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Senior Class, SWE, GSC Agree On Fall Career Fair Contract

By Nancy Keuss and Jennifer Krishnan


Three student groups will once again jointly organize the Fall Career Fair, slated for September 17-21.

The 2001 fair will mark the third year that the Society of Women Engineers, the Graduate Student Council, and the senior class -- now the class of 2002 -- have collaborated on the event.

The contributing student organizations recently agreed on a revised contract for the event, under which each group selects two members to make up an organizer group, according to SWE Co-President Jennifer L. Clarke ’03. These members will coordinate all of the details for the Career Fair and solicit the help of their respective organizations to provide volunteers for the event.

Clarke said the agreement between the three groups allows for a greater resource pool and more organizational time than could any of the three organizations could provide alone.

“The collaboration is the best way to have a large, well-organized, and successful Career Fair for the students,” Clarke said.

Dalai optimistic about changes

Class of 2002 President Sudeb C. Dalai ’02 described this year’s contract as “largely an extension of last year’s contract,” with a few added safeguards to assure the success and productivity of Career Week and the Career Fair.

“The Class of 2002 pushed pretty hard to ensure some fairness that we didn’t see last year,” Dalai said.

This year’s contract provides that each of the collaborating groups will hold one corporate sponsored event. Last year the SWE has a banquet, but neither the GSC nor the class of 2001 had its own event.

While plans are not yet set in stone, Dalai said the senior class event would most likely be a casino night.

Both floors of Johnson Athletic Center have been reserved for the Career Fair. During last year’s fair, some companies were placed in Johnson, while others were placed in Rockwell Cage. Because there was “not a big flow over to Rockwell ... a lot of companies felt they were shafted,” Dalai said. “Companies are paying a lot of money to attend the Career Fair ... It’s our responsibility to be attentive to their needs.”

Unlike last year’s Career Fair, which was divided into a day for graduate students and a day for undergraduates, this year’s fair will have no such separations. Dalai hopes this will increase the diversity of companies in attendance on both days.

Additionally, the Class of 2002 has formed its own Career Fair subcommittee, a group of seniors “who will be involved in all the planning stages for Career Week and Fair,” Dalai said. Usually the organizations involved send volunteers whenever needed, but there are no clearly defined roles, which leads to accountability problems, according to Dalai.

He also said that he thinks having a committee composed of students in various majors such as biology and political science will help add to the diversity of types of companies who attend the fair.

Joint fair in its third year

Prior to the 1999 fair, the three organizations had each organized their own fairs each year. Because of the repetition, many companies became reluctant to participate in any of the three. In response, the Office of Career Services and Preprofessional Advising initiated the joint career fair.

The 1999 fair saw significant dissent between its organizing groups. Problems arose in the fair’s internal organization, as the three student groups disputed over the allocation of work and the splitting of revenue.

“That year, the groups involved had a hard time working together,” Dalai said, adding that after that fair, there was talk of abandoning the idea of a joint fair completely.

“This year, we have a more healthy collaboration and a more cooperative atmosphere for the actual Career Fair Committee,” Dalai said.

The 1999 Career Fair drew more than 270 companies and some 3,000 MIT students seeking permanent and summer employment. The 2000 fair featured 375 companies from such sectors as biotechnology, investment banking and consulting, start-ups, high-tech, and aeronautics. Nonprofit organizations also traditionally participate in the fairs.

Clarke said that the planning for the upcoming Career Fair is ahead of last year’s schedule and running smoothly.

“Our goal is to have this be the most successful Career Fair yet,” she said.

The Class of 2002 will receive 42 percent of the proceeds from the Career Fair, which is their main source of income. The GSC and SWE will receive 36 and 22 percent respectively.