MIT MBA Student: Amazon and Microsoft Are Hiring, Google and Yahoo Aren’t Yet

Want to know who’s hiring the top young business talent around town? Just ask Saleem Hussain, an MBA student from Boston. In a brutal market for tech industry jobs, he gave me a fresh perspective on the next-generation talent pool and where it’s headed, in terms of both big companies and startups.

Hussain is a first-year MBA student at MIT’s Sloan School of Management in Cambridge, MA. He is one of the organizers of a 16-student Sloan contingent that made a “tech trek” to Seattle last week, on Thursday and Friday. It’s part of an annual program that takes 150 Sloan MBA students to companies in Seattle, Silicon Valley, and the Boston area to make job and internship contacts and learn about the respective markets.

In the Seattle area, the group visited Amazon, Microsoft, Expedia, Adobe, Starbucks, and Digeo. The students met with recruiters and executives to ask about business challenges the companies are facing, and to learn what MBAs need to do to land jobs in the current market. “As far as internships go, there are lots of opportunities at big companies,” says Hussain.

Despite the economy, he says, Amazon and Microsoft “seem to be really hiring in full swing” on the MIT campus. Adobe has a lot of openings in Silicon Valley, he adds, but not as many in Seattle. Interestingly, Google and Yahoo usually host the Sloan students (in Silicon Valley), but did not this year. “A lot of companies are delaying,” says Hussain. “They’ve held back interviews, putting hiring on hold.”

I also asked Hussain about Sloan’s contacts with Seattle-area startups. If there’s one hiring issue I hear about in the innovation community, it’s the relative dearth of top management, sales, and business development talent—so tapping programs like Sloan’s seems like an obvious way to address the matter. The Sloan tech trek focuses on bigger companies that tend to hire on campus, but Hussain says organizers would embrace meetings with startups as well. “In Boston, we have a lot more access to small companies and strategy consulting firms, because of neighbor relationships,” he says.

As for broader impressions, some in the Sloan group were expecting a wary market for new jobs and internships, given tightening budgets and the prospect of layoffs seemingly around every corner. But the Seattle companies were very receptive, Hussain says. “They seemed surprisingly welcoming in talking to MBA students.” As for any wariness or uncertainty (about internships anyway), he says, “we didn’t see any of that.”

“A lot of people in business school are excited about coming out in this economy,” Hussain says. “For companies, it’s very pivotal for them. It’s such an important time to be working at these companies. That’s what makes it so exciting, and that’s what drives our visits.”

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and Editor of Xconomy Boston. E-mail him at gthuang [at] Follow @gthuang

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