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Career Fair Begins Recruitment Season

By May K. Tse
Staff Reporter

The Class of 1999 Career Fair, held today in Johnson Athletic Center from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., marks the beginning of the career fair season for this academic year.

"Last year they had 143 companies so in terms of sheer numbers we definitely have a lot more companies coming, about 195 companies and organizations,"said Pooja Shukla '99, president of the senior class.

"One of the things we should emphasize is that the career fair is a lot more diverse than it has been in the past years. We don't just have the traditional companies that come each year,"Shukla said, stating that besides engineering, investment banking, and consulting firms, the class council also worked with the Biology Undergraduate Student Association to get biotechnology companies to attend.

Shukla said that other non-traditional organizations are participating as well. "I was in Washington, we tried to get government agencies and organizations that don't normally come here to our fair. Also great for undergraduates is that there's going to be study abroad organizations represented as well. The career fair isn't about just finding jobs but also about finding resources so we're having career services there," she said.

With 195 companies in attendance, Shukla estimated that about $95,000 will be raised for senior class events, such as a trip to a Celtics game, a movie preview night, a night at the Wang Center, and senior social hours.

Other career fairs planned

In addition to today's career fair, later career fair plans are already in the works. The next career fair will be the MITSociety of Women Engineers career fair on Oct. 23, co-sponsored by the MITCareer Council. About 100 companies are estimated to attend.

SWEalso holds a banquet in conjunction with the fair so that members can have an extra chance to meet company representatives. This year, the banquet will be held on the same day as the career fair rather than the night before as in the past.

"This was changed in response to many students' preference of having the career fair and banquet on the same day since a lot of people live across the bridge. Also, this is the first time we're collaborating with another club," said Sally Yu '00, SWEcareer fair co-chair.

The SWEcareer fair will also be open to students at Boston University, Wellesley College, Harvard University, and Boston College, Yu said.

"We've diversified the company representatives this year. Usually we mainly have engineering firms but this year we have an increasing number of finance and consulting firms as well,"Yu said.

The Graduate Student Council career fair will be held on Nov. 13. "The Graduate Student Career Fair is the only fair that focuses specifically on the recruiting of advanced degree holders by companies through broad disciplines," said Philip T. Yoon G, one of the GSC's career fair organizers. "We are expecting 50 pluscompanies," he said.

The GSChas improved their career fair organization from last year "to meet the demands by students and companies. For example, companies will receive resum books in paper version as well as on CD-ROM, thus allowing for search functions,"Yoon said.

Spring career fairs smaller

While the largest career fairs will be held over the next few months, the spring term brings its own career fairs for the end of the recruitment season.

The European Career Fair will be held Jan. 27, with about 40 companies expected to attend. "The major goal remains to focus on the European job market and any major European, American or global company offering job opportunities in Europe," said Benon Z. Janos G, one of the organizers. Companies seeking employees for both permanent and temporary assignments will be represented, Janos said.

This year, the Tau Beta Pi career fair is co-sponsored by the Sloan Undergraduate Management Association, the Bio-Medical Engineering Honor Society, and the Pi Tau Sigma Mechanical Engineering Honor Society, in an effort to diversify the student audience and scope of recruiters. The career fair will be held on Feb. 5. "Historically, we've received around 90 companies," said Ming-Hokng Maa '99, one of TBP's career fair organizers.

"All proceeds go towards TBP projects such as paying the Boston Museum of Science $7000 per annum to allow free entrance by MITstudents,"Maa said. He also cited the TBPLeonardo da Vinci Dinner Series and the Engineering Futures Program as other recipients of the TBPcareer fair profits.

The final career fair of the year will be co-sponsored by the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, the National Society of Black Engineers, and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. It will be held on Feb. 19.

"All of the career fairs are run by student organizations. The only thing we do is post it on the web site for the company's information,"said Carole A. Ferrari, assistant director of recruiting at the Career Services Office.

"We would certainly advise students that attending career fairs is very beneficial to them just to find out more about a particular company and to gather information. It gives them the ability to make a better judgment on who to interview with," Ferrari said.