At the fifth annual MPowered Career Fair yesterday, students seeking employment from local, smaller entrepreneurial companies had the chance to interact with recruiters.
At the event, which was held at Pierpont Commons and the Duderstadt Center, about 100 start-up companies from more than a dozen industries visited the University seeking to hire approximately 400 Michigan students to fill full time job and internship positions.
The event was sponsored by the University’s Center for Entrepreneurship and hosted by student leaders from MPowered Entrepreneurship, a University student organization that supports student career-oriented ventures.
More than 1,000 Michigan students attended the North Campus event between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., Public Policy junior DJ McKerr, the fair’s project director, said. McKerr said he believes the event empowers small companies to transform their ideas into reality by hiring ambitious students.
“By removing the bigger companies, we allow these smaller ones to compete competitively for University of Michigan students,” McKerr said.
McKerr added that students who are employed as a result of the fair typically benefit significantly from their job experience with the company.
“It’s really cool for students,” McKerr said. “They get to take a lot of ownership in the projects that they are working on with the company and get to enhance the organization.”
Though the fair attempts to connect University students with local start-up companies, recruiters from outside the state were also present. Tyler Steber, vice president of marketing for DeQue Systems, a software company based in Virgina, said he hopes to recruit passionate and technologically qualified University students.
“Michigan is a great school,” Steber said. “We are very excited about starting a new office (in Ann Arbor) and bringing the people from the University to work for our small business.”
Britany Affolter-Caine, director for talent enhancement at Ann Arbor SPARK, a local economic development agency, said the company is looking to increase the number of students with degrees in engineering and technology-based majors who work for the company.
“We have more than 100 software companies in Washtenaw (County) alone,” Affolter-Caine said. “But they all say, ‘Where are all the software engineers or people from the School of Information?’”
Affolter-Caine added she was impressed the event was entirely planned by students.
“It’s amazing, I can’t believe this is student-run,” Affloter-Caine said. “This is more well-run than many of the other career fairs we’ve been to.”
Engineering graduate student Bo Zhu, who said he’s attended all five MPowered Career Fairs since he started as an undergraduate student at the University, said he believes the event has evolved over the past five years.
“They really transformed it into something different,” Zhu said. “I remember it was on the Diag with 15 companies and four tents. Now, they turned it into covering the entire Pierpont and Duderstadt.”
Engineering senior Justine Lazo said she likes the unique atmosphere the career fair provides.
“I get more of a one-on-one chance with the CEOs,” Lazo said. “There isn’t as long of a line, so you could actually talk to recruiters and not feel rushed.”