The Need for a Disturbance in Business School Recruiting
As a student in the business school I have bought in to the timeline Ross provides us for how to go about college in order to get a job. You begin the program as a sophomore, recruit for internships as a junior and receive a full-time offer by the time senior year starts. The process is beneficial to both the student and Ross because we end up with jobs while they end up with impressive stats regarding their ability to churn out well-paid professionals.
At Ross, it is very common to spend a lot of time in the Winter Garden, which is the center hub of the building meant for collaboration. In and around the Winter Garden, companies who want to recruit Ross students set up booths or hold networking events almost weekly. Typically the networking events are formal meaning there is a company presentation followed by a catered reception and networking.
The business school is currently in the midst of ‘recruiting season’ for finance jobs on Wall Street. That means there are many students and business professionals walking around in suits carrying resumes and pad-folios. The focus of my disturbance was to leave the winter garden in my normal attire carrying my backpack and attend the networking sessions. As the presentation let out, I would hop in line with friends waiting for the food. I would grab food and then casually join a group to network. Note, I only did this for two company presentations because I knew I was not pursuing a job with them. Aside from a quick up-down, the recruiters seemed to hardly notice and still held conversations with me. However, I could feel the glare from peers who were clearly judging. I received a few side eyes and between sessions had individuals ask where my suit and name tag was. They felt it was unfair they were prepared and I was not, yet I still was getting face time with the company.
The point of my social disturbance was not to take away time from my peers. I was simply trying to revolt against the standards of ‘recruiting’ where students are forced to dress uncomfortably and plaster smiles on their faces for hours while holding superficial conversations, all just to get a job. Inspired by the work of Anonymous and their trolling on the Church of Scientology, which was highlighted in “Our Weirdness is Free” by Gabriella Coleman, I served as a faceless activist against an accepted practice I do not agree with. The odds the recruiters will remember my name is slim to none seeing as they met hundreds of students during their time at Ross, but I was able to make a minute statement nonetheless.
A pressing question to this social disturbance for me was ‘is it possible to opt out of the recruiting process?’ Buying into the formal recruiting process often means ditching your true self for the sake of receiving a job. This issue is similar to the one faced by millions of consumers world-wide who use the internet, specifically Google as mentioned in “The Googlization of Us: Universal Surveillance and Infrastructural Imperialism”. In the book, Siva states that “opting out of any Google service puts the Web User at a disadvantage in relation to the other users” (p. 90). Although the user may want to exercise control and not use something, this will ultimately make them have a harder time than others. Logically speaking, why would anyone willing want to disadvantage themselves? And while I would love to opt out of recruiting it just isn’t plausible. I am paying thousands of dollars for the convenience of this process and the guarantee at a job. Similarly, opting out Google and all that comes with it is actually not possible because the world is technologically driven and in order to stay relevant, one must use what they provide.
While I will continue to recruit in order to receive a job by graduation, I will always think in the back of my mind if this is something everyone must accept or if there is another way. My hope is one day companies will care more about the conversations that were had versus the age old practice of dressing up to kiss up.
Coleman, Gabriella. “Our Weirdness Is Free.” (n.d.): n. pag. Web.
Vaidhyanathan, Siva. The Googlization of Everything: (and Why We Should Worry. Berkeley: U of California, 2012. Print.