By Emily Reyst, student writer
On Thursday, September 15th, 13 of the Lear Corporation Career Services Center’s employment partners gathered outside of the Broad College of Business complex for the second annual Broad Career Connect @ the Red Cedar.
The event was designed to prepare students for the upcoming Career Gallery in a less formal, “no-pressure” environment. “The purpose was to build relationships, not necessarily focus on careers,” said Alan Burman, career program manager for the Lear Corporation Career Center at the Broad College. “We wanted students to come out, have fun, and realize that behind the facade of a company, there are people behind those logos. This event facilitated the start of a relationship to get to know the people, not the company,” he said.
Amani Archer (BA Supply Chain Management ’17) was one of many students who passed through and found herself unintentionally networking. “My friends and I were taking a finance quiz and finished early and saw the fair when we walked out,” said Archer. “Ironically, some of the companies on my job-hunt radar were there, like BP.”
Archer knew the value in events like this, even if she wasn’t entirely prepared. “Making those connections early is important in getting your resume to the top of the pile by the time the career fair comes around,” she said.
It wasn’t all business at Career Connect. Food and large-scale games helped students engage with one another and get to know peers and corporate partners in a relaxed setting. “We’re eating pizza and rolling around in giant balls. This helps us break down some of those walls that are at normal career fairs, where buttoned-up professionalism is expected,” said Evan Dunbar (BA Management, International Business ’17).
Companies had just as much fun: they hosted giveaways, showcased cars on the lawn, and a long list of new and exciting technologies were demonstrated by companies like Bosch. It was especially exciting for recent alumni, who got to represent their company and recruit Broad students. Kristine Francesca (BA Finance ’16), who now works at General Motors as a financial analyst, and had the opportunity to return to her old stomping grounds for the event. “We have a big presence on campus for internships and full-time positions,” she said. “As recent grads, it’s nice to interact with students on an informal level. Starting the relationship now helps both them and us feel more comfortable for events we’ll see them at in the future.”
The Broad Career Connect event is young, and those who run it are looking forward to its continuation. “We advertised well this year and we got a lot of foot traffic,” said Burman. “We hope to make it bigger and bigger every year.”