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Career fairs push Carnegie Mellon students ahead on recruiters’ lists

Seeing hundreds of students in formal attire means only one thing on the Carnegie Mellon campus in mid-September — the annual Technical Opportunities Conference (TOC) and Business Opportunities Conference (BOC).

These two conferences have become premier events in the annual process of finding summer employment or, eventually, a full-time job. Their occurrence early in the school year provides a first chance for students to network with representatives from local, national, and even international companies, pass out résumés, and schedule first-round interviews with recruiters long before the job search gets underway at many other universities. In addition to the job fairs themselves, the TOC and BOC bring to campus a wide array of associated technical talks, company mixers, and information sessions that broaden students’ exposure to potential career opportunities.

Those with longer memories of Carnegie Mellon can attest to the notable growth the TOC and BOC have experienced over the years. Recently expanded to a second day, this year’s TOC filled Wiegand Gym last Tuesday and Wednesday with more than 200 company booths, giving students an impressive 14 hours to attend the event. Also in Wiegand, the 2010 BOC welcomed representatives from 36 companies, who met with students all day Thursday. Securing such recruiter participation at large-scale events in the middle of an economic recession speaks to the high profile of these job fairs.

Further, the interest that the professional world has in the TOC and BOC is more than skin-deep. Last week, Carnegie Mellon earned the No. 10 spot on The Wall Street Journal’s list of schools whose graduates were most sought by corporate recruiters. On a list dominated by much larger state schools offering candidate pools five to eight times larger, Carnegie Mellon was singled out for especially strong graduates in computer science (ranked No. 1) and finance (No. 4).

In the current high-competition environment for the top jobs — or any jobs at all — we are fortunate to have such comprehensive job search opportunities right on our own campus. We congratulate the members of the Society of Women Engineers and the TOC and BOC student committees on organizing this year’s sizeable conferences, and we look forward to further successful events in the future.