By Emma Kauffman, student writer
The final day of 2018’s MSU Fall Career Days (formerly Career Gallery), which took place on Thursday, Sept. 27, had a massive turnout. Nearly 2,800 students and 230 companies filled the Breslin Center for the Eli Broad College of Business-centric “Careers in Business” day that ended the days-long event.
The yearly event provides MSU students the opportunity to share their resumes and interact with names big and small from across the business spectrum, including Whirlpool, IBM, and Fiat Chrysler, among many others.
“This is huge,” said Sanjay Gupta, Eli and Edythe L. Broad Dean. “Everybody goes through their program of study with one goal in mind, and that is, once I finish my program of study, what is it that I want to do with my career?”
“Something we take a lot of pride in is the amount of effort that we put into providing opportunities for our students to understand what are the available career paths and options for them,” Gupta said. “Whether it is through a number of different employers that might come to campus; whether it is making them aware of the different job postings that are available; whether it is just opening their minds to the kinds of opportunities so that even if it is not necessarily with a particular company for a particular job opening, they become aware of those are the kinds of things people are hiring for and that they might want to pursue.”
Inside the Breslin Center, companies lined the concourse with their booths, and students filled every inch of extra space, either waiting in line for a chance to speak with a company representative, or making their way to the booth they were most interested in. Students had mere minutes to capture employer attention with their resumes and conversation.
Students Emma Catalina and Olivia Phaneuf were at the Breslin Center networking for over two hours. As freshman, they hoped that the event would help to prepare them for future job searches.
“I wanted to definitely feel comfortable talking to people in the future, and this helped,” said Catalina.
Said Phaneuf: “Knowing the recent news [at a company], knowing what they’re about, definitely helped the conversation flow easier. When I didn’t have anything to talk about, the conversation lacked and was a little bit drier.”
Allison Freeman (BA Supply Chain Management ’19) has attended three Career Days so far. This year, she was a finalist in the Supply Chain Management Association’s 4th Annual Internal Case Competition. The prize included access to a private mixer with the companies on Wednesday, Sept. 26, although she still chose to attend Thursday’s public event.
“MSU is able to attract Fortune 500s, and also ones that are really excited to meet supply chain people,” said Freeman.
The array of employers at the event was no accident.
“The Broad College makes a phenomenal amount of effort at building relationships with as many employers as we possibly can, and ensuring that all of our students have the opportunity to be placed while they are with us,” Gupta said. “It begins with internship opportunities, ends with full-time jobs, and our track record speaks volumes for how our efforts are paying off. Over 90 percent of our undergraduate students get placed either in a job or they are going on to higher education upon graduation. That’s a great success rate. We certainly want to continue and make that even stronger if possible.”
Perhaps the greatest success of this year’s Career Days was the massive turnout of alumni returning to campus as employees, with their green ribbons proudly displayed on their lapels. Students were able to see with their own eyes the impact that MSU has on big names in business, and that companies are specifically seeking MSU students to fill their ranks.
“I graduated from MSU in 2012 with a BBA in finance. I always love coming back up to East Lansing, both for the nostalgia of being back on campus as well as seeing what new buildings and businesses have popped up in the area,” said Shannon O’Guinn, a financial analyst at Ford Motor Company. “Bringing Spartans to Ford is a passion of mine and I am always pleased to see new generations of students interested in manufacturing and the automotive industry.”
As for advice on how students should prepare for next year’s Career Days, Jon Curtis (EMBA ’16) of General Motors had some parting thoughts.
“I think some of the best conversations are when the students ask questions about relevant or recent events within the company,” Curtis said. “It shows they did their homework, and thought about which employers they wanted to speak with and why. You know when you start to have strategic conversation with a potential applicant, they have a passion for the type of work they are studying.”