SG Cowen: New Recruits Harvard Case Solution & Analysis


SG Cowen is one of the largest investment banks and developed as a concept of a boutique bank, but remained competitive in its industry and effectively competing with Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan Chase. The company has presence in different parts of Europe, Asia, and the United States. The company hires top students from the second-tier universities forming the idea of recruiting hard working, loyal, and culturally associated students.

Problem Statement

SG Cowen decided not to hire the last two candidates for their required associate position. The company wants to make a decision from the four candidates which have been remained because the bankers could not make consensus in the decision. However, the HRM practices are provided by the company and as well as the characteristics and traits for the four candidates. The company wants to make recommendations for the last two candidates before the time runs out for the bankers.


Assessment of Selection Process

On-Campus Round

In the on-campus rounds, the company would assign team captains at core universities in order to conduct informal interviews and in order to take a general assessment of potential candidates. The particular strategy comprises of two to three scheduling dates amongst which one open and other closed are selected which is based on the previously submitted resumes. The first interview is conducted upon which the interviewers decide their fate to enter the Super Saturday. The first interview has some potential weaknesses which allow associates and senior associates to select candidates on the basis of their own preferences. Due to the absence of senior people in managing the interviews, the decisions can be bias. The time constraint is also an issue in which associates have to interview a huge list of candidates and to make an assessment of each candidate.

Super Saturday

On Super Saturday, 30 bankers were selected to interview the entire list of candidates amongst which only 20 would be selected. After interviews, a collective decision would be taken to adhere the consensus of all parties involved in assessment. The criteria for Super Saturday was based on selecting those candidates for which the banker would be willing to take that particular candidate to the CEO’s office if the criteria requires to pick only one new associate. Therefore, this eliminates the concept of making bias decision.

The presence of a company’s CEO is a positive and a motivational sign for the candidates and the bankers. However, the time at which the interviews have been conducted was not appropriate for the majority of the bankers because it was their free time. This strategy may allow bankers to make inappropriate decisions and can lead to wrong choices just to complete the entire process and leave for home. Other than that, it is difficult for bankers to select candidates on the basis of their expertise in their own departments or to select candidates that may be feasible for the overall company’s future other than the particular bankers’ department. Similarly, consensus is difficult to achieve in the presence of 30 interviewers that have different mindsets and have limited knowledge of human resource.

Top Business Schools for Recruitment

The aim of SG Cowen is to recruit those employees that are loyal and committed to the company and have the quality to be culturally fit. SG Cowen has a criteria of selecting students from the top 25 universities. However, the figure was changed from the criteria of top 10 core universities when the timings of recruitment did not match with the top universities as students were halfway mid in their semesters. Training is provided equally to all students in order to improve loyalty, commitment, and culturally fit. The company also has a criteria for selecting students from the non-core universities, only they have to visit the company’s headquarters for enrollment. The company usually preferred those employees that have already worked with the company at previous stages.

Sg Cowen New Recruits Case Solution

However, considering these strategies the aim of the company has always been rested upon hiring loyal employees. Therefore, the company would have used other methods for the attraction of employees instead of choosing top 25 Schools students. The employees that would be selected from job fairs would be loyal even if they lack certain finance expertise. The company has to make sure the categories upon which it has to recruit associates. The other strategy that could be applied is the recruitment of employees present in Europe and Asia.......................

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Chip Rae, director of recruiting at SG Cowen, must decide which recruits to keep after the final interview process for a new foreign associates employees. Along with team captains assigned to each school, he examines the criteria used for hiring decisions. Their new strategy is to go beyond the top 10 major business schools for the best class in the top 25, avoiding people in the middle of his class. After some initial resistance, top managers eventually see the wisdom of the new strategy. "Hide
by Thomas J. DeLong, Vineeta Vijayaraghavan Source: HBS Premier Case Collection 15 pages. Publication Date: May 13, 2002. Prod. #: 402028-PDF-ENG

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