Students Connect with Potential Employers, Show Off Networking Skills
September 15, 2014 | LSU Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering
While many across campus were begrudgingly reacquainting themselves with their alarm clock apps, College of Engineering students were suiting up to meet with recruiters at the College’s annual Engineering, Science, and Technology Expo. Over 2,000 ambitious engineers-to-be attended the Expo’s inaugural day for the opportunity to meet with recruiters from leading regional and national companies, surpassing last year’s attendance by more than 500 students.
The Expo, hosted and managed by LSU’s Olinde Career Center, has taken place at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center each fall since 2010. This year, event organizers expanded the Expo into the PMAC’s second floor concourse to accommodate an additional 20 firms eager to draft LSU engineering, computer science, and construction management students into their ranks. Among them were Globalstar, Inc., a Louisiana-based telecommunications firm and a newcomer to the Expo, and IBM, which returned to the College’s premier recruiting event following last year’s announcement that the company will build a new services center in Baton Rouge.
The College of Engineering Networking Reception, an additional vehicle for students who wish to connect with potential employers in a more relaxed setting, debuted in fall 2006. On the eve of this year’s Expo, 530 students gathered in the LSU Student Union’s Royal Cotillion Ballroom for a preview of the main event. The record number of registrants prompted organizers to move the event to the Student Union Ballroom from the Lod Cook Alumni Center, which had housed the Reception since 2010.
For some, like chemical engineering sophomore Precious Ouji, it was their first taste of how the College of Engineering and LSU’s Olinde Career Center partner to prepare students for career success.
“Some of my friends got summer internship interviews through the Expo last year,” said Ouji, an international student. “It’s an opportunity I shouldn’t pass up.”
Laurie Bynum, a petroleum engineering sophomore who recently transferred to LSU, had already secured an interview with Chevron when she introduced herself to Jarred Sharp, a recruiter for the company and an LSU alumnus, at the Reception.
“The networking Reception allowed me to ask questions in a more relaxed setting,” said Bynum. “I wasn’t on the spot, which is what I appreciate about this experience. Speaking with Jarred reaffirmed that Chevron would be a good fit for me.”
For his part, Sharp said he likes having an opportunity to interact with the students outside of the Expo.
“I take it easy on them because I know what they’re going through,” joked Sharp, who remembers turning to the LSU’s career center for internship opportunities while a student in the College of Engineering.
Though she did not yet have any interviews scheduled, biological engineering junior Madison Longwell attended the Reception hoping it will give her an edge when she follows up with the recruiters at the main Expo.
“This is my first time at the Reception, but I went to the Expo last year,” explained Longwell. “I applied to several internship programs online, and I am visiting those companies first. I’ll research any other companies I meet with today before I speak with them again at the Expo.”
Seventy-eight employers opted to meet with students at the Reception this year, an increase of 15 firms from the fall 2013 event. The surge in both recruiters and students is indicative of the value both parties place on the event.
“The Reception is helpful because it’s smaller than the Expo, so it’s not as overwhelming. It’s more personable,” said Bynum.
As students navigate their way through a highly competitive job market, events like the Engineering, Science, and Technology Expo and the College of Engineering Networking Reception will be increasingly central components of their internship and job searches. For companies, they present the perfect opportunity to recruit top talent from one of the best engineering programs in the nation.
Information about the resources available at the LSU Olinde Career Center.
Article by Liz Lebrón, LSU College of Engineering communications graduate assistant. For more information, contact Mimi LaValle, 225-578-5706 or firstname.lastname@example.org.