The annual Boston College Career Fair, which featured 151 employers spanning a broad array of industries, attracted a record 2,100 students to Conte Forum on Sept. 13.
This year’s fair boasted new features aimed at improving the overall student experience, including a coaching space located at the front entrance of Conte Forum. There, students could speak with career coaches and receive advice on how to best navigate the fair.
“Our main approach this year was to try and remove some of the stress inherent in the event and create a welcoming environment since many students are meeting employers for the first time,” said Joseph Du Pont, associate vice president for Student Affairs and Career Services.
Additionally, the Career Center’s employer engagement team conducted surveys throughout the summer to gauge what employers students were interested in seeing at the fair. As a result, the fair featured a diverse group of companies and nonprofits suited to student interests.
Some students, however, have raised concerns about the fair. Specifically, concerns have been raised in regards to earlier recruiting times for those in the Carroll School of Management. Over the years, recruiters for firms seeking CSOM students have begun making hires at earlier dates. Firms are now recruiting second-semester sophomores for positions they would have during the summer going into their senior year.
Consequently, many business students feel pressured to secure internships before they have the chance to fully explore their options at the internship fair.
Du Pont expressed sympathy for those affected.
“These [issues] are a real challenge for students interested in the fields of finance and consulting, and the trend towards earlier recruitment timelines does not seem to be abating any time soon,” he said. “No one likes these early deadlines, not even the recruiters we speak with.”
Du Pont also addressed how the situation is being dealt with.
“If there is a silver lining, it is that CSOM, other departments, and the Career Center have done a good job in the past year of educating students about these earlier deadlines,” he said. “While that doesn’t make the process any easier for students, they are more informed and are not as surprised by the early deadlines.”
This issue has added further anxiety to an event that many students already found to be stressful—a perception Career Center employees have been working to fight back against. Du Pont explained that he wants students to alter the way in which they view the fair: He said he hopes that students will come to see the fair as an opportunity to freely explore different career fields and learn about various industries from professionals with firsthand experience, rather than an intimidating referendum on their long term job prospects.
Through this approach, Du Pont said he believes students will feel more comfortable approaching employers, which will be beneficial to students seeking internship opportunities. He also wants students to know that the Career Fair is not the only opportunity they will have for on-campus recruitment.
“Throughout the year we will have hundreds of employers on campus and so many opportunities for students to find opportunities that are right for them,” Du Pont said. “We have many more events, programs, and resources coming up throughout the year to meet the more individualized needs and interests of students. Our goal is really to empower students to integrate career education into their BC experience so they can live lives of meaning and purpose.”
Featured Image by Kaitlin Meeks / Heights Editor