -- and an increased emphasis on safety have helped to reduce injuries among lumberjacks, says Paul Branch, who manages the timber department at Pike Lumber Co. in Akron, Ind. Still, accidents do occur from time to time, and some even result in death. "It's not a job everybody can do," says Mr. Branch.

But Eric Nellans, who has been cutting timber for the past 11 years for Pike Lumber, is passionate about his profession. "It's a very rewarding job, especially at the end of the day when you see the work you accomplished," he says. Mr. Nellans, 35, didn't become discouraged even after he accidentally knocked down a dead tree and broke his right leg in the process four years ago. "I was back in the woods cutting timber in five weeks," he says.

Other jobs at the bottom of the study: dairy farmer, taxi driver, seaman, emergency medical technician and roofer.

Mike Riegel, a 43-year-old roofer in Flemington, N.J., says he likes working "outside in the fresh air." Since he runs his own business, which he inherited from his father, he can start and end his day early in hot weather or do the opposite when it's cold.

The study estimates roofers earn annual incomes of $34,164, which Mr. Riegel says is consistent with what he pays new employees. Roofers also ranked poorly because of their hazardous working conditions. "You obviously can't be afraid of heights," says Mr. Riegel, who once fell two stories while working on a rooftop in the rain but luckily landed safely on a pile of soft dirt. "I missed some cement by 10 feet."

Write to Sarah E. Needleman at

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Home Depot Drops Olympic Athletes

Home Depot Inc., citing the tough economic climate, has ended its much-ballyhooed program that gave Olympic athletes part-time jobs, flexible hours and full-time pay and benefits to help support their training.

In the 16 years that Home Depot has sponsored the U.S. and Puerto Rico Olympic and Paralympic teams, it has employed 600 athletes who have won 145 medals. Home Depot's sponsorship amounted to a $15 million to $20 million commitment over four years, said one person familiar with the matter.

"At this economic time, we are looking more closely at all our programs and marketing sponsorships," said Jean Niemi, spokeswoman for the Atlanta-based home-improvement chain, whose sales and earnings have been hammered in the housing downturn.

Home Depot informed the U.S. Olympic Committee yesterday that it was ending its sponsorship effective immediately. It also held a conference call with the 98 athletes currently enrolled in the Olympic Jobs Opportunities Program.

Darryl Seibel, chief spokesman for the USOC, said the committee is sorry to lose Home Depot as a sponsor. "They have been a fantastic partner and have done a great deal for America's athletes," he said.

Home Depot is the first top-level sponsor to leave the USOC since General Motors Corp. dropped out in 2007. Mr. Seibel said 16 other major sponsors have renewed for the 2009-2012 cycle.

The athletes now employed by Home Depot can continue working flexible hours on a part-time basis and retain health benefits, but their salaries will be halved. The athletes can apply for full-time jobs at stores with available openings. No new athletes will be accepted into the program.

"This is being done with some sadness," Home Depot's Ms. Niemi added.

Athletes were required to work about 1,000 hours a year to maintain a salary of about $25,000, said Brock Kreitzburg, a member of the 2006 U.S. bobsled team. Mr. Kreitzburg has had two hip surgeries in recent months after winning the 2007 world cup title as part of the four-man team. He is taking this season off in hopes of returning for the 2010 Olympics but might not be able to get there without the Home Depot sponsorship. Other potential sponsors are notoriously hard to find for his sport.

"With the economy, everyone is going through a tough time," said Mr. Kreitzburg, 32 years old, who lives in Calgary during the off-season. "It's hard for me to ask someone who is struggling themselves to help me."

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Life After the Gold

Olympic athletes are motivated, talented and successful. They have to be in order to be the best at their chosen sport, but what happens when it comes time to retire? Where do these driven individuals turn their attention once the competition is over? Upon researching many famous Olympians, we discovered these former athletes tend to gravitate to the same post sports careers.

Gold Medal

Bruce Jenner

After Bruce Jenner won the decathlon at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, he graced the fronts of Wheaties boxes, became a motivational speaker, sports commentator, commercial spokesman, and actor, guest starring in The Love Boat, CHiPs, Murder She Wrote and King of the Hill. Jenner also works with several charities and, of course, he has now reached the pinnacle of American success by co-starring in his very own reality show, Keeping Up with the Kardashians.

Mary Lou Retton

This All Around Gold Medal winner in women’s gymnastics at the 1984 games in Los Angeles was the first American woman ever to win a gold medal in gymnastics. She also won silver medals for Team and Vault, and bronze medals for Uneven Bars and Floor Exercise. After all her Olympic successes, Retton forged a career as a motivational speaker and corporate spokesperson, and has been a commentator for various Olympic themed programs. She even took a stab at acting, appearing in the movies Scrooged and Naked Gun 33 1/3, and TV shows, Baywatch and Dream On.

Kristi Yamaguchi

After winning the gold medal for women’s figure skating at the 1992 Olympics, Kristi Yamaguchi enjoyed a long stint touring with Stars on Ice and performed in several skating televised specials. Like many of her Olympian counterparts, Yamaguchi tried her hand at acting, appearing in Everybody Loves Raymond, and The Mighty Ducks 2. She then took her competitive nature to the reality show Dancing with the Stars in 2008 where she became the second woman to win the coveted mirrored ball trophy.

Greg Louganis

An Olympic diver, Louganis won his first medal at the age of 16 (the silver) in 1976 and won two gold medals in diving for both platform and springboard events eight years later. In 1988 he became the first to win double gold medals for diving in two consecutive Olympics. After ending his impressive diving career, Louganis followed it up by posing for Playgirl; becoming an author, motivational speaker and spokesperson; and even acting in the off-Broadway play Jeffrey, the movies Mighty Ducks 2, It’s My Party, Touch Me and the recently completed, Watercolors.

Michael Johnson

Sprinter Michael Johnson became the first man ever to win gold in the 200 meters and 400 meters at the 1996 Olympics. In 2000 he won the 400 meters and 4x400 relay in Sydney, Australia. Since retiring, Johnson has found success as a sports commentator, corporate motivational speaker and by developing various business ventures including a sports management company.

Dan Jansen

After several emotional appearances at the Olympics, speed skater Dan Jansen finally won the gold in the 1000 meters at the 1994 Olympics. While he did follow the familiar path of the above athletes by becoming a broadcaster and motivational speaker, he also became the skating coach for the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks.

Mitch Gaylord

Gaylord led the Men’s American Gymnastic’s team to win the gold in 1984 and became the first American gymnast to score a perfect 10 in the Olympics. He quickly followed that up with a starring role in the forgettable, American Anthem, but later found success as a motivational speaker and as a judge on the reality show, Celebrity Circus. Breaking away slightly from his fellow acting Olympians, Gaylord used his considerable gymnastic abilities and became a stunt double for the movies Mortal Kombat and Batman Forever.

The Second Act

Of course not all former Olympians become actors, reality TV stars and motivational speakers. Some leave the world of competition behind and forge new paths altogether. However, if these seven athletes are any indication, the fields they gravitate towards require the same drive and determination that made them successful in the first place, and more often than not, they aren’t far removed from the sport they dedicated their lives too.

Lori Wilson

5 Reasons to Maintain a Strong Campus Recruiting Program During This Economic Downturn

In late 2000 and 2001, several dramatic events occurred simultaneously: the dotcoms became the “dotbombs,” the economy took a steep downturn, and the tragic events that occurred on September 11th pushed the country into war and significantly impacted the already battered economy. Corporate layoffs were announced daily. Companies stopped hiring, cut spending on marketing and training, and placed restrictions on travel and other non-essential spending. Some companies shut down their campus recruiting programs entirely.

Sound familiar? This is not unlike what we are seeing today. According to the newly-released Michigan State University 2008-2009 Recruiting Trends Survey, total college hiring will decrease by 10% in the coming year. While belt-tightening during an economic downturn is unavoidable, we argue that campus recruiting activities should not be eliminated altogether. We have been in the staffing business for 25 years and run large-scale campus recruiting programs at Fortune 500 companies, such as Agilent Technologies, Ernst & Young, CIGNA, and Honeywell. We have experienced as many down-markets as we have market upswings.

When faced with tough financial conditions, here are five reasons why smart companies continue to recruit on campus.

Improve the quality of the talent you are able to recruit

While other companies are licking their wounds and shutting down their campus recruiting machines, smart companies use this time to recruit at better schools than they have in the past to attract the best of the best. Because fewer companies are recruiting on campus, these smart companies know they can have their pick of the talent litter. “The current economic downturn creates a vacuum of sorts where some companies’ absence allows you to woo the best in class. A year ago, these students would have been already locked up by companies via a bidding war in September,” says Adam Ward, manager of Global Campus Recruiting at Qualcomm. Thus, tough economic times can actually open up doors for companies that seize the moment to compete for top talent.

Block and tackle competitors

Smart companies know that this is a great time to take market share away from competitors, and this goes for talent, too. “For a company like Qualcomm that is not a consumer-branded organization, this is an opportune time to do some real brand-building beyond the typical career week visit. We see this as an opportunity to make several return trips to campus and really maximize the time where there are not many other companies that are sharing the stage,” says Qualcomm’s Ward. Now is the time to increase your presence on campus, refine and intensify your targeted messaging to top talent, and jump into the hearts and minds of student job seekers who might have never before considered your firm.

Thwart looming retirements and a drain of intellectual capital

It is no secret that the next 5 to 10 years will produce a wave of baby boomer retirements. Hiring campus talent year after year ensures that your company builds a pipeline of future leaders. Gaps in your campus recruiting intake programs can lead to gaps in your talent supply and a weak source of talent waiting on the sidelines.

As Steve Canale, GE’s US manager of Recruiting and Staffing Services, notes: “GE’s global campus talent acquisition recruitment is mission critical — entry-level talent joins our leadership development programs and helps to guarantee our future leadership pipeline. We could not protect our knowledge transfer and be thought leaders without a steady state of top campus talent joining GE every year. Talent development is a core competency at GE and is taken very seriously across the organization.” Truly strategic companies will follow GE’s lead and recruit recent graduates who will join the company, cultivate their skills, and become the future leaders of the company.

Campus continuity pays off

Ask IBM. During the economic recession that took place in the early 1990s, IBM took a hiatus from campus recruiting. According to Eletta Kershaw, program manager of IBM’s U.S. college recruiting program, “As I understand it, it took us some time to regain a foothold at our key schools.” Today, IBM’s campus recruiting landscape looks very different. IBM actively recruits at more than one hundred universities across the country. Its presence goes far beyond traditional recruiting events: recruiters sit on advisory boards and panels, guest lecture in classes, and partner with diversity organizations. They also show students how at IBM, they can tackle meaningful projects that help the world work better. Says Kershaw, “Students like to know that as today’s world has become smaller, flatter and ’smarter, they can make a difference, from creating new green technologies to solving food shortages through smarter distribution channels.”

Their now long-standing involvement at their key recruiting schools has enabled them to get this message across to students loud and clear, and their recruitment brand has become well known among university students. These key relationships are essential to getting the best students year after year, regardless of the economic situation.

Campus recruiting is the most cost-effective way to source and retain top diverse talent

Anyone at Procter & Gamble will tell you that campus recruiting is the lifeblood of the company. Nearly 100% of P&G’s fresh talent comes from its campus recruiting program. P&G realized many years ago that sourcing top talent from the world’s best colleges ensures that P&G can recruit a large number of highly skilled candidates while avoiding the high costs of search firm fees and excessive salaries. Moreover, these recent graduate hires are groomed and promoted from within, enabling P&G to lead the way in employee retention and realize a significant return on its investments in recruiting.

One of the best-kept staffing secrets is that employees who originally came into the company as interns feel a sense of belonging and are retained at higher rates than employees who did not start as interns. This is particularly true of employees from underrepresented minority groups, which can be the most difficult and expensive group of candidates to recruit. A strategic campus recruiting program that includes a robust internship program enables a firm to gain access to top diverse talent in a cost effective way.

However, the key to a truly sustainable campus recruiting program is scalability. Even during tough economic times, many campus recruiting programs continue to thrive, and strategic companies are able to continue to have a presence on campus because their hiring programs can be scaled to appropriate levels to fit the demand. Robin Renowden, Intel’s global college recruiting manager, says it best: “It’s prudent for college recruiting managers to have a predefined, scalable recruiting strategy that enables them to dial-up and dial-down as the external winds of change are blowing. The strategy should define a minimum level of campus engagement that continues even in the worst of times. Given today’s economic environment, we need to dial our recruiting down but not be myopic. Without a predetermined strategy that outlines how to utilize resources depending on various levels of demand for talent, college recruiting organizations run the risk of being forced to cut too far.”


The best-managed companies with visionary leaders will seize the opportunity to exploit the current economic morass. Today, students are eschewing the glamour and high earning potential of the bulge bracket firms for more stable and secure positions in government and industry. There is no better time in recent memory for your organization to swoop up top talent from universities. Timing is everything and the time is now.
John Flato
Jan 6, 2009, 5:43 am ET

Friday, January 02, 2009


Scott Thomas had completed nearly half of his executive M.B.A. program when he decided he wasn't satisfied. The price tag of the Cleveland school was modest, but Mr. Thomas wondered if he would get a solid return on his investment.

Calculate your personal ROI.

So the 31-year-old dropped out and enrolled in Ohio State University's Fisher School of Business E.M.B.A. program. Though his tuition costs have more than doubled -- to $72,500 for the 18-month degree -- Mr. Thomas says he believes Ohio State does more for him in the way of career development and education. "The alumni network is unbelievably large, and they're unbelievably loyal," he says.

Ohio State comes in at No. 3 on The Wall Street Journal's first rating of the five-year return on investment of executive M.B.A. programs. The program yields a 170% return on investment. Only Texas A&M's Mays School of Business and University of Florida's Warrington School of Business did better among U.S. schools, with five-year returns of 243% and 212%, respectively.

Applications for most executive M.B.A. programs are due early next year, and many working executives are weighing whether to make such a hefty investment in an uncertain economy. As companies pull back on education spending, students are increasingly paying their own way -- making cost-benefit calculations even more important. "When someone else was paying for it, that wasn't the big factor," says Michael Desiderio, executive director of the Executive MBA Council in Orange, Calif. Only 32% of executives are fully sponsored by their companies, he adds.

[The E.M.B.A. program of Columbia University (above) had a lower return than that of UCLA (below).] Associated Press

The E.M.B.A. program of Columbia University (above) had a lower return than that of UCLA (below).

[ucla] age fotostock

To determine which schools provide the best return on investment, we dived deeper into the data we collected for The Wall Street Journal's Sept. 30 ranking of executive M.B.A. programs. Working with Management Research Group of Portland, Maine, we scoured the responses from our summer 2008 survey of E.M.B.A. graduates for data about salary, raises received after graduation, company-sponsorship figures, tuition and out-of-pocket costs.

We used that information to calculate the return on investment for 27 U.S. programs and nine international programs. Costs were calculated by combining tuition payouts and the out-of-pocket expenses reported by graduates. To calculate the benefit, or return, we used the graduate-reported median raise after completion of the program as the first-year salary increase. We added a 5% annual increase over the following four years, based on the average annual increase expected by compensation specialists and executive recruiters we polled.

Most of the schools that topped the list weren't big brand names -- or the highest-ranked in our September E.M.B.A. ranking. The No. 1 school in September, Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, was No. 12 in returns. Texas A&M and University of Florida, despite high returns, weren't among the top 25 in September.

At Texas A&M, low tuition and a no-frills focus are at the heart of the program. (The Class of 2008 paid just $53,000 for a 21-month program.)

'Focus on the Basics'

"We focus on the basics," says David Blackwell, associate dean of the school's graduate programs. "What they're not getting for their money is a lot of marble and gold-plated fixtures." As a state institution, the school is under less pressure to raise revenue by accepting underqualified candidates, he says.

Texas A&M's tuition is less than half than that of New York University's Stern School of Business, the school with the lowest return on investment -- 51%. Graduates of Texas A&M's program reported receiving a median 11% raise upon completion of the program and five years after graduation were projected to earn a median $181,718 (not including bonuses). "There's more opportunity for them to advance as a result of the program, and a salary goes along with that," says Mr. Blackwell.

Not all of the earlier survey's top-rated schools delivered lower returns. The returns at University of Southern California Marshall School of Business (No. 4 in the overall ranking), University of California-Los Angeles Anderson School of Business (No. 17 in the overall ranking) and Kellogg were significantly better than those of many of their competitors. At UCLA, the five-year return was fourth-best, at 158%. At USC, the five-year return was 134%, and 2008 graduates can expect a median salary of $218,062.

'Blood, Sweat and Tears'

With a five-year salary projection of $257,687 and a 127% return, Kellogg graduates reap significant benefits, despite its programs' average tuition of nearly $105,000. "Going back and getting your M.B.A. is an expense not only in financial terms, but in blood, sweat and tears," says Julie Cisek Jones, director of executive M.B.A. programs at Kellogg.

Even with lower returns on investment, top-tier programs had some of the highest projected five-year salaries. Columbia University's E.M.B.A. Global, a joint program with London Business School, caters to slightly older executives, and clocked in at No. 23 for return on investment, with a 69% return in five years. And 2008 graduates of the school can expect the highest salary after those five years -- with a median of $272,577.

Indeed, some schools had lower returns partly because their graduates' salaries were higher to begin with. Jaki Sitterle, managing director of executive programs at NYU, which posted the smallest return, notes that the school caters to older executives, half of whom already have advanced degrees and many who already earn high salaries.

For many graduates, the value of the E.M.B.A. is not based on salary alone. In our graduate survey, 63.3% of graduates said they received or expected a promotion upon completion of their programs, even as 31.8% did not receive or expect to receive a raise. "Increasing compensation is not always their prime motivating factor," says Ms. Sitterle.

Beyond the Dollar Amount

Alex Gorsky, company group chairman for Ethicon, a unit of Johnson & Johnson, credits the E.M.B.A. degree he earned from Wharton 12 years ago with helping him achieve a top executive position. He in turn has since sponsored 12 people to attend executive M.B.A. programs, even though he says it's difficult to put a dollar amount on the return. "They have a lot of great ideas and I've always found that you get more committed employees," says Mr. Gorsky.

Some school administrators say a school's brand cachet is as important as a calculated return on investment. "We have the most selective admissions processes anywhere," says Howard Kaufold, director of the M.B.A. program for executives at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. "You know when you're coming here that you are going to rub shoulders with people who are very bright and already have an excellent career trajectory." Wharton's E.M.B.A. program, which ranked No. 2 in our September overall ranking, came in at No. 24 for return on investment, with a 65% five-year return.

A school's location and access to executives also can make a difference. "We got speakers from the best companies because they were a subway ride away," says Izzet Bensusan, 32, who completed the Columbia's New York program earlier this year. The program was 26th out of 27 schools for return on investment. Mr. Bensusan, an entrepreneur who recently started a carbon-regulating company, says he paid approximately $130,000 out-of-pocket to attend the program. He says it was worth every penny. "I only paid $130,000, and I got to sit with the best people in the world," says Mr. Bensusan.

Write to Alina Dizik at