Boston University students swarmed the George Sherman Union last Wednesday, dropping off coats and bags and changing into professional attire before entering the Metcalf Ballroom.
BU’s Center for Career Development and the Questrom School of Business’ Feld Center for Industry Alliances co-hosted the annual school-wide career fair Feb. 13.
According to Louis Gaglini, the executive director of the CCD, around 900 students showed up for the four-and-a-half-hour time the career fair ran.
Monica Parker-James, executive director of the Feld Center, said that when organizing the fair, she tried to make it convenient for both students and employers.
“We try to schedule it so that as many students can attend the fair as they can,” Parker-James said. “We always have to balance it to make it possible for students to attend, but also to accommodate our employers and see what works with them.”
More than 100 employers attended the fair. The roster included government agencies such as the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the City of Cambridge, private organizations such as Dell Inc. and Meketa Investment Group Inc., universities such as the Harvard Business School and BU, banks, retailers, technology firms, research labs, consulting firms and social impact companies.
In addition to international companies and government agencies showing up to the fair, local and smaller organizations were also among the list of employers at the fair
“We try to achieve a balance between larger and smaller organizations” Gaglini said. “The bulk of the employers here are actually midsize or smaller companies, some of them with fewer than 10 employees”
To help students with their elevator pitch — a prospective employee’s short description of their background and experience — Gaglini said the CCD had a booth for students outside of Metcalf Hall to practice and obtain constructive criticism.
“Another objective of the career fair is to get in there and perfect your elevator pitch on real people” Gaglini said. “It’s a very important skill, and we’d rather you try it on us before going and talking with the employers.”
Current BU students as well as alumni showed up with resumes in hand, ready to learn about various companies and apply for jobs and internships.
“We engage with alumni all the time” Parker-James said. “We’re always working with them to bring them back to campus to advocate for students at places of employment. They offer that insider BU perspective that students really appreciate. Terriers look out for Terriers.”
One such Terrier, Rebecca Ryan, a 2010 graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences, said the company at which she directs talent and training — Kepler Group — employs a large number of BU alumni.
“We’ve seen a lot of success from our BU graduates at Kepler Group,” Ryan said. “The type of student who goes to BU is generally more ambitious, and the academic bar is set really high”
Ryan said the fair served as a way for her company to “find talented BU students,” adding that the fair would help popularize the company and establish it as an employer brand.
Samira Anant, a sophomore in Questrom, said she attended the fair partially to fulfill a club requirement and partially for her own personal experience. While she enjoyed it overall, she said it was crowded and that she had a difficult time finding companies with what she wanted.
“I don’t know if I’ll come back next time, because the tables I went to were either filled for their internships or were searching for full-time employees,” she said. “Overall, however, I think it was a success. I gained a lot of contact info and networking, but I also learned that you should do a lot of research.”
Parker-James said she considered the event a success after hearing feedback from multiple employers.
“Overall, the feedback from the employers is incredibly positive,” Parker-James said. “They’re really impressed by both the number of students that showed up as well as the general quality of the students, and rightfully so.”
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article misstated the number of attendees at the fair as more than 1,500. The total number of attendees was around 900, and the article now reflects this correction.