The National Society of Black Engineers/Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers Career Fair took place on Friday, September 30 and Saturday, October 1. Companies including Amazon, Deloitte, Exxon Mobil, GE, Microsoft, Johnson & Johnson, Google, IBM, and Stryker, among others, set up in the Armory in hopes of finding capable Rensselaer students they would like to work with. Because an opportunity like this does not come every day, RPI students prepared to the best of their abilities. There were many information sessions, mock interviews, and resume building workshops to help students prepare for the career fair. Students felt the pressure to have the perfect resume, to give the perfect pitch, and give the perfect first impression.
Because of the vague instructions given to students about the career fair, some students had problems entering the Armory. After waiting in line, several people were denied entry and were sent back. There were inconsistencies in the actions of the volunteers at the door, whose task was to check that all students attending showed an RPI ID and followed the “business casual” dress code. Some of the volunteers asked to see an RPI ID, while others did not. Some volunteers were very strict about the dress code to be followed, while others were not.
Approximately 4,000 students attend the NSBE/SHPE Career fair each year. This year, the career fair had great attendance; the Armory was very crowded. Because of the large number of companies and the vast number of students present, it was very difficult to find specific companies. Students had to wait in lines to speak to company representatives. Many of the companies’ representatives were RPI alumni.
A representative from Stryker explained why Stryker, along with the rest of the companies there, pays to come to RPI for the career fair each semester. The representative from Stryker said that RPI students are like no others. In any field of study, RPI students have stronger basic skills and stronger backgrounds in technology. In today’s constantly advancing society, the skills possessed by RPI students are in great demand by employers. RPI is the only school in New York that Stryker recruits at.
Companies are still holding information sessions and presentations. Information about these sessions and presentations is sent to students’ RPI emails. The next career fair will be hosted by the Center for Career and Professional Development this upcoming spring. Students are encouraged to attend to gain experience even if they are not looking for jobs or internships.