More Than a Handshake: Stevens Students Look to Fall Career Fair to Meet Future Employers
On-campus recruitment is a very big deal for Stevens Institute of Technology undergraduates. As one recent graduate stated, "When companies come to Stevens to recruit, they intend to recruit."
Year after year, approximately 75 percent of graduating seniors secure their career outcomes prior to graduation.
Hundreds of Stevens seniors, dressed for success and armed with killer resumes, filed into the university’s Schaefer Athletic Center and Walker Gymnasium September 27, eager to meet and impress recruiters from more than 120 leading companies at this year’s fall career fair.
Stevens pedigree on both sides of some tables
With so many employers spread out across two venues, it’s critical that students do their research ahead of time to narrow down the field.
Kassandra Marrero, a biomedical engineering senior, came to the event with the primary purpose of speaking with a representative from Johnson & Johnson.
“I did an internship with them and loved it. I’m particularly interested in J&J’s Global Operations Leadership Development (GOLD) Program. It’s a very competitive rotational program where you get to work in different areas of the company, and today I got a lot of great information.”
Alumni often return to appear behind the recruiting tables facing those seniors. Kaitlin Mulligan '17 and Erica Smith '10 came to recruit on behalf of BD, a leading global medical technology company, to fill internships and full-time positions in manufacturing and IT. They both landed at the Franklin Lakes, New Jersey-based company – Mulligan in information technology and Smith in biomedical engineering – thanks to the strong relationship Stevens has with BD.
“They came to campus for class visits when I was a junior, so I applied and got an internship with them. I loved the experience and later I ended up getting into the rotational program when I graduated,” said Mulligan, an associate for BD’s IT leadership program.
Mulligan and Smith were just two of the many Stevens alumni to return to their alma mater as recruiters.
For one alumnus, the occasion was an opportunity to visit the campus for the very first time. Christopher Nutting, associate staff at MIT's famed Lincoln Laboratory, earned his master’s in space systems engineering from Stevens this year online. He credits WebCampus, the Stevens Online technology platform, for helping him achieve a master’s degree while juggling family life and a full-time position at Lincoln.
“The systems that were in place were very helpful, the instruction was great, and I found the online collaboration to be a very good experience,” Nutting said. “At Lincoln, we’re involved with a lot of autonomous systems, so we’re looking for electrical engineering, computer science and software engineering candidates.”
Real-world experience gained at Stevens is key for employers
Each year, the fall career fair draws scores of industry leaders, including Bank of America, Con Edison, Goldman Sachs, L3 Technologies, Lockheed Martin, MITRE and Turner Construction, among others, many of whom consistently hire Stevens talent after the fairs.
The repeat attendance of employers, and their ongoing relationship with Stevens, speaks to the high regard they hold for a Stevens education, says Lynn Insley, executive director of the Stevens Career Center.
“Employers keep returning to Stevens because the broad-based curriculum and experiential learning of a Stevens education produces workplace-ready, solutions-oriented students who can provide immediate, as well as long term value to any company,” says Insley.
Insley leads a center consistently ranked among the best in the nation. Her office organizes year-round recruitment events on campus that contribute to the school’s impressive ROI, still among the nation’s elite.
Career Center staff were busy greeting a lot of familiar faces, as well as new ones. This year, Stevens welcomed newcomer Grubhub to campus. Used by legions of diners, the leading online and mobile food ordering company came to Stevens seeking software engineering talent.
“Stevens has a great reputation when it comes to technology education, and I’ve had really good experiences hiring students from Stevens,” said Padmaja Ayyagari, who heads talent acquisition-product and technology development at Grubhub.
Before the main event, Stevens also held an awards luncheon to recognize two companies that have demonstrated a stellar record of providing career opportunities for Stevens students – General Dynamics Electric Boat (chosen Employer of the Year) and Prudential Financial (named the Outstanding Internship Employer of the Year).
Stephen Najemian, a campus recruiter for Prudential, said the focus for his company from a hiring standpoint is in three primary functions: applications and systems development, technical program and project management, and data analytics.
“There are a myriad of majors at Stevens that touch on the skills that we’re looking for. And we’ve had a lot of success with Stevens students returning as interns year over year and converting into full-time employees,” he said.
Michael DiFranco, senior manufacturing engineer for General Dynamics, says what impresses him most about Stevens students is the real-world application of knowledge they gain through either senior design projects or actual work experiences.
“That’s important because when you come to our company you’re going to apply the concepts and theories you learn in the classroom to a real product.”
As for what DiFranco looks for in a candidate’s elevator pitch, he sums it up like this:
“What are your interests, what are some of the projects you’ve worked on in school or internships, and what was your involvement in the project? I want them to tell their story of what they liked and what they learned from those experiences. It helps me to understand where they could fit within our company.”
The next Stevens Career Fair will be held December 6, 2017. Companies looking to recruit Stevens students should contact the Stevens Career Center at 201.216.5166.