McCombs absence policy hurts student career opportunities

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Photo Credit: Mel Westfall | Daily Texan Staff

In the high-stress environment of college students focus on achieving high grades and setting themselves up for a career after graduation. But for a business major, the McCombs School of Business’s academic policies hinder students’ ability to pursue their careers. McCombs must become more accommodating for recruiting obligations. 

The problem begins with absence policies. The rigor of recruiting can mean spontaneously scheduled interviews, long flights and unexpected meetings. In McCombs, the only excused absences are for illness and
religious holidays. 

Every business major is required to take B A 324, but it has a draconian absence policy that allows very little room for students with recruiting obligations. 

The class allows only two absences, and any absence after that reduces a student’s final grade by at least 1 percent. However, when it comes to recruiting obligations, like an interview or superday, allowance is not made. B A 324 is crafted to help students with professional development like interview techniques, resume writing and cold-calling to help them get jobs. But if a student is interviewing for an actual job, their grade in the class suffers. The Daily Texan reached out to the section’s professor for comment but did not receive a response — course policies were clarified by current students and former TA’s.

Juan Mogollon, a sophomore finance major, explains that “it’s nerve-wracking to have to choose between getting a good grade in class and having to excel in recruiting.”

This stress will continue to grow. The introduction of New York for McCombs will push more students to recruit for high-value New York firms. Sophie Susser, a finance sophomore, notes that recruiting for firms in New York extends the length and intensity of her trips, meaning she misses more class.

The flaws of the current system McCombs has will only become more apparent as this program flourishes and pushes more students to recruit farther and farther away. 

The McCombs attendance system is also at odds with the events the school puts on. Every semester, McCombs hosts a week of career-related events dubbed Career Week. The largest event is Career Expo, and McCombs dedicates newsletters and classroom announcements asking students to attend the Expo and related events. Yet during the times Expo is scheduled, professors still require students to attend their classes, or else risk getting counted absent or missing a quiz. Administration has conflicting priorities and failing to reconcile them means students will have to continue to pick between class and career. 

Ultimately, administration strives to find a balance between recruiting and academics, and it’s a difficult balance to strike. McCombs has the reputation, somewhat justifiably, of being a soulless corporate den, and drawing back too far away from academics can cement that perception. But if students are to succeed after college and pursue the best opportunities McCombs must create allowances for interview absences.

Hasan is a finance and international relations and global studies sophomore from Plano.