Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Recruiting visits at Harvard's Department of Chemistry, 2010 update

*2010 data incomplete; recruiting season in progress

Last year, CJ published its first analysis of corporate recruiting at Harvard's Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology on September 12, 2009. The dropoff between 2008 and 2009 was significant (going from 21 to 2009's final total of 12 companies that visited and interviewed.)

One year later, recruiting is still down from 2008. It should be noted that the 2010 season* has not ended, so there is a possibility that more companies will visit; in 2009, 4 more companies were added to Harvard's schedule after the post was made.

Best of luck to all the candidates involved; here's hoping there's a lot more chances for interviews.

*For the purposes of this post, it is assumed that ConocoPhillips and Merck is rescheduling and interviewing candidates; it is also assumed that AZ will not be interviewing, but only presenting.


  1. Wow, that truly is an awful statistic. If Harvard is getting that few, what chance for the rest of the country?

  2. @Chemjobber. What's up with your fixation on Harvard? Are you an obnoxiously proud alum or a morbidly resentful reject? Other than Whitesides, it's not known as a materials/polymer mecca. MIT, WPI, and similar technical institutions are feeder programs for chemical engineers. Yes, Harvard is an organic and biochem powerhouse, but it doesn't even have a top-notch analytical or inorganic division. Regardless of how Pharma or Fine Chemicals fills its pipeline, there will always be a need for reliable manufacturing and QA/AC. Besides, the supposed hiring backlash against the Ivy League may extend to the graduate level.


  3. Ivy leagues get the name recognition outisdeof the research field. If you want to make the transfer to anything outside of research, your Yale or Harvard degree is more valuable than you might expect. People are idiots, they assume a fancy University has a power degree in virtually anything, so this graph is kind of fair.

  4. Hi, Anon7:59a:

    I don't have a fixation on Harvard; I am neither an alum or a rejectee (I knew I woulda been rejected, so why apply?).

    Here's why I keep at this measurement: 1) Harvard's chemistry dept. is well known and if you're a national-sized corporation, you're probably going to send a representative there to recruit. If you doubt me, check out the 2006 list of recruiters -- it's a who's-who of corporate America. 2) They publish their data openly on the web (thanks to me, they might stop, although I hope not.) 3) Their data is pre-Great Recession, so that's a nice bit of historical data to have as well.

    If you think I should measure other schools, I am all for it, but I need the data -- can you point me somewhere? (Or give me a list of schools I should be looking at?)

    Most schools (I know this from some firsthand reporting) are relatively resistant to having their corporate visitors (and their ebbs and flows) known to all; I think that's reasonable, too, FWIW. But I'll measure and publish whatever I can get.

  5. P.S. Thanks to your comment, I'm looking at MIT's website and I see that they have their list publicly available. However, they don't have any historical data. (Sigh.)

  6. @Chemjobber:

    Pickings look slim at Stanford too:


    I may be wrong, but Caltech doesn't appear to have formal on-campus recruiting:


    Columbia's looks somewhat disjointed; BMS is misspelled on the upcoming events site:


    UPenn's list is outdated, considering that recent merger plague has drastically reduced the number of companies. Referral to their career services website brings up a list of job surveys for Masters & PhDs. All surveys, however, are prefaced with the expectation of relatively poor response rates from graduates and postdocs...nothing like years of post-baccalaureate toil to make you jaded!


  7. I think nosing around UC-Irvine or UIUC level schools would be interesting if available... for organics at least.

  8. @Big Bad Wolf: Recruiting at Irvine has gone downhill recently, mirroring other top-notch organic programs. Prior to Merger Mania, something like 40 companies (Pharma and Biotech) showed up to campus. From 2005-2007, the number of recruiters hovered around 25-30. After the economy tanked, the number dropped to around 12. I wouldn't be surprised if Irvine is looking at single digits this year. Like at other places, the postdocs and super-ambitious senior grad students are probably trying to pull every trick up their sleeves to secure an onsite interview.

  9. @bad wolf: I had an interesting discussion with the chair of UIUC's department today at lunch (he was visiting/speaking at my department). He said that they usually have 8-10 companies on campus recruiting throughout the fall/winter and that this year is about the same. I found this particularly interesting considering the fact that my department, Emory University, has 0 lined up.

  10. Thanks guys! Such a responsive readership. If those are good examples of solid programs without an Ivy League cachet then maybe there is still (some) hope for the hardworking chemist.

  11. @bad wolf: Try not to be super-picky. Graduates of the top-tier organic programs tend to gravitate towards Big Pharma or major metropolitan areas. A bunch of contract synthesis and startup companies have opened up in not-so-glamorous places. Even if you have to relocate to a Red State (gasp!), I have been told multiple times that real (non-academic) job experience can trump a fancy-shmancy degree.

  12. I am a science policy researcher trying to compare US chemistry departments' cooperation with industrial companies with those in leading EU nations (like Sweden). Can anybody suggest people, websites, or other resources to get me some numbers and hands-on information?.

    contact fmanhei1@gmu.edu