Reflections from B-School Reunion

Was delighted to be in NYC last weekend (okay I could have done without the monsoon weather!)–hard to believe I graduated from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business twenty years ago. Fascinating to catch up with my former classmates and to hear about their various journeys and career paths. My most interesting observation (other than the fact that 90% of the men have lost most of the hair on top of their heads) was about where my fellow alums are working nowadays.

Back in ’91, everyone lined up for the on-campus recruiting interviews with the biggest of the big companies—Proctor& Gamble, Bristol-Myers/Squibb, Merck, JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and the usual list of big financial firms. Read those name badges today and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a Fortune 100 company. Many of us are self-employed coaches and consultants (plus a bunch of moms choosing to stay home with their kids for now)…but the vast majority work at smaller, more entrepreneurial-type firms, digital marketing companies, turnaround situations, scrappy up and comer-type financial players, hedge-funds, etc.

Have we changed? Has the job market changed? Both? Are the young MBAs still going to the big firms for their post-school jobs and then leaving? Or are the big companies not valuing MBAs? Of course, each of us made our own employment decisions individually, but the overall trend was striking.

What do you think?