by: David W. Kralik ’12
Anaheim, California is known for several things, including the home of Disneyland, the resort theme park built by entrepreneur Walt Disney in 1955 where kids’ dreams come true. This year, the city also hosted the annual National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA) career fair & expo on October 13-15, 2011.
Online registration and overall user experience of the NSHMBA.org website left much to be desired and I was expecting a similar level of professionalism for the execution of the show.
As our nation’s unemployment level hovers at a historically high 9.1%, career fairs would naturally be a popular destination to find full time employment. Typically, the NSHMBA career fair attracts around 8,000 attendees and the words “MBA Meat Market” have often been used to describe the event.
However, this year, because of the West Coast destination and the date being sandwiched between several other diversity-related career fairs, attendance was down to a more reasonable 5,000 students. This left me pleasantly surprised with number of quality companies and the ease at which one could both access and have substantial conversations with prospective employers. Informal feedback gathered suggests that the longest anyone every waited in line to speak with a prospective employer was 15 minutes.
The day before the event, NSHMBA volunteers hosted resume and mock interview workshops as well. To add to the fun, Target and Diageo threw amazing evening networking parties on the first night.
Thunderbird has typically been well represented at past shows. According to the CMC, we usually send the most number of students and this year was no different. The CMC and TSG even managed to collaborate in arranging a bus to take students to the event. The CMC was also gracious enough to have an information booth to help students prepare for possible interviews and give them much needed candy and encouragement as they spent 2 days of non-stop, on-your-feet networking with prospective employers.
Given the number of T-birds who were at the show (both current and recent alums), the brand was well-represented and students rarely had to explain our school’s unique role in the MBA education marketplace. This, combined with the fact that all the sponsoring companies were global in nature, really made for great event perfect for the kind of students that this school attracts.
While it may not be Disneyland, the number of attendees together with the quality of the event really made this writer have a lot of hope that dreams of full time employment can come true.