Launching a Career, 2008-Style

With the exceptions of #21 (Merrill Lynch), #28 (Lehman Brothers), and #68 (AIG), this compilation of the best places to start a career by BusinessWeek is pretty comprehensive.

The number-one spot is Ernst & Young (in fact, the top three companies are in the accounting sector). What sets E&Y apart, the list reports, is its internship program. Each intern participates in a four-day International Leadership Conference, which includes networking with firm leaders, team-building exercises, professional seminars, and Disneyland excursions. Interns from around the world can connect, blog live on the E&Y Facebook page about the conference, and create videos.

In fact, Steven Rothberg of CollegeRecruiter.com wrote a while back that “recruiters who tell highly qualified candidates that they must apply through traditional channels will lose those candidates if those candidates want to connect through newer channels such as Facebook because those candidates have options and they know it.”

Retail mecca Target made the list for the first time this year, capturing an impressive #14 out of 119 companies on the list for 2008. The Minneapolis-based company recruited on 404 undergrad campuses in 2007-08, and it made job offers on 355 undergrad campuses. There is an official summer internship program; 63% of eligible 2007 interns received full-time job offers and 74% of interns with offers accepted.

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Another newcomer, at #33, is Seattle-based Amazon.com. Online business must be good, as all entry-level hires won signing bonuses in 2008 averaging $20,000.

Also new to the list this year are Abercrombie & Fitch (#98), Dominion (#99), and Comcast (#100). Coming in last on this year’s rankings is another newcomer to the list: at #119, Wynn Las Vegas sees only 20% of its entry-level employees make it to their third anniversary with the company.

Elaine Rigoli has nearly 15 years of experience managing content and community for various B2B and consumer websites. Elaine has written thousands of business and technology articles and has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal and eWeek, among other publications.

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