Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Let's Brainstorm About How to Stop the Student Exodus

Sunday's Globe column focused on why Massachusetts needs more initiatives to retain the students who come here to get smarter. From the piece:

    Convincing more newly minted grads to build their careers here isn't just about helping Massachusetts add more taxpayers and end a pathetic streak of losing population in the 25-to-34 age bracket. It's about bringing new ideas and energy to our established business giants (think Raytheon, Fidelity, and Biogen Idec) and supporting young entrepreneurs who want to start businesses of their own.

    The West Coast, unfortunately, has done a much better job of taking new entrepreneurs seriously over the past two decades. Google, Yahoo, and Facebook were all founded by sharp-but-unproven whippersnappers. Here, iRobot Corp. is the only significantly sized company to have been started and run by recent grads.

I offered up seven ideas, free for the taking (or the adapting), which I think could move the needle. But I'm sure there are at least 70 other good ones.

I've been getting lots of e-mail about yesterday's column ... some of it explaining that Massachusetts high cost of living drives students away (um, have you ever tried to rent an apartment in Palo Alto?) ... some of it explaining that the state's anti-business attitude does it ... some blaming too much traffic. But what if we stopping trying to find things to blame and simply started reaching out to students, helping get them connected to the business community?

Here's the video that accompanies the column -- an interview with Harvard student Travis May about his company, StudentBusinesses.com, and student entrepreneurship in general:

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Blogger Pano said...

we are not having trouble hiring great "kids" out of school. If the concept is interesting, they will go anywhere.

The issue that this area is not known for consumer innovation right now.


May 28, 2008 4:33 PM  
Blogger Don said...

JUST SAY IT! Create an explicit page on your website saying that you offer "entry positions. " "internships," "co-ops," "summer positions." An informal survey of MITX board members showed that virtually all companies hire in some of these categories - but less than 1/3rd say so on their site. That was the case with my company too, Compete Inc. Now we are explicit about university recruitment: http://competeinc.com/universityRecruiting/

May 29, 2008 1:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Solution: Try actually hiring people! These F*iing companies are sitting around waiting to hire candidates who've been programming computers since the 2nd grade. On the rare occasion that you find those, they're usually so socially retarded that you couldn't possibly put them in front of a client. Unless you're a hospital or a law firm, substantive education only prepares candidates for about 2.5% of what they'll encounter working for you.

And number 2, accept that the majority of students aren't Harvard or MIT. And most of those kids at Harvard today are useless. I know companies in places like Memphis, where Harvard grads are truly rare, that have put moratoriums on hiring those kids because they don't actually produce, nor think they have to!

#3, yeah cost of living. Get real, you can live in Chicago for half as much and earn the same salary, which is why you find New Englanders everywhere in Chicago. Moreover, Chicago doesn't have the WORST ROADS IN AMERICA. Seriously, it's like a 3rd world country here. There's a whole world in between Boston and Palo Alto and a lot of these kids are from those areas, so going back isn't as unthinkable as the people think.

June 1, 2008 8:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a load of crap comment above is dead on! I just finished school with a 3.45 and have applied to easily over 40 jobs locally and got ONE (1) frickin interview. Meanwhile the 2 jobs I applied to in NYC have already moved me along to the second round. Hiring managers here still think that it's 1952 and that people will fall overthemselves just to be treated like crap in Boston. This town blows. Seeya!

June 2, 2008 4:05 PM  

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