Career fairs provide an early start

St. John’s students will be provided with two opportunities this semester to explore career opportunities and meet with prospective employers.

The first of these events, the third annual Big East Live Career Fair, will take place on Friday, March 9 at Madison Square Garden. The fair is centered around the semi-finals of the Big East basketball tournament.

“It’s a consortium of the Big East schools,” explained Thomas Ward, Jr., the associate director for corporate relations at the Career Center. He added that in its second year at the Garden, the fair has grown significantly.

“Last year we had 81 employers, this year it’s grown to 131,” Ward said. “There will be companies from all different industries, including some big names.”

Companies to be in attendance include Google, Bloomberg, and Lehman Bros.

“It’s a slew of different types of companies from different industries,” Ward said.

He wished to stress that students should not avoid the career fair because of their majors, as almost every major and field is represented. Nor is the fair open only to seniors, as undergraduates can often find internship or summer job opportunities within the companies present at the career fair.

Ward said that St. John’s played a major role in the organization of the Big East Fair, more so than other Big East schools.

“We’ve been very active in the site committee, and it makes sense,” he said. “We’re geographically the closest, so we have a good relationship with the people at Madison Square Garden.”

Ward also mentioned that many of the Big East schools that are farther away from New York City, such as Notre Dame and West Virginia, will be sending busloads of students to the city, both to attend the basketball games and the career fair.

On a more local scale, the St. John’s Career Center will hold its 2007 job fair on April 18 in Carnesecca Arena.

Ward said that the fair included about 105 organizations last year, and the University hopes that it will meet or exceed that number this year.

“This is our largest recruiting event of the year,” Ward said, “and organizations know that, so they’ll be here to talk to students who are interested in part time jobs over the summer, full time jobs or internships in the fall.”

The University held a smaller job fair in the fall in Council Hall that attracted over 700 students, and it is hoped that this one, in the larger venue, will attract a significantly larger number.
Ward said that his team is responsible for reaching out to corporations and encouraging them to come to St. John’s in their recruiting processes.

“One of the things that I’m proud of is that we’ve built partnerships with our corporate sponsors over the years,” he said.

Ward pointed out that while there will be similar organizations at both job fairs, one difference may be that the Big East fair attracts more large national businesses with headquarters outside of the New York area because “they can hit 16 different schools at once” through the fair.

Aside from the various career fairs, the Career Center offers a number of other services to St. John’s students, including the Campus Recruiting Program, in which major corporations such as Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan are invited to visit the campus and conduct interviews, and the Summer Shadow program, which allows sophomores and juniors to spend a day with a professional in the field they wish to enter.