Is there a disadvantage graduating in Dec?

Our S19 took a semester off last fall during Covid so he will finish up his degree in Dec 2023. In some ways, we think he’s gained an advantage when it comes to building a resume. Instead of having three summers to gain experience (summers after freshman, soph, and junior years), he has that “extra” summer in 2023 for internships.

He worked in an industry that interests him during his leave from Bowdoin in the fall of 2020 and has another similar internship this summer with NASA. That leaves him with two more summers to work and maybe try to narrow down what interests him. He’s actually thinking of switching gears just a bit and seeing if he could find something in consulting where he could use his quantitative skills.

My question, though, is this - would the firms that do a sort of annual recruiting of college seniors still consider him during his “senior year” even if he will have a fall semester left to finish off his degree? Do they have a way to wait for him to start in January as opposed to other seniors they might hire who would start in June? Or does he use that 2023 summer before his last semester for an internship and look for a full time position that starts summer of 2024? I think he’d be fine starting a job in summer 2024 and he could certainly find something to do to be productive from Jan-June of 2024 while waiting for his job to start.

He will hit up Bowdoin’s career center with this question when he returns to campus but I’m just wondering if anyone here has any insight. Thanks!

Big 4 accounting firms (Big 4 firms have consulting / advisory divisions) & biglaw law firms (relevant for paralegal positions at major law firms) tend to start recent grad new hires together as a class. I do not know of any recent college graduates who started at the top consulting firms out-of-sync with the other new hires.

Major corporate employers management development programs tend to have a uniform start date. Whether or not a recent graduate could start in a rotational position at a major employer is an interesting question,but I suspect not.

P.S. I do recall a situation with a high performing Princeton University graduate who arranged for a special position with a major Wash DC law firm after finishing his undergraduate degree in sync with his class. Relevant only because the DC law firm accommodated the Princeton grad as a “special assistant” rather than as a member of the entering paralegal cohort. The paralegals from elite schools like Williams, Amherst, Northwestern,etc. were paid significantly more than the special position offered to the Princeton grad. My point is that if an exception is made it may not be as good of an opportunity as that given to those entering on the typical schedule.

Our nephew started at Deloitte in Jan after graduating in Dec. I will definitely ask him how that happened.

I will be interested to hear what the Bowdoin career center says.

His summer 2023 internship will be his junior year internship…because he won’t have junior standing in summer of 2022 (which many of the consulting (big 4, mbb, etc.) internships require…talking about the ones that often come with a job offer upon completion).

If he does get an offer from his summer 2023 internship, he obviously can ask if he could start in January…it’s probably going to depend on the firm at that point because I do agree with publisher that many firms want their incoming class to start together for training purposes, rotations, and such.

As long as he continues to get good internship experience he will have opportunities…it’s probably fair to say more starting in June 2024, but I think it’s possible he can find something to start Jan 2024.

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Deloitte is a bit different from the other three Big 4s in that Deloitte seems to hire those with more technical abilities.

I know many who have worked for 3 of the Big 4, the fourth usually is Deloitte.

Nevertheless,my knowledge & experience is limited.

P.S. @homerdog: Did your nephew have a highly sought after major ?

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S18 is doing a consulting internship (with a smaller specialist firm) this summer. They offer jobs to all successful interns and actually train them now alongside new joiners who weren’t interns, so it wouldn’t matter when you come back (and you have the option of working part time during senior year too).

So I’d be looking for an internship in that last summer with a company that he wants to work for after graduation so he can get any basic training in then. Most consulting training is on the job anyway, S only had 1 week of basic training on computer systems etc before starting billable work. His main takeaway so far is that Excel skills are all important.


He was in the business school at U Minnesota. I think his degree had something to do with IT but he had way less quantitative experience than S19 will have as a math major.

December graduation is super common for engineers and I haven’t heard of any disadvantage. Many students land their jobs in early Fall of senior year so December grads could just start earlier. Obviously industry and company dependent.

I agree with the others who said that last internship will be important.

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Because of the business interruptions caused by Covid, employers may be more willing to accommodate early graduates. Really an unknown.

Microsoft has a couple of outstanding rotational programs for recent graduates (I am only familar with the finance rotational program).

Rotational programs with which I am familiar are highly sought after 2 year programs during which the new hire does 4 six month rotations in different departments.

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Deloitte does a lot of implementation of systems designed by the more traditional consulting firms. This means that staffing needs could arise at anytime during the year.

Many Big 4 positions are baptism by fire. Ask your co-workers & mentors for help.

P.S. Math is a tremendous background for data analysis/data analytics. The University of Mississippi & seven or eight other large universities have a special relationship with KPMG. KPMG developed the program. Most–almost all–participants in the KPMG data analytics masters program receive full scholarships & a living stipend with a “guaranteed” job awaiting when one completes the 10 month program. Participating schools include Ole Miss,Ohio State, Texas A&M, ASU, Villanova, Virginia Tech, USC, Univ.of Missouri,Univ. of Georgia, & Baylor. (I believe the program was started at Ole Miss. I would check the benefits at Baylor as the benefits may be greatly reduced.)

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I have to say that the idea of a rotational position sounds fabulous, especially since I think his skill set is wide ranging. He’s got the quant skills but is also an effective communicator. I’ll have him do some research on those options. I understand that they would be highly competitive.

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You might not want to hear it :wink:, but as a math major he would also be in demand in the financial services industry…banking, asset management, hedge/quant funds, etc.


Ha! Well, there’s money to be made there and I get the pull. He always said no to that option but now I think he’s considering anything and everything.

Since he has two more summers for internships, he needs to decide what comes next. He could try something in finance to see what he thinks. That would stray quite a bit from his science interest. I think, after this next semester of math and physics, he might have a better idea of what he wants to try next.

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How does one apply for that KPMG program?

Answered my own question. After reading through it, it sounds amazing but, at least right now, I do not see S19 in accounting.

Google: KPMG Accounting and Data Analytics masters brochure

May need some accounting courses. UC-Irvine & UC-Davis offer excellent online accounting courses through the professional & continuing education division. UCal-Berkeley is another.

Does he want to stay in the space industry? Consulting in a specific technical field like that would be more learning on the job. Firms like SRI and Aerospace Corporation have a technical focus, but generally more on the engineering side than math.

Having said that, by Dec 2023 a bunch of the current enthusiasm may have run its course and space might not be a happy place to work (though financial firms could have a field day restructuring a bunch of things).


Yes to all of that. I don’t think his interest has waned for aerospace but he is sensing that a degree in engineering might eventually be in the cards if he goes that way. He really does like physics quite a bit but he’s still unsure about engineering. He spent a lot of time with the engineers during his fall 2020 internship and wasn’t super excited about what they did all day. He thinks he wants to be more in front of people than typical engineers are.

Suggestion: Consider preparing for & taking the GMAT or GRE exam during the period after graduation. Test scores remain valid for 5 years.

Lots of MBA programs and Masters Degree programs offer full tuition scholarships for those with strong academic backgrounds & high GMAT /GRE scores.

Entrance into an M-7 (Harvard, Stanford, Penn-Wharton,Chicago-Booth, Northwestern-Kellogg, Columbia, & MIT) program can be a life changing experience. I also recommend Virginia-Darden & Dartmouth-Tuck.

Duke-Fuqua & Cornell-Johnson, NYU-Stern, UCal-Berkeley, Yale SOM are others to consider.


That’s a great idea especially if he has a gap of time between graduating in Dec and starting a job.

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Does your son have the educational requirements to qualify to sit for the USPTO patent agent’s exam to become a Patent Agent ? (physics, biology,chemistry, hard sciences).

Becoming a patent practitioner|USPTO General requirements bulletin July, 2021 (43 page pdf)>documents>OED-GRB.pdf

Consider investigating / researching one year specialty masters degrees in business. Data analytics is an example of an in high demand specialty by consulting firms. Most do not require any accounting course background. Many programs have direct pipelines to major employers.

P.S. Although not recommended, your son could probably sit for the GRE without any or very minimal preparation & score high enough for admission to elite masters & MBA programs with scholarship money since he is a math major with strong English/reading/comprehension skills.

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