A new location meant a new energy at MTSU’s recent Fall Career Fair, as hundreds of students and alumni descended on the Campus Recreation Center’s basketball courts turned expo space to speak with representatives from dozens of employers as well as graduate schools about job, internship and enrollment possibilities.
Hosted and coordinated by the Career Development Center, the university’s only campuswide career fair each year drew roughly 960 students and alumni and 160 employers during the three-hour event on Sept. 29.
Center Director Beka Crocket said relocating the event from the Murphy Center track area to the large, more open space inside the Rec Center allowed the fair to better accommodate the increasing number of companies wanting to participate.
“College is about opportunities and building connections with employers and this is what we’re doing,” Crocket said. “Students from all majors have an opportunity to network and meet industry partners.”
From health care and construction to law enforcement, financial services, entertainment and government, a wide variety of entry level job and internship opportunities were available for students to consider.
‘My university cares about me’
Dressed in a houndstooth business suit and black leather resume portfolio in tow, MTSU senior pre-law major Alexis Mahon of Memphis, Tennessee, looked every bit the role of future attorney as she made the rounds at this year’s event.
“I came to see the prospective law schools that were here as well as network with some of the companies here looking to fill internships,” Mahon said. “I did get some information on an internship that I’m interested in.”
Mahon was impressed by the event, finding out in advance that two of the law schools she’s interested in attending were going to represented at the fair. She said having access to so many different employers and graduate schools in one location “shows me that my university cares about me.”
“It was really convenient, right here on campus,” said Mahon, who attends the fair each year and eventually wants to be family/criminal defense attorney. Hopeful law school destinations include Howard University or back home at the University of Memphis.
Also dressed to impress in a navy blue business suit was Lara Park, a senior nutrition and food science/wellness major from Daejeon, South Korea. Park said she came to the fair looking for employers with openings related to her major such as food safety or dietetics or nutrition.
“It’s huge, more than I expected. I was surprised to see so many companies here,” said Park, who added that it was nice to be able to see and interact with students from different majors of study.
“There’s no other way students could have an opportunity to visit this many companies in one place, perhaps unless you pay, but this is free for students,” adding that practically every major could probably find a company with opportunities in their field with the diversity of companies represented.
Park hopes to land a job in food and beverage safety, so having representatives from Coca Cola on site as one of the participating employers was a must for a resume drop-off.
Career Fair ‘essential’ for students
MTSU alumnus and spring 2022 graduate Joshua C. Gray was back on campus recruiting for his current employer, car rental giant Enterprise Holdings, where he’s just a month into his role as a management trainee. He was glad to see the strong student turnout.
Among his pitches, Gray shared Enterprise’s entry level roles and internships that he said were good gateways into better learning the company’s operations and promotion opportunities.
“It’s good that they’re here and getting this information,” said Gray, who also attended the fair as a student but liked new Rec Center location because of its proximity to the Student Union and higher student traffic.
MTSU hosting such opportunities for its students “is essential,” he said, recalling the career fairs he attended during his time on campus. “They’re learning at least what it takes to be successful in the real world. … I’m glad that they’re asking those questions now so that they know what steps it takes to move forward.”
For students unable to attend this year’s career fair, Crocket reminds them that Career Development Center “is a full service center. We really walk students through the full experience, from providing assessments to understand what they can do with their major and how to apply that to the world of work, to understanding the full job preparation experience — resumes, cover letters, interviewing skills.”
Crocket also noted the availability of the Career Closet, which provides students with free professional clothing for interviews or first jobs. Learn more at https://www.mtsu.edu/career/.
— Jimmy Hart (Jimmy.Hart@mtsu.edu)