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Job Hunting in 2020: Rutgers–New Brunswick’s Virtual Career & Internship Fair

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The Rutgers–New Brunswick Virtual Career & Internship Fair  took place on October 1 and 2 via Handshake—a portal through which students and alumni were able to explore career options. The fair, open to all Rutgers students and alumni, featured companies representing a spectrum of both public and private industry sectors—from Fortune 500 companies to nonprofits.

Rutgers Virtual Fair Series, Day 1: Arts, Communications, and Entertainment/Business, Financial Services, and Logistics

Day 1 featured 63 companies that were hiring for both technical and non-technical positions in the areas of business, finance, communications, life sciences, and more. Students were able to view company info and then sign up for informational sessions for companies about which they wanted to learn more. The general career fair registration was open to students both in advance and also throughout the event. Since the fair was held virtually, there was no limit to the number of people who could be present in group sessions. Students also had the opportunity to sign up for individual one-on-one sessions with specific representatives to talk for 10 minutes. However, these slots filled up fast, therefore, if the event is held virtually in the future, I would recommend signing up early—especially if you wanted to meet representatives from specific companies. These virtual opportunities were similar to how students could either obtain informational brochures in person and/or be able to deliver a pitch in order to find potential job opportunities.

I, personally, attended the fair to find potential full-time opportunities and focused on companies and job opportunities that were data-driven and using data science. I personally enjoyed the ability to have a one-on-one session with specific company representatives, since I was personally able to connect with them in order to find about more about their specific niche and department.

Some companies had particular relevance for MBS students—such as Bloomberg, Discovery, Inc., and Ayco, which all relate to concentrations in MBS’s computer and informational sciences academic track. Bloomberg and Discovery Brands held group sessions with PowerPoint presentations (See Figures 1 and 2), which provided company summaries and outlined what each company looks for in potential candidates. Ayco, on the other hand, created a group session—led by a company representative—in which students drove the discussion, so it was more like a Question & Answer session where students could unmute themselves and show their video while asking questions directly to the representative and the larger group. Both sessions provided valuable information and guidance for the candidates for current and future opportunities..

A graphic from the Bloomberg powerpoint representing that they look for Leadership and critical thinking skills, technology skills, collaboration skills, and financial knowledge.

Figure 1: A slide from Bloomberg’s PowerPoint presentation

A slide from Discovery Inc. presentation which included brands they work with such as HGTV, TLC, Food network, OWN, Information Discovery, and more.

Figure 2: A slide from the Discovery, Inc., PowerPoint presentation, which included a visual summary of many brands.

 

Rutgers Virtual Fair Series,  Day 2: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math

While Day 1 encompassed both technical and non-technical opportunities,  Day 2 was primarily focused on technical opportunities in sectors such as engineering, life sciences, and information technology. This session featured 87 companies including Catalent (pharma / manufacturing), Merck (pharma), GenScript (biotech/manufacturing), Axis Group (consultancy), and more. GenScript and Axis Group both held group information sessions which, like Bloomberg and Discovery, Inc., had PowerPoint presentations that provided general company information (See Figures 3 and 4).

A slide from Axis' presentation describing their structure which includes consulting, analytics enablement, customer success, and core services.

Figure 3: A slide from Axis's PowerPoint presentation.

Powerpoint slide from GenScript about their business platforms such as: Life Science CRO, Biologics CDMO, Cell Therapy, and Industrial Synthetic Biological Products

Figure 4: GenScript's PowerPoint presentation included information about business platforms.

In addition to group sessions, I joined one-on-one sessions with representatives from Merck and Catalent. I was already familiar with both of those companies, so it was interesting to hear new background information as well as where each company was headed in the future—how they are creating new positions that are data-science driven and how new position titles can be created to fit a certain need. It was also interesting to hear about the representatives’ own experiences as employees.

Summary:

Both sessions provided valuable information and guidance for the candidates on current and future opportunities. Below is a quick summary of my thoughts on Rutgers’ first-ever virtual Career & Internships Fair.

Good

Could’ve Been Better

  • One-on-One Sessions (10 minutes in length)
  • Creating Interactions
  • Personal Connections
  • Q & A Sessions

Add a general user interface so students can more thoroughly browse company information, learn company background, and pop in and out of sessions vs. signing up for only specific group sessions, which each last 30 minutes.

 

Main Differences Between Virtual Career Fairs and In-Person Fairs – Pros & Cons

Virtual Fairs

In – Person Fairs

(Pro): One-on-one sessions (private and personal experience)

(Con): 30-minute group sessions (inability to move to different companies at your own pace)

(Con): Less companies present, overall

(Could go either way): There were different companies on each day, which meant different energy and morale on each day (students and reps).

(Pro): Ability to jump from company to company at own pace

(Con): Elevator pitches done in a crowded room (not necessarily a personal connection)

(Could go either way): 300 + companies, with same companies on multiple days—which can lead to less morale from representatives.

Author(s): 
Riya Patel 
Published On: 
10/14/2020