Opinions, Editorials

Jobs Fair Should Feature More Opportunities for Variety of Majors

On Tuesday, more than 2,000 students and 150 companies attended the 2019 Boston College Fall Career and Internship Fair. The fair was advertised as a networking event for all students and alumni from all BC schools.

The event, attended by about 14 percent of BC’s students, is a major recruiting event both for companies and students. The vast majority of companies present aligned closely and almost exclusively with Carroll School of Management (CSOM) students and their expected jobs. 

According to the job fair’s app,153 companies were present at the fair. From those companies, users can filter the companies based on “job functions” for which those companies are hiring. Filtering for the finance industry, which at 1,048 students is CSOM’s largest concentration, lists 71 companies. A search for economics-related jobs, which includes 1,094 students in both CSOM and the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences (MCAS), yields 89 companies. Economics is available both as a major in MCAS and as a concentration in CSOM. 

But for MCAS students not majoring in economics, the search results are very different. Filtering jobs even remotely related to political science—the third largest major in MCAS with 873 students—yields just 27 companies. Only 20 companies were looking for the 757 students majoring in communication for work explicitly related to their field. For MCAS’ 408 English majors, 10 companies were seeking jobs directly related to their major. MCAS is highly flexible, though, and instead of hiring students into jobs that directly correspond to their undergraduate studies (as is done for CSOM hires), employers generally value the ‘soft skills,’ such as good communication and teamwork, taught in all schools at BC.

Not all students will be—or want to be—employed in a job related to their major following graduation, as the majority, according to the most recent senior exit survey, will work in a field outside of their major. An overwhelming majority (96 percent) of graduating BC students will have jobs or other “meaningful volunteer or graduate placements.” There are a significant amount of MCAS students who continue directly to graduate school after graduation instead of entering the work force. Five percent of all BC graduates engage in volunteer work following graduation. Despite the flexibility of an MCAS degree, different interests within the college are not well represented.

Despite demonstrated employer interest in hiring liberal arts students, over 100 of the 153 employers at the fair were specifically looking for students to work in financial fields. While it is not impossible for non-economics MCAS majors to be employed in finance jobs, it is rather rare and difficult to break into those fields. 

The fair seemed to be more geared toward economics majors and CSOM students. Future fairs should feature a more robust selection of industries to better represent BC’s makeup of majors. The liberal arts give students valuable and employable skill sets that can be used in a variety of fields—the next job and internship fair should reflect the diversity of majors at BC.

September 17, 2019