Students speak about economy on TV

While the bailout may have saved the country from another Great Depression, senior management students just saw their industry and immediate career prospects collapse through no fault of their own, with graduation is just around the corner.

As part of an ongoing “Financial Turmoil” segment, Fox 5 News Atlanta covered a story on students preparing for careers in the finance industry. Three Tech students and a Tech professor were interviewed by reporter Tony Thomas on October 8th; the piece appeared on the October 15th nightly news.

For those unaware of the market crisis that has played out in recent months and caused a job shortage in the financial sector, Gary Jones, professor of the practice at the College of Management, gave a recap. “I call it a perfect storm of factors,” said Jones, who was interviewed by Fox 5.

“Banks would loan you $120,000 [for a] $100,000 house… banks were not fearful of that… because in 6 months, that house would be worth $130,000. [To get the fees to these mortgages, they] were making loans to people that weren’t irresponsible financially, but incapable financially of paying the mortgages,” said Jones, a Credit Suisse veteran.

The impossible-to-sustain increase in prices, known as the housing bubble, “just had to collapse,” Jones said. “There were too many speculators.” This collapse created a fear of loaning among banks, hence the credit crisis. Without money being loaned out, the economy ground to halt and stocks fell.

The crashing of financial firms’ stocks caused many Wall Street layoffs and an expected decline in new hiring. “It will be pretty grim out there for the next two to three to four years,” said Bhavik Trivedi, a fourth-year MGT major who was interviewed. Trivedi plans to look for a consulting job, rather than investment banking.

Michael Warwick, a fourth-year MGT major and Fox interviewee, agreed. “They were very impressed by the technology side of our education and our global perspective,” Warwick said. Warwick plans to attend law school after Tech.

Some students were not so fortunate with job opportunities. “Two days after the Fox 5 interview, I interviewed… with a company in New York, and I found out this morning that they might have to close, because they’re getting hammered like everyone else,” said David Chambers, a fourth-year MGT major and the last student interviewee.

“With what’s going on with the financial sector there are a lot of publications looking to cover this area,” Jones said. Fox 5 Atlanta has interviewed members of the College of Management before, and contacted the college’s communications department to cover how students are handling the shrinking job market.

Jones, who teaches a course on the financial sector, was invited to speak and was tasked with picking students. “The interview was not as interesting as you might think,” Chambers said. “We got an e-mail at about noon, and at 3:00 in the afternoon, they had us meeting up on the trading floor on the third floor.”

Chambers and the other students noted that although the interview lasted for 40 minutes, the clip on Fox 5 lasted less than two minutes. Nevertheless, Chambers said he had the link emailed to him about 800 times.

Outside of the job market, Jones and the students agreed that this is a historically good time to invest. For those interested in finance, there are jobs available. However, students must be evermore competitive.

Warwick recommended getting a strong background in math. Trivedi suggested gaining experience even at the cost of losing one’s good grades. Jones hammered this point home in an amusing way: “I can go home and drink beer, and water ski, and look at the hot chicks in bikinis. Or, I can try to get a job with Accenture, or Price Waterhouse, or the Federal Reserve Bank.”