The day after Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. said it would file for bankruptcy-court protection, University of Chicago's Graduate School of Business career office had already made personal calls to all of their 26 alumni from the 2008 class who worked at the firm.
One former student volunteered to become the representative for the group and scheduled a conference call to discuss future career strategies with the business school, says Stacey Kole, deputy dean for the full-time program, which sent 20 percent of its 504 alumni hired to investment banks in 2007. By Friday, career-office representatives flew to New York to have dinner with 14 of the Lehman 2008 graduates to help them figure out a plan. Ms. Kole said they are ready to meet any demand. "We're like a tennis player on their toes," she says.
With the Bear Stearns meltdown this spring already affecting alumni, career offices were bracing for a tough recruiting year and the possibility of more layoffs and jobless alumni to come. Schools were largely unprepared for the onslaught of grads looking back to their alma maters for job help when the Wall Street woes began.
But many have used the summer to find ways to step up, in some cases sending career-service officials to check out the situation and adding extra services. And with the start of recruiting season around the corner, schools are providing additional help to current students as well.
At Columbia Business School, 2008 graduates who left school in May will continue to get access to several student databases and personalized counseling sessions from the Career Management Center, says Michael Malone, director of career education and advising. It's proved time consuming: "At this point we are not quite to the level of investment banking hours, but we are earning our keep," says Mr. Malone of the long hours he's putting in helping displaced alums.