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Combined Career Fair Favors Big Companies

Despite being a senior in Course 6, I was at the career fair not looking for a job, but looking for employees. As a member of a small startup, the career fair seemed like a terrific way to find the technical talent that my company needs.

While the combination of the fall career fairs into one fair benefits the large companies like Microsoft that didn’t like attending three career fairs, it did a huge disservice to the students and for companies coming to the career fair.

My company was located in the back of Rockwell Cage. As a freshman, I went to a career fair each month and was able to see all the companies that interested me. While recruiting for my company, I noticed that the bulk of students never entered the building that my company was in.

This situation is not fair to students (especially the freshmen and sophomores that the “big companies” rarely want to talk to), but also to companies that would like to recruit talented MIT students. With the fair only on from 10:00 to 4:00, students had a choice: skip class, or skip most of the booths. Most students choose the former.

I was quite happy with our results; we met several talented and capable individuals, but we were also only looking for a handful of people. We also traveled from Newbury Street, not California.

However, I don’t understand why the combined career fair continues. Companies in Rockwell Cage are second-class citizens, only visited by students that are dedicated to talking to everyone. Students don’t have time to seek out everyone (especially if you followed the grad students on Thursday, and undergrads on Friday), and, as a result, everyone loses.

The only winners? The large companies that spent ridiculous sums of money to get a booth in the front row for their professional recruiters to sit at. I have no problems with them getting to be the first companies seen if they are willing to pay for it, but they shouldn’t be able to stop other companies from meeting students.

By combining the career fairs, you’ve hurt students and the companies attending it, to benefit a few firms that don’t like competition.

Alex Hochberger ’01