On Sept. 23, 2016, first-year business students got a head start at the Smith Undergraduate Career Fair, hosted by the Office of Career Services at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. The first hour of the event was reserved for freshmen to explore companies’ booths and meet recruiters before the upperclassmen arrived at the Xfinity Center in College Park, Md.
“This gives me great exposure,” said Sabrina Somar, a Smith School freshman from New Jersey. “I can make connections early on, so next year I’m more prepared.”
Smith School professor Jeffrey Kudisch, managing director of the Office of Career Services, said recruiters love the format. “We have freshmen come in to meet with recruiters while they are green so they don’t feel threatened or intimidated by the upperclassmen at the fair,” he said.
The Smith School’s largest career fair of the year welcomed nearly 130 employers from a full range of industries, including finance, manufacturing, consulting, accounting, consumer products, and technology. Overall, more than 1,500 business students came to meet recruiters to hopefully land internships and full-time jobs.
Accounting student Mengzhe Cao, a junior from China, came to meet recruiters from the “Big Four” firms, which were all represented. He said the event gave him a chance to practice English, while hopefully highlighting the accounting skills he has mastered at the Smith School. “What I offer employers is solid technique,” he said.
Kudisch said his office has been working since the beginning of the fall semester to create interactions with employers, so students understand what companies are looking for: candidates with leadership, strategic thinking, communication, and creative problem-solving skills. “We want to help students gear up for success in the job hunt,” he says.
The Career Fair was the culmination of the Smith Undergraduate Student Association-sponsored Business Week, with career-related events each day ranging from a fashion show of interview-appropriate dress to a mock career fair to practice networking skills.
The fall fair was sponsored by grocery chain Aldi, uniform and corporate product supplier Cintas, and Maryland credit union SECU. The next undergraduate career fair will be Feb. 10, 2017, at the Riggs Alumni Center.
For more information about recruiting at Smith, visit www.rhsmith.umd.edu/career.