The lines were long, the conference rooms filled to capacity and attendees buzzing with activity, all of it pointing to increased opportunities for both students and employers participating in the College of Business’ annual career fair.
For FIU students, the career fair is a first step in their transition into the working world while top-name companies get access to candidates with a broad range of degrees and experience levels.
The third annual College of Business career fair drew 66 companies, among them BNY Mellon, City Furniture, Target, Mintz Physician Services, and Buckeye International. This year, 794 students participated in the March 24 event at FIU’s Modesto Maidique Campus, a 154 percent increase over last year’s fair.
“As the economy improves, recruiting is up,” said John Nykolaiszn, director of the College of Business’ Career Management Services (CMS). “Employers are turning to university career fairs because they need good candidates coming out of college.”
Many recruiters cited the caliber of FIU students and the strength of the university’s business programs as strong selling points for potential interns as well as full-time employees. The word “impressive” was heard more than once from executives speaking to students.
“We’ve seen so many more students and more student quality than previous years,” said Cody Woods, lead executive recruiter at Target. “Students that are confident, know what they want to say, and aren’t just rehearsing a speech.”
Woods and the Target team were seeking interns for the retailer’s management training program, an entry into positions in store management and store-level guest experience. “FIU is the top-producing school for Target in the Southeastern U.S.,” he added.
COB students make the most of one-on-one meetings with recruiters.
College of Business sophomore Simran Sakraney went to the career fair hoping to get an internship in the finance or technology sectors. She studied the companies at the event and met with recruiters from ADP, Northwestern Mutual, and Aon Hewitt, among others.
“I want to get ahead of the game and enroll in an internship this summer,” said Sakraney. “I want to graduate and have a job that I don’t want to vacation from often.”
The results from the career fair, she noted, have been extremely positive. Several recruiters offered in-person interviews and Sakraney is scheduling them before the semester ends. One observation stood out, many of the companies did not have internships available for this summer because the spots had been filled.
The recruiters at BNY Mellon, a first-time participant in the College of Business career fair, saw a steady stream of students, which often became a long line. They spoke about jobs as portfolio analysts and sales associates at one of its five offices in Florida.
As part of his efforts to secure a summer internship in investment banking, Luis Lara, a junior majoring in finance, visited BNY Mellon and Kempler & Co., a trading company specialized in supply and distribution of energy commodities.
Demand for internships and jobs grows.
The College of Business career fair debuted in 2014 and is held every year in the spring semester. The number of employers present has increased steadily from 33 the first year to 43 in 2015 and this year’s 66. That’s a 75 percent increase from last year.
A veteran of the College of Business career fair, City Furniture’s Dannon Monroe, manager of college and university relations, was sure he would find talent for the company’s 10-week internship program. Within two hours of the event’s opening, he had identified three students with the right qualifications.
“FIU students are hard-working and that fits right in with our philosophy, which is more about the person not just the GPA,” said Monroe, who graduated FIU in 2005 with a bachelor degree in marketing and international business.
City Furniture’s internship program focuses on sales and leadership components, leading up to full-time positions in sales, management and other departments. ““We don’t focus on the hard sale,” said Monroe. “It’s more about relationship-building and how we treat the customer.”