At the fall 2019 Career Fair at Stevens Institute of Technology, undergraduate and graduate students weren’t just looking for a job, they were looking for a career.
“And they tell you that,” shared Trenae Forman, head of diversity and inclusion programs for Covanta, a renewable energy company that turns the waste which traditionally goes to landfills into energy.
“Watching the personal energy that the students bring to the topic of sustainability, I’m like, ‘wow, this is really what they’re looking for.’ And internally, as we’re talking about our employment brand and how we attract this generation of students, just watching the talent walk in through the door has been really exciting.”
Covanta was one of more than 130 employers to descend onto the Stevens campus September 25 seeking top Stevens talent to fill fulltime and internship positions.
Many were repeat employers known for hiring Stevens graduates year after year. At Weiss-Aug, 80% of hires are from Stevens, according to Forrest Klawunn, a program manager in the surgical products division at Weiss-Aug and an alumnus who went straight to the company after graduating from Stevens in 2016 with a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering.
“The quality of the engineering students that leave Stevens for our company we’ve found a huge success with as far as bridging the gap between pursuing new technology and having the interface to correctly solve complex problems.”
That’s not all. The experiential learning that is so much a part of a Stevens education was touted by recruiters like Klawunn who are also Stevens alumni.
“I did the co-op program. So I had five [co-op] experiences prior to graduating, and one of them was at Weiss-Aug.”
Eric Thompson ’14, an assistant staff member at MIT Lincoln Laboratory, also credits his co-op experiences, as well as the interdisciplinary education he obtained at Stevens, for not only helping him land a position at Lincoln Laboratory but helping him thrive there for the past seven years.
“I think especially for a place like Lincoln Laboratory, which has such a broad range of engineering activities, the breadth of the education that I received at Stevens was a real boon for when I went and started working at Lincoln Laboratory.”
The repeat attendance of employers, and their ongoing relationship with Stevens, speaks volumes about the high regard they hold for a Stevens degree, says Lynn Insley, executive director of the Stevens Career Center.
In addition to career fairs, Insley and the Career Center staff actively work with students, starting in their first year, to prepare them for the many on-campus recruitment opportunities held throughout the year, including co-op and internship events.
“It’s never too early to think about preparing for a job interview. We work with students individually with resume writing and mock interviews. Just as importantly, Career Center staff work diligently to build and cultivate employer relationships so that students have opportunities to match their skills and interests with companies that are a good fit for them,” says Insley.
Stevens’ reputation as a proven source for top technology talent continues to yield new opportunities for students. Annie Goldman, head of cybersecurity in the U.S. for HSBC, said word of mouth about the caliber of Stevens graduates was the reason why she and her colleague were recruiting at Stevens for the financial giant’s technology graduate program, a two-year rotational program.
“Technology is the foundation of any company but particularly the financial industry. And we have colleagues who speak very highly of Stevens students,” she said.
Beyond a technology background, Goldman emphasized that candidates will need to understand and appreciate the global aspect of HSBC, which has branches within 67 countries.
“What that allows our technologists to do is not only think very globally but develop or improve our processes for people in [those] countries.”
In addition to the need for real-world work experiences and global approaches to problem-solving, recruiters cited the importance of diversity across the STEM fields as a priority for their companies.
“When I think of that diverse talent, I think of different thought processes, different experiences, different exposure, not just a particular demographic. And I have absolutely met some really great [candidates] to add to our talent pool,” said Forman.
The next Stevens Career Fair will be held December 4, 2019. Companies looking to recruit Stevens students should contact the Stevens Career Center at 201.216.5166.