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Career Fair Traces Roots to Farmer School

October 2012

Thirty years ago, the Farmer School's American Marketing Association (AMA) club held its first Career Night with only four companies and a couple of dozen club members attending. From such humble beginnings, the event has grown to be one of the largest college career fairs in the country.

The 2012 Career Fair was the largest to date with nearly 240 organizations and more than 2,500 students in attendance. Such success does not happen overnight. The Farmer School remains heavily involved in making sure Miami's Fair continues to thrive

"The faculty and staff at Farmer play an indispensable role in supporting the Fair and students attending the Fair," said Michael Goldman, Interim Director of Miami University Career Services. "They are experts at forming long-term partnerships with employers that not only benefit Farmer, but each academic division on campus by reinforcing the Miami brand and by attracting employers who are interested in recruiting across all majors on campus."

Marketing Professor David Rosenthal co-created the first career event. He sees the Fair as the result of years of Farmer School teamwork and networking. "The number one reason the Miami Career Fair is as big and as good as it is, comes down to the relationship among Farmer School faculty, students, alumni, and Career Services. All these things have come together over a period of time to create this terrific event."

When paired with the high caliber of students at Miami, this complex network of relationships has a significant impact. Goldman said that while other universities' career fairs have declined in size due to the economy and employers' increasing reliance on the Internet and social media for recruiting, Miami's event continues to expand: "…employers still want to recruit on-campus at Miami because of the world-class academic and experiential preparation students receive."

Recruiters at the 2012 Miami University Career Fair definitely exuded this enthusiasm. "Miami is one of the schools we focus on," said Tim Jeffreys, district sales manager for The Hershey Company. "It all starts with people.The quality of people we find at Miami campus consistently fits what we're looking for."

Stephanie Scott, campus recruiter for West Monroe Partners agreed,"We've had a lot of success with students coming from Miami. They are great to work with, enthusiastic, passionate about learning and well-rounded. They also blend in well with our company culture."

Many of the organizations were recruiting sophomores and juniors for leadership programs and internships in addition to targeting seniors for full-time positions. Campus recruiting manager for KPMG, Kati Hood, said she is impressed by the level of student initiative. "Miami students are prepared. They have strong academics and strong interpersonal skills. They do the research and come to the Career Fair prepared."

Management student Kelly Mojden ‘13 visited a number of tables at the 2012 Career Fair, including Macys, looking specifically for a rotational program with a heavy emphasis on training. "While the Career Fair can be very overwhelming, it's really something you have to do," said Mojden. "Miami has a good record, but no matter how much Miami prepared you with facts and what to expect,it's still up to you to make something of it."

Another Farmer School student, Rachel Ickes ‘14 (Marketing) demonstratedthe same focused approach, "I'm looking to pursue public accounting, so I'mtalking to recruiters from the big four and some regional firms," said Ickes. "I want to know more about their company culture because that's what will distinguish them and help me make a final decision."

Chances are high that many of the recruiters students like Mojden and Ickes talked to were alumni, further strengthening this network of common backgrounds, values and goals.

"Many of the senior leaders at the organizations that attend the fair are alumni from Farmer and Miami's other schools," said Goldman. "This strong level of alumni support is a key factor in the success of the Fair."

"We're here, due to the fact that Miami is the best," said Ryan Hodapp '07, IT Auditor at Ernst & Young."These are top notch students with a lot of ambition, a lot of drive. They are eager to get out in the workforce."