StudentSpeak: Career Fairs

Information sessions, company visits, career fairs all over the country? And it’s job search time again! These signal the beginning of the MBA school year and reminds students to be proactive in looking for an internship or a full-time opportunity. ‘Tis the time to move closer to your dream job!

The CMC does put in tremendous effort in helping us prepare for these career fairs, but you would need to attend one to understand what a phenomenal experience a national career fair is. We asked a few students to share their national career fair experiences, and this is what they had to say:

“It is a must-have experience for both 1st and 2nd year MBA student. Push yourself out of your comfort zone, and really prepare for the hands-on experience with prospective future employers. That’s how I got my summer internship last year in NSHMBA. Remember, only the early bird gets the worm.”
Monica Zhou, Accelerated MBA’13
“NBMBAA provided a great opportunity to meet face to face with some of the top companies in the world. It was like speed dating for MBA student and employers! Even more importantly, the experience helped me improve my ability to communicate future career goals. I feel very motivated as I move forward in my job search.”
Matthew Erley, Traditional MBA’14
“I attended NSHMBA last year in September. Personally I did not get much out of it. No job interviews, but did have some good conversational interview experiences. Being an international student, many companies (like L’Oreal, Nestle etc) refused to accept my resume because they were not willing to sponsor full-time graduates, though I was seeking an internship at the time, because interns are typically a feeder for full-time employment. I found that to be a major obstacle to go to a career fair this year, although, I may have more of a chance this year since I am graduating soon after the career fair because they would be seeking immediate recruitment.”
Sonia Ahuja, Accelerated MBA’13
“I had gone to a career fair last year (NSHMBA) and learned a lot then to apply for this year’s career fairs (NBMBAA):
1) Don’t have high expectations and stress yourself out or else you will be awkward talking to recruiters.
2) Recruiters want to talk to you so be prepared with icebreakers or general conversation starters and they could suggest positions you would be suited for.
3) These huge national job fairs are crowded, so put on your brave face and get out there and chat. Employers won’t come to you, so you need to go to them and show them what you’re worth.
4) Really, really know the company and products/services well and show passion and conviction in their company, products/services.
5) Have a game plan: Print out a list of the companies you want to talk to and when about to approach their booth, take that company’s dossier out and refresh your memory so you can show the recruiter you are interested in the company and have done your homework.”
J. Zakk MacLaren, Traditional MBA’14
“There is a learning curve to fast-paced career fair conversations, and having a well-prepared elevator speech is an absolute must. Circling back to previously-visited booths was helpful in establishing relationships with recruiters. It was certainly worth my time.”
Ryan O’Neal, Traditional MBA’14
“I attended the NBMBAA career fair and was impressed with the enormous job opportunities present there. According to my experience I believe candidates need to research the career opportunities with respect to their target companies before attending any career fair. As an international candidate, I referred to and for the list of companies that sponsor and this information was really helpful for me during the career fair.”
Ajay Vaddi, Accelerated MBA’13
“This year NBMBAA was a great way to start the job-hunting season, and one of the most efficient ways to practice marketing yourself to employers. It’s a valuable experience and I think every Thunderbird should attend one during their time here. Even if you don’t get a job offer from one of the fairs, you never know where the connections you make will take you.”
Thomas Carpenter, Traditional MBA’14
“Very interesting experience and great chance to practice your 30-second introduction and network with big companies.”
Anna Zhang, Traditional MBA’14
“NBMBAA was a great experience as it was my first time at a career fair. I was surprised by the number of companies at the fair and how patiently the recruiters listened to all candidates who dropped by their booths. For international students, it was a bit of disappointment as many positions required sponsorship and hence they weren’t considered for the positions, especially Leadership Development Programs.”
Sandeep Shenoy, Traditional MBA’14 

“The NBMBAA career fair was a terrific opportunity for me to learn how to present myself to recruiters from different types of companies. I came into the conference with an idea of what to say and came out with a completely different understanding. I made some good contacts and learned that we have a terrific support network in our fellow students, alumni, staff and faculty that make a big difference in the difficult journey toward our future career paths.”

Rena James, Traditional MBA’14

T-birds at NBMBAA ’13, Houston TX


At the NBMBAA Conference this week, there were many T-birds around, and I don’t mean only the ones that attended the fair. Michelle Toto (MA Class of 2011) was at the PetSmart booth, for example. Above is a picture of some of the T-birds at the fair – Angelique and Mike were helpful for practicing our 30-second commercials and preparing for interviews.

So which career fair are YOU going to be attending this year? Share your experiences with us!

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