Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

None of My Business

None of My Business

By Jeff DeMartino Salad Days

“At least I’ll have a job.”

I hope that girl saw my jaw drop when she said it. I’ve never heard such a potentially ignorant reason for majoring in finance. But the night was unraveling and the Grolsch was gratis – courtesy of our dead friend J.P. Morgan – so I chalked up another on the company tab.

At least someone was talking to me. Most of my friends, cornered in the front left of the bar, flexed smiles while a senior manager and recruiter told them about personal investment strategies. I had spent the earlier part of the evening watching my business school buddies march to the J.P. Morgan information session in their puritanical charcoal suits and black skirts, starch-stiff doppelgangers of their spunky selves. People going to corporate information sessions look premature, like 13-year-old girls in their mothers’ makeup.

I find the corporate business world about as nourishing as one of those sugar-filled pixie sticks, but that’s just a personal proclivity of mine. I reached that conclusion last year after a Texas software company flew me down to Austin for the weekend, put me up in the Omni, took me out on the company boat and spent hundreds of dollars on a two-day bender. I remember the kamikaze shots and dancing with some cute recruiter at 4 a.m. One week later, somebody asked me to explain the capacity I would serve in at Trilogy Software. Damned if I knew. Something involving marketing, software and B.S. I’d probably spend all my time there cutting a rug.

My corporate business disinterest remains. Right now, I’m looking at the résumé my roommate Tom produced for his first résumé drop, which includes such salvos as: “Assisted in constructing client profiles and investment option summaries.”

I have no idea what any of this is, and it all sounds about as life-affirming as J.P. Morgan’s cold, dead body. I can’t imagine my roommate cherishes the times he has assisted in the “constructing of client profiles.” Above Tom’s desk, I am looking for pictures with the profiled clients. Perhaps an arm-in-arm photo outside the office?

I am denied. Nary a framed memento from the last investment option summary of the summer. Alas, life is about compromise. Price probably never wanted to share his company with Waterhouse and Coopers. At least he didn’t get screwed like Lybrand.

Prejudices are prejudices, though, and they have their own limitations. I’ve always been a bit suspicious of the anti-business school sentiment that wells up when the big corporations start recruiting on campus. College undergrads and their School of Foreign Service counterparts complain because they are green with business experience and even greener with jealousy for those who have it. I can understand. I wish recruiters showed up on campus armed with corporate cards aimed at English majors only.

Many worried seniors would take a job with an amalgamated conglomerate just so they wouldn’t have to look their parents in the eye and tell them: “I have no idea what to do with the education you bought me.”

After all, how can you possibly plan for the collegiate hereafter? Grad school exams? Apply to teach for a year? Send out your writing clips? Liquor-laced anomie? Tough decisions land you in a bar sometimes.

That’s why I ended up in Third Edition last Tuesday night. I wanted to test the business world and I wanted to do it drunk. After introducing myself to some cheesy young recruiter, I told him that I was in the College. He swigged his beer and laughed.

“What – are you going to teach for a year?”

Nobody needs a lesson more than a fool who can’t value a teacher. But it’s all part of the knee jerk I hear too often these days. I wonder how many of our talented business students have actually considered teaching for a year. I wonder how many of them think about going to grad school to study medicine or Sanskrit. I wonder, in the age of Internet start-ups, how many have considered venturing out on their own. I wonder how many of them expect to enjoy their work.

Some of them will. I’m glad they’ve found what they’re looking for. But for every Gordon Gecko wannabe, there’s a corporate skeptic who knows that at least he’ll have a job. Because for all the corporate perks passed around these days, the only true carte blanche I see is the one we give our corporate recruiters. When they show up on campus with ready-to-wear job opportunities, brandishing free stuff and bonuses, why not say yes? Why not say yes to corporate funding for student programs? Why not say yes to a career? At least you’ll have a job. And thus Georgetown’s embarrassment of riches – too many signing bonuses, not enough creativity.

The bottom line is that this stuff is all rather intoxicating. Don’t get me wrong – I jumped at the opportunity to drink for free. But the day after J.P. Morgan paid my bill, I was hung over.

Salad Days appears Fridays in The Hoya.

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