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Google, Apple Tops With College Grads; Detroit Beckons
Buried in debt and scrambling for jobs, college students can’t be blamed for gravitating toward employers that offer the security of big names, decent salaries, and promising career prospects. And in Universum USA’s latest ranking of favored employers they did just that—particularly business students, who elevated white-shoe strategy consulting firms such as McKinsey and Bain and such financial powerhouses as Goldman Sachs (GS) and JPMorgan Chase (JPM), and brought Apple (AAPL) to within a stone’s throw of first-ranked Google (GOOG).
But the real surprise this year has nothing to do with jet-setting consultants, investment bankers, or the new iPhone. It has to do with cars. After being all but left for dead by college graduates during the recession, Detroit is back, with all Big Three American carmakers surging in the ranking. Among business students, Ford Motor (F) and General Motors (GM) both scored double-digit gains to reach No. 84 and No. 100, respectively, while Chrysler Group—unranked in 2011—landed at No. 74 among engineering students. Volkswagen (VOW) and BMW (BMW) also had sizable gains among business students.
Damian Zikakis, director of career services at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, says students are responding to the auto companies’ ramped-up recruiting efforts and desire to innovate. Chrysler and GM returned to Ross last year, and all Big Three automakers hired Ross students this year—13 in all—for the first time since the recession.
“It seems like the auto companies are making good decisions, and they’re making money and listening to their young customers,” says Zikakis. “They have effective marketing, which helps on the recruiting side because students are more familiar with the product and therefore relate more to the company.”
In its annual survey of U.S. college students, Universum USA asked 59,643 students, including 20,269 business majors, to...