Marianella Camacho (BA ’94), working on her Professional MBA at the College of Business at Florida International University (FIU), liked everything about the 2016 Prospanica Conference & Career Expo in Houston, Texas, held September 28 – October 1, 2016. Presented by the National Society of Hispanic MBAs, the conference offered opportunities for career advancement through educational sessions, on-site recruitment, networking and other development opportunities.
Best of all, Camacho appreciated that she was totally prepared to effectively network and interview at the conference, which featured more than 60 companies such as Microsoft, Drop Box, American Airlines, Pitney Bowes, Procter and Gamble, General Motors and Intel.
“No doubt about it, I knew how to conduct myself thanks to the Career Management Services at FIU,” Camacho says. Her interview with a representative from United Technologies at the conference resulted in Camacho being flown this month to United Technologies’ Aerospace Systems division in Rockford, Illinois, for another round of interviews.
These results are exactly what John Nykolaiszyn, director of Career Management Services for the College of Business, was hoping for when he dramatically revamped this conference opportunity for FIU business students.
“We decided to take more students with us this year — 70 MBA students, in fact — and to make sure they were prepared on how to interact with the corporate representatives they would be meeting,” he said.
Career Management Services conducted classes as part of the curriculum of FIU’s International MBA program and welcomed other MBA students at the college to the sessions.
“At career fairs, students have a limited amount of time to make the right impression,” Nykolaiszyn said. “Our classes covered a wide range of topics from how to network at a social event to how to present yourself at an interview. We even held an etiquette lunch. Our goal throughout was to eliminate the unknowns about these situations. The result at Prospanica was the majority of our students had face-to-face interviews with the companies who were there.”
“I was confident in approaching people, knew how to ask the right questions and how to answer questions,” Camacho said.
“When I was talking to one representative at a company, she put me in touch with their director of global procurement,” said undergraduate student David Emerson. Emerson, a finance major, attended Prospanica as an Ignite Scholar. “I feel like I really started to build my network at this event. Plus I really benefitted from the workshops at the conference. All in all, it was an outstanding experience.”
Additional opportunities available for international students.
“International students were actually able to get interviews at Prospanica,” said Nykolaiszyn. “This opens up more opportunities for many FIU students.”
Camacho, originally from Venezuela, remembers that before she became a U.S. citizen, she could never get an interview at a career fair.
“I was excited to see that international students now have this opportunity,” she said. “That’s just another reason to love Prospanica.”