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Fall 2000 Career Fair Kicks Off

This Year Marks the Second Time the Three Sponsoring Organizations are Holding Joint Fair

By May Zhou

The MIT Fall 2000 Career Fair, sponsored by the Class of 2001, the Graduate Student Council (GSC), and the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), will be held this Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Johnson Athletics Center and the Rockwell Gymnasium.

The fair features 375 companies from such sectors as biotechnology, investment banking and consulting, start-ups, high-tech, and aeronautics. Also participating are nonprofit organizations, including the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, and government organizations, such as NASA and the CIA. Of these, the most highly represented industry sectors will be high-tech and start-ups, followed by banking and consulting.

As stated by the MIT Fall 2000 Career Fair Committee, the main goals of the fair are “to educate students about career options and to generate money for the three sponsoring student organizations.” This two-day event is split into a Graduate Career Fair on Thursday and an Undergraduate Career Fair on Friday. The division maximizes the efficiency of the companies’ recruiting efforts, allowing them to send different representatives to address the different skill levels and job concerns of graduates and undergraduates.

Career Week Culminates in Career Fair

For the first time this year, the fair is the culminating part of a Career Week from September 25th to 29th that is also organized by the Career Fair Committee. In the past, its organization had been left mostly to the companies themselves, producing much inefficiency and many complaints.

Though most Career Week events are panel discussions and workshops, several now take place in social atmospheres conducive to more intensive, one-on-one recruitment by companies. Students are provided numerous perks, including valuable resumÉ critiques, gourmet cuisine, a river cruise, and casino tables.

All Career Week events are absolutely free and open to all students, with the exception of the Trilogy Dream Cruise and MIT Casino Night 2000, which require prior reservations at the Career Fair website <http://careerfair.mit.edu> due to limited space. A complete list of activities is available on the website and in this newspaper.

Fair Acts as Fundraiser for Student Groups

As in previous years, each participating company pays a flat base rate for the fair with additional fees depending on sponsorship, booth location, and representative number. The current base rate is $1,200 for normal companies and $300 for non-profit organizations. Companies that pay $5,000 become Gold Sponsors and receive preferential booth placement and co-sponsorship of talks during Career Week. Those that pay $8,000 become Platinum Sponsors and are given strategic booth locations, inclusion of the company logos in all press material from the Career Fair Committee, and exclusive sponsorship of Career Week talks.

According to an agreement signed between the sponsors on May 7, profits from the fair will be divided up so that the Class of 2001 will receive 44.5 percent, the GSC 32.5 percent, and the SWE 23 percent.

Committee Learns from Last Year

This year marks the second anniversary of a career fair that is jointly organized by the Class of 2001, GSC, and SWE. Until 1999, there had been three separate fairs each year, individually sponsored by the student organizations and all occurring in the fall. Because of the repetition, many companies became reluctant to join all three. In response, the Office of Career Services and Preprofessional Advising (OCSPA) instituted the tradition of a joint career fair.

Unfortunately, problems arose last year even in the fair’s internal organization, as the three student groups disputed over the allocation of work and the splitting of revenue. Complicating the situation was the general lack of knowledge about the importance of holding a joint fair.

This year, however, the fair is running smoothly, in part due to the early start of organization activities. Last May, the career fair committee, whose six members were drawn equally from the three sponsoring organizations by election, created a contract specifying, among other things, financial and labor allocations. However, there was still some tension between the groups: at one point a controversial unauthorized e-mail that was sent by the GSC Publicity Chair was perceived as biased in favor of the GSC and against the Class of 2001 and the SWE.

Preparation continued throughout the summer as the committee contacted more companies to supplement the database of 1400 firms provided by the OCSPA. The final month before Career Week was the most intense, with committee members answering e-mails almost nonstop and all without pay. The committee hopes that this year’s Career Week will be done well enough that it will become a tradition at MIT.

For more information about the Career Fair and Career Week, visit the official web site at <http://careerfair.mit.edu> or e-mail <career-fair@mit.edu>.