Undergraduate students had an extra source of intelligence at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business fall career fair on Sept. 15, 2017. A customized smartphone app allowed participants to track their favorite employers, read about job and internship opportunities, find specific booths on a map and engage in social media.
“I’ve been using the app to research different companies, to get a quick idea of what different companies are going to be checking for,” said Bryan Roa Colman, a management major who studies at the Smith School’s satellite campus in Rockville, Md. “I’m really interested in the sports apparel business, so I put Under Armour on my list of favorites.”
Ashlee Chicoine, director of Undergraduate Career Programming at the Smith School, said the Office of Career Services introduced the app to give students more control over their career fair experience. “Instead of printing a program book that isn’t really going to help students prepare, they can actually go through the app, find employers, see all of the specific things they’re looking for in a candidate and the types of positions they’re looking to fill,” she said. “We’re just trying to go more digital and meet students where they are.”
Overall, more than 1,200 undergraduate students met recruiters from 114 organizations at the daylong event, which included a headshot photography booth sponsored by SC&H Group. Employers included the “big four” accounting firms, major banks like Morgan Stanley and Bank of America, consumer companies like Procter & Gamble and Nestlé, and technology firms like Bloomberg and IBM.
Chicoine said top employers come to the Smith School because they like the talent on display. “This is one of my favorite days of the year because we get such great feedback from our employers,” she said. “Our Smith students show up business professional, sharp, well researched, and we hear rave reviews from our employers about how they show up.”
Doug Njoroge, a senior with a double major in international business and marketing, said the Office of Career Services starts preparing students during their freshman year with classes on networking, dining etiquette, resume writing and presentation skills. “That preparation way back during freshman year helped a lot,” he said. “You get practice, so by your senior year you should be comfortable being at career fairs.”
Austin Jones, a senior finance and information systems double major, said the benefits work both ways for students and employers. “This networking is a two-way street,” he said. “It’s all about finding a company that fits you, but also figuring out where you can fit in. I’m looking at Accenture. I’m looking at IBM, and I’m trying to see where I can be a good fit.”
Many students said they appreciate the range of employers available under one roof. “I’m looking forward to EY, PwC, KPMG and Deloitte,” said Zinwah Nzeffe, a junior accounting major at the Rockville campus. “It’s really helpful to meet these recruiters one-on-one. You create a connection, which is what we really need at this point.”