By: Kamelia Kilawan
It is 2pm as the onset of blizzard Nemo is closely approaching and Baruch students file into the gymnasium dressed in suits, ties, and skirts—polished with resumes in hand and their personal pitches ready for recruiters.
On Friday, Feb. 8th the Starr Career Development Center held their annual undergraduate internship fair with over 36 companies recruiting in the gymnasium of the Newman Vertical Campus. The event had a turnout of nearly 600 students—more students than last year’s internship fair according to records from the SCDC. Amidst a pending snowstorm, early dismissals of students from classes, and managers giving their employees the afternoon off—many Baruch students were still lining up for the fair.
“I think the take-away of this event is the unbelievable resilience and determination of your fellow students,” said Deputy Director of the SCDC Dr. Ellen Stein.
Jessica Saavedra, 22, a senior majoring in Computer Information Systems said she was still looking for an internship and decided that she had to come to the fair even though she needed to commute back during the snowstorm to work in a pizzeria in Astoria, Queens.
Unfortunately two of the companies she was hoping to reach did not make it to the fair, she suspected because of the blizzard. But Saavedra said the event was still quite beneficial for her.
“I think that when you talk to them you can actually get the feel for the company,” she said mentioning that at the fair you are able to take notes of the company culture through their recruiters.
In the bustling gymnasium dozens of tables were set up for recruiting managers of companies while groups of students approached them dressed in black and navy suits. But outside the fair was just as busy with staff members from the SCDC giving feedback forms to students on touchscreen iPods while other members of the Center were helping to select business attire for students who came without suit jackets and proper attire.
Franklin Eze, 19, borrowed a suit jacket and tie from the center’s selection of donated business clothes. He said he was not only appreciative to have the “suit-up” service but that it served as a wake-up call for how he should dress if he wants a career in business.
“I can’t go there looking like this,” Eze a transfer student hoping to major in Accounting or Finance said on Friday pointing to his jeans and polo shirt. He noted that it was his first time at a Baruch internship fair and that the dress code of internship fairs at his former community college was much more casual.
Some recruiters noticed how prepared Baruch students were for the fair. Jacqui Howard a recruiting manager for the Municipal Credit Union said she was happy to be a part of Friday’s internship fair because of the preparation and quality of the students’ questions as well as the great turnout.
“They were determined and weren’t going to let anything stop them. I was really surprised because I didn’t expect to see this turnout,” Howard said adding “It was a good day.”
Kathy Demasi, a recruiting manager for Citi and Baruch alumni who majored in Statistics in the 1980s said this internship fair was unlike the ones she remembered as part of her Baruch college experience.
“We used to put our resumes in boxes,” she said explaining that when she attended Baruch nearly thirty years ago recruiters selected the resumes based on students’ listed experiences and usually came to school to meet face-to-face for interviews.
But now she says the internship fair has an advantage for both parties because recruiters get to show enthusiasm for their companies and students get time to speak to the company’s recruiters.
As for the turnout of students at the fair, Demasi said Citi received hundreds of resumes from students who lined up in front of their table. “They know they have to get out there and get a job,” she said adding that she was pleased that the students were “eager to sell themselves and see what is out there.”
Philip Adikimenakis, a junior at Baruch and a volunteer from the Baruch Accounting Society said that he had been printing fliers for the event and arrived at Baruch at 9am to help recruiters set up their tables for the fair.
Adikimenakis said that the bustling fair made sense because the purpose of Baruch is to find a job and be successful.
“I think it truly shows how determined they are despite the blizzard,” he said of his fellow students adding “they saw the opportunity cost and saw this was greater.”
If you missed this one, it is not too late. Mark your calendar for April 12th, for the Spring Career Day. We will keep you updated with more information to come.
Kamelia is a junior at Baruch studying Journalism and Religious Studies. She is currently a Peer for Career at the Starr Career Development Center and the Editor of Starrlights.