CPD hosts first spring career fair

by Frances Cohen | 4/4/17 2:10am

With students starting to think about their career paths for this coming summer and the terms to follow, the Center for Professional Development will host its first spring employer connections fair today from noon to 4 p.m. at the Hopkins Center for the arts. Although the event occurs every fall, this is the first time the CPD will also host the fair in the spring. The event will feature 44 companies and organizations offering both entry-level job and internship opportunities. A wide variety of companies are represented at the fair, including consulting firm Oliver Wyman, software developer Black Duck, finance company Goldman Sachs and non-for-profit organization Teach for America.

June Kim ’20 said that although he is glad to see a wide range of finance and consulting firms, he would like to see more technology-focused companies in attendance. Leo Lei ’20 expressed a similar sentiment, saying that there seemed to be a disproportionally large number of financial services companies.

The fair is open to undergraduate and graduate students, and all are encouraged to attend. For the freshmen and sophomores, it is an opportunity to gain exposure to employers and companies that historically hire Dartmouth students. For juniors and seniors, the fair is a means of connecting directly with employers offering summer internships and entry-level job opportunities.

Senior associate director of employer relations Monica Wilson said she expects a higher turnout of freshmen and sophomore students at the spring fair compared to the turnout from the fall fair but fewer juniors and seniors since many have already secured jobs. Though typically 800 to 1,000 students attend the fall fair, Wilson said the spring fair is comparatively smaller.

Wilson said she decided a fair in the spring would be beneficial when she noticed many employers recruiting sophomores in advance for summer internships between their junior and senior years. A spring fair can thus serve as a starting point for sophomores looking for future internships as well as seniors who are still looking for entry-level job openings, Wilson said.

Managing director at consulting firm CBPartners Monica Martin de Bustamante ’08 Th’09 agreed that a spring fair helps address the fact that many larger companies have been establishing their own hiring timelines ahead of on-campus recruitment. A spring fair connects students with employers earlier so that rising juniors and seniors can get a head start on the process, she said.

Martin de Bustamante added that despite the spring fair’s ostensibly more casual nature, students should still do their research on companies in which they might be interested before the fair.

“Ideally, [the students] come prepared with a little bit of background on us,” Martin de Bustamante said. “It is a little bit telling of the individual when they just come to your table and say, ‘so what do you do?’”

Manager of university relations and partnerships at investment management company Vanguard Group Karen Fox also said she is most impressed by students who demonstrate a familiarity with the company and have done some preliminary research.

Lei said he sees the fair as a chance to generally network and learn about the opportunities that exist. Yi Fei Yan ’20 agreed that he does not expect to find concrete job opportunities as a freshman but instead hopes the fair will be a good networking event.

Fox said she sees the spring fair as an opportunity to start establishing relationships with freshmen and sophomores, as well as foster an on-campus presence for her company.

“The spring is great in that we get to do what I call ‘advance prospecting,’” Fox said. “We recognize that we are going to talk to the freshmen and sophomores and start building relationships with them for the future.”

Although students are welcome to bring resumes to the fair, many employers expressed a preference for more casual conversations. Campus recruiter at e-commerce home goods company Wayfair Melissa Gontarz said she likes to get a background on students’ academic interests and have relaxed exchanges with them.

“I like to hear from a student what they are studying, maybe what they are interested in and then kind of just have a nice back and forth that is more informal,” Gontarz said.

Wilson echoed this sentiment, explaining that the point of the fair is to provide a space for students to explore opportunities in a relatively informal and low-pressure setting.

“Our goal is to have students figure out who they want to keep the conversations going with,” she said.