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Over 100 Companies to Visit Institute for Career Fair

By Kathy Lin

“About 160 companies will be there” at tomorrow’s Fall 2002 Career Fair, said Career Fair planning committee member Michael R. Hall ’03.

“It is certain that there are fewer companies hiring and that the companies that are hiring are hiring less ... but it’s still a great time for MIT students because companies want the best students, and they’re at MIT,” Hall said.

“Despite the economic conditions, we tried our best to get a lot of companies to come to provide the best Career Fair for the students,” said Career Fair planning committee member Jessie Q. Ding ’04.

The fair will take place from noon to 8 p.m. in Johnson Athletic Center on Wednesday, Sept. 25.

The time frame of the fair is different this year; in the past, it was two-day Career Fair, but the hours on each day were shorter, with the fair ending in the early afternoon each day.

Fair appeals to small companies

“This year’s career fair is very diverse. We offered smaller companies a discount, and they responded to that,” Hall said. Local companies, small companies, and companies from underrepresented disciplines that satisfied certain requirements were charged $600 to take part in the career fair, as opposed to the $1,000 charged to larger companies.

The small companies and diversity seem to be attracting students. “[The] reason I’d go is that I may discover some new start-ups and some career options that I've never considered before,” said Rebecca Y. Deng ’03.

“We’re happy ... that students are responding to the small companies and want to work there,” Hall said.

Tenacity still hits some students

Corporate attendance at last year’s fall Career Fair was hindered by the events of Sept. 11, as many companies either could not come because of internal problems that needed to be taken care of or simply no longer had the resources to hire more employees. This year’s fair, over a year after Sept. 11, still only has about as many companies as last year’s fair, despite remarks on the Web site that “past Career Fairs have brought over 375 companies.”

Some students are optimistic. “I think the Career Fair is a great opportunity for students to go out and meet employers from a lot of different sectors,” said Johnny T. Yang ’03. “I’m hoping that the situations within the companies have improved and that they will be able to offer some of the internship opportunities that weren’t available last year.”

Others were less enthusiastic. “If I went, it would be because I’m a senior and I need a job,” Deng said. “I’ve been going to the Career Fair since freshman year and every year is the same thing, with the same companies. If you already know what companies you want to work for, you apply through JobTrack or the company Web site, you don’t really have to go to the Career Fair.”

In the past few weeks, the MIT Office of Career Services and Preprofessional Advising offered several workshops like “Resume Workshop” and “How to Work a Career Fair,” in preparation for the upcoming fair.

Students submitted resumes, which were then put on a CD and will be distributed to the participating companies. Participating companies will also be able to search the collection of resumes online.

“There is no way to tell” how many students will attend this year’s Career Fair, as “there are a lot of variables that go into [the attendance],” including bad weather, Hall said.

Fair highlights Career Week

The Career Fair is the focus of Career Week, a series of corporate-sponsored events this week, including a dinner, a banquet, and several workshops. Companies that paid extra will be hosting exclusive panel discussions and talks with students interested in their companies. Some companies will also be conducting interviews after the fair.

The Career Fair is organized by the Class of 2003, the Graduate Student Council, and the Society of Women Engineers.