The Center for Student Professional Development (CSPD) at the Fox School of Business is looking to build upon its previous networking successes to make its next event one of the best yet.
The Spring Connection, which is scheduled for Feb. 11th, is set to mirror the CSPD’s Fall Connection. The Spring Connection follows up September’s Fall Connection, and has secured nearly 60 employers from various industries and is expected to add an additional 20 employers. Student registration is steadily rising, and CSPD expects about 600 to 700 students in attendance.
“For the past seven years, on average, our Spring Connections have hosted 65 employers, we’re well ahead of where we’ve been” said Holly Pfeifer, event coordinator and CSPD Assistant Director for Corporate Relations. “We’ve developed strong relationships with the employers.”
To help students prepare for meetings with top-tier employers such as Comcast, Deloitte, Wawa, and Verizon Wireless, the CSPD hosts one-hour workshops and résumé critique sessions. The workshops introduce students to the resources the CSPD office has to offer, as well as helping students to illustrate their achievements by producing the most-effective résumé. The CSPD career competencies staff also coach the students on professional and polished communication techniques, to help students speak with employers and “build their brand,” in CSPD parlance.
“Our staff does a phenomenal job of preparing the students to put their best foot forward. They know how to research the organizations, they know how to network, and they know how to have impactful conversations,” Pfeifer said.
Successfully garnering student and employer support, Pfeifer notes, takes the careful integration of social media. The CSPD advertises the event on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. At the event, the center organizes a LinkedIn photo booth, which invites students already dressed in their business best to pose in front of a backdrop to capture the perfect Linkedin profile picture. Reaching out via Linkedin also has helped the CSPD attract its record number of employers as professional use continues to grow.
In selecting the employers, Pfeifer and the CSPD not only look for those who are leading in their field, but also the companies whose strategic direction are on par with the programs the Fox School offers and whose talent portfolio aligns with the students the Fox School produces. There hasn’t been a mismatch yet, Pfeifer said, and the record number of employers attending each event year after year is not only evidence of the stellar working relationship between the school and the employers, but also the style of the networking environment in which the event is set.
“It’s more of a synergistic energy,” Pfeifer said of the event’s atmosphere. “We focus on an organization’s trends and how the Fox School students can complement that.”
The Spring Connection helps students attain full-time employment, and also caters to those seeking strong summer internship placement. Since 2012, 100 percent of graduate students have completed summer internships and over 90 percent of undergraduates that utilized the Center attained full-time employment after graduation.
“I’m noticing more and more that employers are looking to develop their pipeline and start making relationships with our students early on,” Pfeifer said.