The University hosted a wide range of employers yesterday at the 2011 Winter Career Expo which encouraged students to explore potential careers.
More than 800 students and about 65 organizations were expected to attend this year’s expo, held in the Michigan Union and co-sponsored by the Career Center and Office of Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs. The employer registration rate for this year’s expo was up by 23 percent from last year, according to Schueneman, the career events manager for the Career Center.
One-third of the organizations in attendance were non-profit and government agencies including City Year Detroit, Yes Prep Public Schools and Grassroots Campaigns.The remaining two-thirds of the organizations comprised of for-profit groups like Capital One, Target and Toyota, which were offering leadership development programs and job opportunities in advertising.
Schueneman said she hopes students go to the Career Center as their first step in the process of obtaining internships or full-time job positions.
“It’s a great chance to see what is out there,” Schueneman said. “It’s the first step in that internship or job that you want.”
Many University seniors attended the expo with the chief goal of finding possible jobs, while others focused on networking and internship searches.
LSA seniors Sara Bennett and Lindsey Etterbeek said they went to the expo with hopes of finding a job for after they graduate.
Kinesiology senior Dwayne Riley said the expo was helpful and that he attended in order to follow up with prospective employers he met at the Fall Career Expo.
“I came to the one in the fall, and it was pretty helpful, so I wanted to follow up in the winter to show my face before applying to desired positions,” Riley said.
Engineering sophomore Brad Rock, a first-time expo attendee, said he felt the expo was a great opportunity, though he was somewhat nervous to talk with company representatives. He said he would encourage other students to give it a try even if they’re apprehensive.
“You feel uneasy at first, but ask good questions, and don’t be too nervous,” Rock said. “And try not to view every opportunity as the end of the world, if it goes badly.”
Though many students said they found the expo helpful, some students said it didn’t meet expectations.
Business School junior Sara Jablow said the event wasn’t completely accommodating. She said she felt the fair could have been better organized and that it was hard to tell what skills companies really wanted.
“The other career expos that I have been to were more specialized,” Jablow said.
LSA senior Sarah Avellar said there weren’t a lot of choices for students, adding that the potential employers were targeted to students interested in business.
“This one was useless for me,” Avellar said. “It wasn’t as individualized.”
When asked if they favored non-profit or governmental jobs over careers with for-profit organizations, many students said they prefer corporate jobs. Business School junior Colin Buck said he would like to work for a corporate organization instead of a non-profit because he finds corporate companies to be more driven.
“(Corporate companies are) more motivated,” Buck said. “Non-profits are friendly, but they lack motivation.”
Some students, however, said they would rather work for a non-profit organization.
University alum Brittany Moore said she didn’t even walk into the room with the corporate organizations and that she was sold on the non-profits.
“I walked in the Pendleton Room, with the corporations, and I was like, ‘no, wrong room,’” Moore said.
LSA senior Abiola Omishope said the expo prompted competition between students, and encouraged self-determination.
“It was helpful because you get to gauge how competition really works, how to present yourself and how to be self-competitive,” Omishope said.
When asked what they thought of the job hunt, many students interviewed, including LSA senior Jessica Zelvin, said it is a tough yet manageable task if students put in the work.
“(It is) overwhelming (and) frustrating but possible,” Zelvin said. “It’s challenging, but if you give great consideration, and effort, you will find what you’re looking for.”
After the expo, Schueneman said she received positive feedback from the employers who attended.
“(The employers) seemed to be impressed with the quality of the students (and) with the professionalism of the students,” she said.