Undergrad Bashes Recruiting Culture

It’s that time of year again. Corporate recruiting is in the air. The hallways across campus echo with the sounds of “Bridgewater”, “Goldman”, “Morgan”, and “Merrill.” For those with Wall Street ambitions, these names resound with gravity. Others just turn their heads in apathy. But one Dartmouth undergraduate is lashing out. Yesterday, The Dartmouth featured an opinion piece by Andrew Lohse ’12.

Popular websites like Dealbreaker and Dealbook have been picking up on the piece throughout the day. In his article, Lohse lambasts the “whispered promise of recruiting [that] stunts many undergraduates’ intellectual development at square one.” He also recounts a story of one friend who was paid $100 by Bridgewater Associates, the largest hedge fund in the world, to explain why she didn’t want to participate in corporate recruiting.

True to their “culture of honesty,” Bridgewater was quick to rebut. On Friday, The Dartmouth featured a written response to Lohse’s article from Bridgewater Co-CEO Greg Jensen ’96. According to Jensen, Lohse twisted the anecdote about his friend and painted a skewed picture of Bridgewater’s presence on campus.

Earlier this year, as part of our continuous efforts to improve our recruiting on college campuses, we conducted focus groups at several schools designed to solicit the opinions of upperclassmen as to how they thought about their career options…At Dartmouth, one of our senior recruiters ran three sessions. In total, we invited 152 students to participate and 33 elected to do so. No one at the sessions was asked to write out statements; instead the sessions were 90-minute conversations among the group. We value people’s time and so as a thank you for the time devoted and the opinions shared, we gave each student a gift card worth $100.

Whatever the case may be, Lohse’s article does bring up some good points. It is unfortunate that many students take time away from academic pursuits to “drop” resumes, churn out cover letters, and answer the same interview questions again and again.  But in the economic climate that exists today, shouldn’t we also be thankful that this opportunity exists? Purely academic pursuits are, ultimately, a luxury, and an increasingly unaffordable one at that. Whatever their merits, these are prestigious, high-paying jobs that allow many students an exit out of debt and an opportunity to pursue their passions later on in life. At the end of the day, not everyone can ride the high horse.

 —Thomas L. Hauch