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Jaswanth Madhavan
The Dropbox booth at Career Fair 2011, prominently placed outside the entrance to Johnson Rink, drew hundreds of students not only searching for internships and employment, but also seeking their popular t-shirts.
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When it comes to the job market, MIT students have still got it. A record 350 companies turned out for Wednesday’s Career Fair in Johnson. This year also marked the first time Career Fair was held — not coincidentally — on a student holiday.

New and returning companies set up booths, gave out free gear, and eagerly sought top talent in fields from computer science to aerospace engineering to biology. Yext, a New York-based internet advertising company, has had previous success in finding qualified candidates from MIT through avenues like the Career Fair. This is Yext’s third year recruiting at MIT.

“In software engineering, there are only a few elite schools where you can find the most qualified candidates, and MIT is one of them. Many of our senior engineers are MIT alums whom we did not recruit directly from MIT,” said Jonathan D. Kennell ’02, a Yext software engineer.

StumbleUpon, a search engine that finds pages geared towards the user’s personal preferences, has primarily recruited in California — where the company is headquartered — before coming to MIT for the first time this year.

“We came to the fair because MIT is at the top in engineering, and we want the best for our company,” said Sarah Schwartz, a recruiting coordinator at StumbleUpon.

Dropbox, a Web-based file storage service, was founded by MIT graduates Andrew W. Houston ’05 and Arash Ferdowsi ’08. “MIT is the only place we always come to for recruiting,” said Albert R. Ni ’09, who works for Dropbox .

“Companies have been highly excited about coming to MIT,” said Mari A. Miyachi ’14, publicity director for the Career Fair. “We work to make companies aware of the benefits of sponsorship, and companies respond very positively to the benefits.”

Good career moves

With Wednesday a student holiday, students had the entire day to spend at Career Fair. But students’ reactions to the career fair remain mixed.

Maximilian L. Brand ’11 said that the fair was a good chance to network with MIT alumni. “I know some alumni in the companies at the fair, so I’ve been able to visit the alumni and see what their experiences have been like,” he said.

Because several companies did not take resumes at the Fair, some felt that it wasn’t worth going out of the way to attend.

“Many of the companies I visited simply told me to submit my resume online, so I’m not sure whether the Career Fair was worth the time,” said John J. LaColla ’12.

But Anjuli J. Figueroa G said that even if companies did not take resumes, it was still “worthwhile” talking to them. She thought that meeting with companies would help her get a sense of how a PhD would fit in with their needs.

The Career Fair was dominated by companies looking for students in Course 6, but mechanical engineers were also in high demand. The emphasis on those majors left some life sciences majors feeling a little left out.

“As a major in Course 10B (chemical-biological engineering), I’m interested in internships with a biological emphasis,” noted Erica Chan ’14. “Unfortunately, there were relatively limited companies with biological or pharmaceutical work, and more oil and energy companies.” Chan also said that the large turnout of small companies meant there were fewer available job openings.

Miyachi said that Fair directors try to “encourage diversity” when looking for companies, and that they have been able to attract a large number of startups and relatively new companies. “We were able to attract a high number of both large and small companies,” she noted.

Still, Chan was happy that the Career Fair was scheduled on a holiday. “It’s definitely easier that the Career Fair is on a holiday,” she said. “Last year I had a heavy workload on the day of the Fair and couldn’t make it.”

Companies benefitted from the placement of the Career Fair on a holiday as well. Christine Chen ’12, day-of logistics director for the Career Fair, noted that the student holiday helped give companies on the fair’s second floor more exposure.

“I think that having the career fair on a student holiday this year significantly helped with student turnout, and I heard from many companies that they have seen more students than they have in the past,” Chen said in an email to The Tech.

“There were many new companies at the fair this year, and many are using their experience as an opportunity to enter the MIT recruiting scene.”