Last week was the College of Business Career Fair – over 200 companies came down to campus to recruit students from our College! The Career Fair can be a stressful time, but as long as you prepare for the event by researching companies you are interested in – the event will go smoothly. You may think as a freshman companies won’t be interested in hiring you. While not many companies hire students after their freshman year (typically companies are looking for sophomores, juniors and seniors). There are many great ways to get involved with firms early on in your college career. The first way is through a winter job shadow. Over winter break, students in the College of Business have the opportunity to spend a day with a major firm close to their hometown. In the Fall, freshman and sophomores apply for these job shadow opportunities and they are made aware of their placement before winter break. My freshman year I job shadowed at KPMG (one of the Big 4 accounting firms). I kept in touch with the firm over the years and in the Summer of 2011 I had the opportunity to participate in their Summer Leadership program and I interned in the Audit practice in Summer 2012. I also received a fulltime offer! This is why it is so important to start making connections with companies early on – it is important to show interest and to get know the culture of a company so you will feel confident in your decision about where to work in the long run.
Another great way to get involved and make an impression on a company is to participate in their case competition. Many large firms offer case competitions – groups of about 3-6 students come up with a solution to a case about current problems in the field and present their solution to a panel of professionals from that particular company. My freshman year I competed in Ernst and Young’s “Your World Your Vision” case competition and my sophomore year I competed in PwC’s “xACT” case competition. My team took second place in PwC’s competition – both were awesome experiences!
I’m sure attending a Career Fair seems intimidating right now – but don’t sweat it! Every freshman in the College of Business will take Business 101 (BUS101) in the Fall of their freshman year. Students learn how to write a resume, dress professionally, and talk to recruiters amongst many other things. The Business 101 course helps students prepare for their initial interactions with recruiters so they can leave a lasting impression.