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Solid job market for banking and finance grads reported

This is a good year to be graduating with a major in banking and finance. The state’s universities are reporting positive job results for 2008 spring graduates.

Delta State University had 92 undergraduates and 16 graduate students from the College of Business at spring commencement, according to Dr. Billy C. Moore, dean of the College of Business.

“The banking and finance graduates at Delta State University report good results from job markets following graduation,” he said. “There is a need for continued education with the industry changes that are being made every year.”

Indicative of that need, he highlighted two success stories. They are Russell Watkins, who will complete the MBA in July after a 25-year career in banking, and Bill Bethany, who received the MBA this spring while working full time as a branch sales manager for Regions Bank in Greenville.

“I saw the educational need for my career and chose Delta State for my graduate and undergraduate degrees, hoping to find greater opportunities in the job market,” Watkins said. “The banking industry has always had good quality job opportunities for graduating seniors.”

Scott Maynard, director of Mississippi State University’s Career Center, also sees a strong job market this year. “Of the employers that recruited banking and finance majors this year, 39% came from financial planning, 35% from non-banking industries, 17% from banking and 9% from non-profit and government sectors,” he said.

He feels the recent volatility in the mortgage industry and the decline in the housing market will have some impact going into fall, but overall says it appears to be stable.
“Many of the employers that traditionally recruit banking and finance students have already scheduled to be on campus in the fall,” Maynard said. “Most of the recruiters I have spoken with are cautiously optimistic.”

Recruiters will also be returning to the University of Southern Mississippi this fall, says Amy Yeend, assistant director of Career Services in the College of Business, and the employment outlook is encouraging.

“We had a strong presence on campus — all normal recruiters came back,” she said. “Some employers cut back on the number of jobs, but they are hiring. In Career Services, we work with the main banks, large and small financial firms and some real estate firms. The jobs are out there, but employers might hire eight graduates instead of 10.”

Lisa Gooden, recruiting coordinator for the University of Mississippi Career Center, says the job outlook for the school’s banking and finance majors is positive for students with competitive grade point averages, relevant employment experience and strong references.

“Banking and finance students at Ole Miss have been recruited through the Career Center at the same rate this year as they have been in past years,” she said. “I have not noticed a significant change. However, individual companies have not reported their offer numbers yet.”

The University of Mississippi School of Business hosted a Banking and Finance Career Fair this spring that attracted more than 20 companies.

“We mostly see entry-level recruitment from banks and financial planning agencies such as Regions Bank and Strategic Financial Partners,” Gooden said. “We also have noticed an increase in the number of internship announcements for banking and finance students from large corporations.”

Delta State University professor of economic and finance Dr. K.P. Sridharan said, “I have not seen any slow down in the job market in the banking sector. Slow down has not been felt and not echoed by students as of yet.”

DSU’s Billy Moore added that Careerbuilder, a popular job website, has 1.6 million job listings with 9,226 banking jobs and 6,958 finance jobs available. California leads with 1,117 job opportunities and New York is second with 900. Currently, Careerbuilder reports 244 banking jobs available in Mississippi.

Contact MBJ contributing writer Lynn Lofton at llofton656@aol.com.

About Lynn Lofton

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